Higher nationwide interest in skilled trades echoed by TRU

By Jill Sperling
November 30, 2017 - 4:04pm Updated: November 30, 2017 - 5:28pm

KAMLOOPS — Statistics Canada census data shows more young men are graduating post-secondary education with an apprenticeship certificate in the skilled trades. 

Thompson Rivers University is following that trend. 

7.8 per cent of Canadian men aged 25-34 have the apprenticeship certificate as their highest level of education, up from 4.9 per cent in 2006. 

TRU's Dean of Trades and Technology, Baldev Pooni, estimates the university's trades programs have increased capacity by 35 per cent over the last three or four years. 

An additional 450 seats will be available when the new Trades and Technology Centre opens next fall. 

"In terms of our numbers of apprentices, I think that's reflected in how full the classes are when they are small programs, and so they are generally all full," Pooni said. "In other areas where we have lots of apprentices coming in, for example electrical, we just keep putting on extra classes. To give you an indication, we are 96 per cent utilized in our classes, so of the seats we have to offer, and there's a limit on the number of seats, 96 per cent are full." 

According to Statistics Canada, less than two per cent of young women have an apprenticeship certificate in the trades. 

This is a trend TRU has been working at changing within its own programs. 

"Our participation rate of females in our classes is about 7 per cent," Pooni said. "But we're doing some things that are helping that, for example we run a women in trades program that's funded by some of the local businesses and so on in terms of making that happen. And so that's where a class of 16 students will start with some elementary trades programming, and then a mixture of areas, and they will basically pick one of the trades that they may want to go into, and that materializes then to go into apprenticeship, and so on."

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