Modernizing apprenticeship education and skilled trades (audio & video)

Provincial Press Release April 13, 2021 @ 2:56pm published at 4:55pm

Alberta’s government will update apprenticeship education and skilled trades governance, supporting a flexible system that can deal with challenges today and into the future.


If passed, the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act will replace the Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) Act, which was introduced in 1991 and no longer meets the needs of industry, employers, apprentices or post-secondary institutions.

“This new act serves as a fresh start for skilled trades and apprenticeship education in our province. It lays the foundation for a flexible system, allowing us to respond to needs and trends among our workforce, and will promote the equal value of apprenticeship education with other forms of post-secondary education.” Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education

The changes in the new legislation will enable Alberta to expand apprenticeship education to other professions and high-demand occupations and modernize how skilled trades professions are governed. The changes will also serve as a foundation to ensure effective investment in education and training programs.

The new act implements recommendations from the Skills for Jobs Task Force and will update the legal framework for apprenticeship education and regulated trade professions. The act also aligns with the goals of Alberta 2030 – Building Skills for Jobs strategy, which will build a common vision and direction for post-secondary education in the province.

“We are pleased the government is implementing recommendations put forward by the Skills for Jobs Task Force. Importantly, this new legislation elevates the value of an applied education and the careers and opportunities available within skilled trades. It will also provide the means to accelerate the talent growth of our learners to create a skilled workforce vital to the prosperity of our province.” David Ross, president and chief executive officer, SAIT and co-chair, Skills for Jobs Task Force

“The Skills for Jobs Task Force reimagined Alberta’s skills development and apprenticeship model. Our final report presented recommendations that will support outstanding careers and build competitiveness and prosperity in Alberta. The introduction of the new Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act is an essential step in transforming our system. Aligned with our report, it provides a foundation and platform for change. Today is a great day for our province.” Glenn Feltham, interim president, Grande Prairie Regional College and co-chair, Skills for Jobs Task Force

“ASEC is happy to see an expansion of apprenticeship beyond the skilled trades. Providing students with apprenticeship, work-integrated learning, and community service learning opportunities increases the value of an Alberta education.” Ryan Morstad, president, SAIT Students' Association and board member, Alberta Students’ Executive Council Stakeholder engagement regarding new regulations for the act will begin once legislation has passed.

Quick facts

  • According to BuildForce Canada projections, Alberta’s construction and maintenance industry will need to hire almost 65,000 workers over the coming decade to meet growth expectations and replace an estimated 41,500 workers expected to retire.

  • Alberta has seen its registered apprentice numbers drop from more than 70,000 to about 45,000 over six years, a decrease of more than 35 per cent, mostly in relation to Alberta’s prolonged economic downturn.

  • Approximately 7,820 new apprentices were registered in 2020, a decrease from the 11,627 new apprentices who began their program in 2019.

  • In 2020:

  • Apprentices were learning on the job at more than 11,000 employer sites around Alberta.

  • Approximately 4,400 individuals completed their programs.

  • Advanced Education staff connected with more than 15,000 employer shops to promote apprenticeship programs and work with employers and apprentices to ensure the successful completion of apprenticeship education.

  • More than 1,000 scholarships totalling $1 million were awarded to Alberta apprentices.