Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Partnership Editorial
Employers and Apprentices Satisfied with Saskatchewan Youth Apprenticeship Program
According to the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission's (SATCC) 2017 Employer and Apprentice Satisfaction Survey results, the Saskatchewan Youth Apprenticeship (SYA) Program is a major influencer in graduates' decision to pursue a career in the skilled trades. It also helps them discover the skilled trades sooner.
Developed and overseen by the SATCC, SYA gives students the opportunity to explore careers in the skilled trades. By completing a series of challenges - everything from interviewing a journeyperson to job shadowing to finishing a Practical and Applied Arts course - students learn what working in the skilled trades entails. If they register as an apprentice within five years of graduation, they receive big benefits: their registration and Level 1 technical training fees are waived, and they receive 300 trade time credit hours.
"SYA shows students the options available to them when it comes to the skilled trades," SATCC CEO Jeff Ritter said. "They're exposed to a variety of trades through SYA, and it helps them determine which trade might be the best fit."
The 2017 Apprentice Survey shows that 77 per cent of apprentices who completed SYA in high school agree or strongly agree it was a significant influence in their decision to become an apprentice and 93 per cent agree or strongly agree the program's challenges were useful in preparing them to become apprentices.
SYA is delivered in more than 300 schools across the province, thanks to the support of SYA Champions.
"The SYA program opens students' eyes to the opportunities in the skilled trades," Regina District Industry Education Council Executive Director Gord Heidel said. "It provides students with the information they need to understand the process, in order to make informed career pathway decisions. The results of the survey demonstrate the empowerment the program provides students, enabling them to own their decisions and truly be happy as they begin their career journey in the skilled trades. Thank you to all those SYA Champion - your efforts are greatly appreciated!"
"The SYA Program is so successful because it's delivered in schools across Saskatchewan by people who recognize the benefits of a career in the skilled trades," Ritter said. "These Champions provide mentorship and guidance to students - coordinating SYA activities, and encouraging students to pursue their career goals. We've heard that some schools even require the completion of SYA as part of their Practical and Applied Arts program."
"Promoting career options through the Saskatchewan Youth Apprenticeship Program is one proven way to create successful pathways for Regina Public Schools students," Regina Public Schools Director of Education Greg Enion said. "We are grateful for the resources and the opportunities that the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission offers for our high school and our middle school students."
It's not only high school graduates who benefit from SYA, but employers, too.
About a quarter of Employer Survey respondents (24 per cent) are aware that some of their apprentices or journeypersons are SYA graduates. Among them, virtually all feel their SYA graduates perform as well or better than other employees - 68 per cent feel SYA graduates perform at the same skill level as other staff members, while 31 per cent (three in 10) say they perform better.
Another advantage of SYA is it helps students decide earlier whether or not a career in the skilled trades is right for them. From 2012 to 2016, the median age of apprentices who completed SYA and achieved journeyperson certification was 23.4 years old, while the median age of all apprentices who achieved journeyperson certification during the same time period was 26.5.
"We want students to consider a career in the skilled trades and we know SYA helps," Ritter said. "These are satisfying, hands-on careers. They also pay really well." According to the 2016 Census data released by Statistics Canada, in 2015, the median earnings of Saskatchewan residents who'd completed an apprenticeship were higher than those who'd completed a Bachelor's degree.
As of June 30, 2017, there were more than 2,700 students across the province enrolled and participating in SYA. Since the program's start in 2004-05, almost 1,150 SYA graduates have applied for apprenticeship and nearly 400 SYA graduates have achieved their journeyperson certification.
The Apprentice Survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percentage points at the 95 per cent confidence interval. Similarly, the Employer Survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percentage points at the 95 per cent confidence interval. (Given the nature of the population, a margin of error of under five percentage points can be considered statistically reliable.) These surveys were administered by Insightrix.