Why Every Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Should Know About the Apprenticeship Service Program

Why Every Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Should Know About the Apprenticeship Service Program

As previous generations of tradespeople retire in large numbers, businesses are starting to face difficulties finding and retaining skilled workers – and if government predictions are accurate, it’s only going to get worse.

In an effort to increase the number and diversity of people going into the skilled trades, the Canadian Government has launched the Apprenticeship Service Program. Find out how hiring a first-year apprentice through this program can benefit your business, who is eligible, and how to apply. 

 

What is the Apprenticeship Service Program?

The Canadian Government projects that by 2030, there will be a 30,000-person labour shortage in the skilled trades. To prevent this, the government has launched a national program that incentivizes small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to hire first-year apprentices. The program is now active, and funding is available until March 2024.

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) Canadian District has been selected as an intermediary for the Apprenticeship Service Program, which means we will be facilitating participation in the program and distributing the money to selected SMEs (defined as having fewer than 500 employees).

 

How Does the Apprenticeship Service Program Work?

The goal of this program is to increase the presence in the trades, with a particular focus on reducing barriers to employment for equity-deserving groups. As a participant in this program, when you hire a first-year apprentice your business will receive $5000 to offset hiring and onboarding costs. 

Your business will receive an additional $5000 if the apprentice you hire identifies as a woman, an Indigenous person, a newcomer to Canada, a person with disabilities, LGBTQ2+, or a visible minority. The funds will be released to you by the UBC after your apprentice has successfully completed one month of full-time employment.

You can get funded for up to two first-year apprentices per year for up to two years (for a maximum of $20,000 per year or $40,000 in total over two years). 

 

Benefits of Hiring a First-Year Apprentice Through the Apprenticeship Program

There’s really no downside to participating in this program. It’s a genuine response by the government to a looming labour shortage and is designed to help both SMEs and first-year apprentices seeking hands-on experience. Here are a few benefits to your business of taking on a first-year apprentice through this program.

Financial Incentive to Help Offset Hiring and Onboarding Costs

The financial incentive of up to $40,000 over two years is meant to alleviate costs associated with hiring, onboarding, and training new employees. You need to hire people anyway – why not make it a few first-year apprentices? 

Nurture Employees Who Can Grow With Your Business 

If you invest time and training in the right apprentice, you stand to gain a loyal employee who will stay with your business over the long term. In other words, you have the opportunity to cultivate talent that will benefit your business in the long run.

Choose Your Apprentice or Be Matched With One

We can identify an apprentice for you, or you can find your own. Our thorough intake process ensures that we are familiar with the strengths, weaknesses, and personalities of each apprentice in our pool so that we can match your business with the right person. Or, you may have a semi-skilled person in your circle who is already familiar with your company culture, and you’re eager to build their capacity by taking them on as an apprentice.

Contribute to Making the Trades More Accessible for Equity-Deserving Groups

You can play a meaningful role in shifting prevailing stereotypes about who does and can work in the skilled trades to foster a more welcoming workplace culture that supports first-year apprentices from underrepresented groups. This will ultimately benefit the trades and young apprentices. 

Training and Mentorship Opportunities

Your business will have access to resources and training that assist you in supporting your apprentices in the workplace. This will include information about effective leadership, mentorship, management, workplace culture, and more.

 

Frequently Asked Questions  

If you’ve got questions, chances are some of them have already been asked. Here are a few common questions from SMEs about the Apprenticeship Program.

  • What’s the level of government involvement in this program?

The Canadian government has already awarded money to the UBC, and we are administrating the program.

  • What’s the catch for me as a business owner or manager of an SME?

There is none! This program is truly a win-win situation for both employers and apprentices; businesses get some financial relief from onboarding costs for promising apprentices who will grow with the company, and apprentices get the hands-on work experience they need for a successful career in the skilled trades.

  • Do we have to participate in the JEDI and Be More Than a Bystander training?

Yes. At least once over the course of two years, one person from your company must attend one of these trainings, which focus on improving workplace culture to be more inclusive, safe, and respectful. We would prefer that person to be the owner or manager to maximize the impact of this important training, but the choice is yours.

  • Can the apprentice already be working for the company?

No. To be eligible for a first-year apprenticeship, someone may not currently be employed by you. If you have a semi-skilled worker who wants to be made an apprentice, reach out to your local coordinator to discuss options.

 

How to Apply 

The Apprenticeship Service Program is open to construction and manufacturing businesses with less than 500 employees that need up to two first-year apprentices in any of the 39 construction and manufacturing Red Seal trades. 

There is a team of dedicated people working diligently in the background to ensure this program rolls out successfully and that we hit our objectives of increasing people in the trades while helping out SMEs along the way. If you’re the owner or manager at an SME interested in hiring a first-year apprentice, contact Peter Smith ([email protected]) to learn more or apply online today.