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Alberta to modernize skilled trades apprenticeship program


The Alberta government plans to update its apprenticeship education and skilled trades legislation to support a more flexible system.

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, the province says in a statement.

The changes will enable Alberta to expand apprenticeship education to other professions and high-demand occupations and modernize how skilled trades professions are governed.

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.

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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.

“We are pleased the government is implementing recommendations put forward by the Skills for Jobs Task Force,” says David Ross, president and chief executive officer at SAIT and co-chair of 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.”

Stakeholder engagement regarding new regulations for the act will begin once legislation has passed.