Building Alberta’s Skilled Workforce

More Alberta students will gain valuable hands-on skilled trades experience and education as government increases funding to connect students with in-demand jobs.

Building Alberta’s skilled workforce
Registered Apprenticeship Program student Aurora Erickson demonstrates her welding skills following Premier Kenney’s announcement that government will increase annual funding for CAREERS: The Next Generation to help more high school student apprentices secure paid internships.

The Government of Alberta will triple the amount of annual funding to CAREERS: The Next Generation to more than $6 million a year by 2022-23, providing 6,000 students with paid internships and skilled trades and technologies learning opportunities in elementary, junior high and high schools.

 “Our Skills For Jobs plan is all about preparing young Albertans for great careers, and ensuring our future prosperity. We believe that a trade certificate has every bit as much value and merit as a university degree, and that apprenticeship learning deserves as much support as classroom programs. CAREERS: The Next Generation is a fantastic way of getting more young Albertans into trade apprenticeships.”Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta

“A skilled workforce is the backbone of a prosperous economy. We need to encourage more youth to enter into the skilled trades to address both the looming skilled labour shortage and one of the highest youth unemployment rates Alberta has seen in decades. CAREERS: The Next Generation is a critical partner helping to make that happen by re-energizing skills development and renewing the Alberta Advantage. We promised Albertans that we would invest in skilled trades education so that our young people can choose careers that will provide secure, good-paying jobs.”Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education

The funding top-up will double the number of schools involved with CAREERS to 1,000 from 494, and quadruple the number of learning opportunities for students. Schools are offered age-appropriate programs, with high school students matched to employers via internships, apprenticeships, camps, workshops and mentoring. 

“It’s important for our students to have opportunities to explore their career choices beyond high school. By providing them with hands-on learning programs in areas such as technology and the trades, we are improving their future employability. I have heard from both school boards and industry stakeholders how valuable the Registered Apprenticeship Program and Career and Technology Studies are as an important first step to engage students, improve high school completion rates, and build a qualified and educated workforce.”Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

This investment will allow our organization to help thousands of Alberta youth explore career options and get a head start on their future through paid internships in high-demand occupations like the skilled trades. In partnership with schools, CAREERS provides real-world experience to help our youth make more informed career decisions and encourages them to pursue post-secondary education. CAREERS works closely with industry, linking youth to occupations that will help build a motivated, productive and innovative workforce and support Alberta’s economic success.”Jim Carter, board chair, CAREERS: The Next Generation

Quick facts

  • CAREERS: The Next Generation, will double the number of schools where it provides programs:
    • Students in 550 high schools and 450 elementary and junior highs will have access to apprenticeship learning, with internships available to the older students.
    • Currently, CAREERS programs are in 372 high schools and 122 junior high schools.
  • In 2018 CAREERS helped place 1,567 high school students in paid internships with 816 employers in 247 communities.
  • A majority of the student interns are part of the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) and Career and Technology Studies (CTS), which allow high school students to fast-track their career in the trades.
  • Since 1997, CAREERS has:
    • Connected more than 27,000 high school students to paid internships or mentoring opportunities for in-demand occupations such as millwright, welder or chef;
    • Grown from 57 employers in 1997 to 816 employers in 2018.
  • Between 2010 and 2018, 72% of the high school Registered Apprenticeship Program participants continued their training.
  • In 2018:
    • more than 13,700 new apprentices registered;
    • apprentices were learning at more than 10,100 employer sites around Alberta; and
    • about 9,300 individuals completed their programs.
  • In the coming years, Alberta Labour projects some of the highest demand apprenticeship and skilled trades careers will be:
    • mechanics
    • industrial mechanics
    • millwrights
    • construction
    • oil and gas
  • CAREERS has programs that target specific demographics, including Young Women in Trades and Technologies, and Indigenous Youth Career Pathways.
  • Over the next five years, nearly 20,000 skilled trades workers are expected to retire. That number will grow to more than 45,000 in 10 years.

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