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The determinants of low (and slow) completions in the Canadian apprenticeship system

TitreThe determinants of low (and slow) completions in the Canadian apprenticeship system
Année de publication2010
AuteursCampbell, N.
UniversityÉcole des Hautes Études Commerciales (HEC)
VilleMontréal, QC

The objective of this study is to use the 2007 National Apprenticeship Survey (NAS) to analyze the determinants of non-completion and slow completion of apprenticeship programs in Canada. It thus adds to the very small international - and almost non-existent in Canada - literature on this subject. In this study apprenticeship is regarded as one of many types of postsecondary educational pathways available in Canada. In light of this, three sources of theoretical literature are drawn upon that have guided the empirical work on the subject of student attrition, namely: standard human capital theory; educationist's student integration model; and, the economic models of educational experimentation. Drawing on these, we construct four groups of variables from the NAS. The first group come from the standard demographic and family composition variables that have been widely used in the empirical research on student attrition. The other three groups of variables are used to measure the determinants of student attrition coming from the three theoretical frameworks. The principal addition of this study is to use a distinctively multidisciplinary approach to analyzing the problem of apprenticeship attrition. Two types of analysis are used. first, a descriptive analysis compares the individual outcomes of apprenticeship programs to those in general postsecondary educational programs. Then, a multinomial logit model is used to simultaneously estimate the effects of the explanatory variables on the probability of an apprentice quitting or being slowed down in their program. The results of our descriptive analysis show that the rate of non-completion in the Canadian apprenticeship system actually compares fairly well with the rest of postsecondary education - the major problem is slow completions in lieu of low completions. The main findings from the multinomial logit model can be put into two general categories. The first being the effects of apprentices' personal characteristics and the second being the effect of program characteristics. five significant results stand out for the effects of apprentice characteristics. first, it is found that two demographic groups, minorities or Aboriginals and the disabled, are systematically disadvantaged for finishing an apprenticeship program and doing it in a timely manner. Second, apprentices are increasingly more likely to finish their program in a timely manner up to their mid-thirties while thereafter they become increasingly less likely to do so. Third, long term investment motivations for participating in apprenticeship appear to dominate any short term financial difficulties that may be a barrier to finishing. Fourth, having prior experience in or a parent in the same trade significantly reduces the likelihood of dropping out of an apprenticeship while having friends in the same trade do the opposite. Lastly, while those who did not finish high school are much more likely to drop out and go well past the normal amount of time to finish a program those who have participated in a general or vocational postsecondary before starting their apprenticeship are much less likely to do so. As for program characteristics we find, first of all, that being subject to harassing or discriminatory behaviour or having problems with technical training or program administration are both significant causes of both apprenticeship dropout and slow progress through apprenticeship programs. On the other hand, those who have alternating periods of in-the-classroom and on-the-job training are significantly less likely to quit an apprenticeship or to be slow in finishing an apprenticeship program.

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