Last week the Canadian Council on Learning released its annual report on Canadians’ participation in learning at a number of key stages in life. The chapter of the report on post-secondary education concludes with the following important observations:
PSE attainment in Canada increased to almost 66% in 2006 (for those aged 25 to 34). However, young adults who do not pursue PSE are at risk of economic and social marginalization. They are more likely to experience low income, unemployment, poor health and less job satisfaction than young adults who acquire further education and skills.
University tuition costs have risen an average of 44% over the decade ending in 2006. Student debt-load has more than doubled since 1990, representing an additional economic barrier to PSE participation.
Though apprenticeship registrations, and to a lesser degree, completions are growing, the under-representation of women in apprenticeship programs is of particular concern. Apprenticeship training provides an important and effective route to the skilled workplace and is linked to smoother school-to-work transitions, and lower levels and fewer periods of unemployment. A key ingredient in their success is the involvement of employers who are in a position to match skills to job demands.