Retention and labour market outcomes of registered apprentices in New Brunswick: 2009 to 2017

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New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training


As the second phase of a two-part analysis looking at retention rates and labour market outcomes of post-secondary graduates in New Brunswick (NB), this report examines the trends, retention, and incomes of those who receive apprenticeship certificates in the province. Using the Canada Research Data Centre Network’s Education and Labour Market Longitudinal Platform (ELMLP), it analyzes cohorts of trade certificate holders from 2009 to 2017. Highlight of Findings - Roughly 11,000 trades certificates were granted in NB between 2009 and 2019, the majority of which went to males rather than females, apprentices rather than trade qualifiers, and individuals in Red Seal trades rather than non-Red Seal trades. - Compared to 2009, there were 15% more registrations and 8% more certificates granted in 2019. Roughly 60% of these are in one of the following major trade groups: Automotive service technician, Plumber/Pipefitter/Steamfitter, Carpenter, Welder, or Electrician. Two of these trades, Automotive service technician and Plumber/Pipefitter/Steamfitter, have compulsory certification in NB. - The largest increase in registrations was among Heavy duty equipment mechanics (86%), while the largest increase in certifications was in the Exterior finishing (300%) trade group. - Retention is higher among completers than trade qualifiers. A possible reason behind this is the difference in requirements before a certificate is awarded to either group. - Crane operators, Iron workers, or Power line technicians are usually the highest earners (see Table 8). However, data are not always available for these groups. When they are excluded from the equation due to data limitations, the next highest earning groups are the Industrial instrumentation and Control technician trade groups. Meanwhile, income is lowest among the Cook grade group. - More years since certification does not necessarily translate into higher earnings for all trade groups. For instance, Plumbers in the 2010, 2011, and 2012 cohorts of certificate holders had a lower average income five years after certification compared to two years after certification, sometimes by as much as 18%. - The amount of money paid to later cohorts of most trade groups has declined. Two-year post-certification incomes decreased between the earliest and most recent cohorts in the study period.1 The largest decrease in income was among the Construction electrician trade group, while the largest increase in two-year post-certification median income was in the Cook trade group. - Non-Red Seal trade certificate holders earn considerably more on average than Red Seal trade certificate holders for most cohorts. The higher number of Red Seal trade certified tradespersons compared to non-Red Seal Trade tradespersons might mean more competition for jobs among the - Red Seal trades, creating less competitive wages being offered for this group. Income growth is also sometimes higher among cohorts of non-Red Seal trade certificate holders, which means smaller chances of a ‘catch-up’ for Red Seal trade certificate holders. While Red Seal endorsed certificate holders have an average two-year retention rate of 92%, non-Red Seal endorsed certificate holders have an average two-year retention rate of 65%. Red Seal endorsed certificate holders also earn less on average, sometimes by as much as 20%.