September 11, 2023 - Labour Attraction

Unlocking Opportunities: NAIT’s Commitment to Apprenticeship Education

Matt Lindberg, NAIT’s Dean for the School of Skilled Trades, presented at AMCC’s inaugural AGM June 13, 2023. In this guest blog, Matt provides key insight to his presentation.

When you think about the future of our workforce and the industries that keep our society running, what comes to mind? Skilled trades and apprenticeships should be an essential part of that picture. At the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), we've been at the forefront of apprenticeship education since our establishment in 1963. 

Apprenticeship is more than just a program at NAIT: it's at our core. For nearly six decades, we've been a hub of learning and innovation in Alberta, and our apprenticeship programs have played a pivotal role in shaping skilled workforce. With 28 registered apprenticeship programs, we've been a steady hand guiding thousands of apprentices on their path to becoming skilled tradespeople.

While NAIT boasts four schools, the School of Skilled Trades stands as the largest. This is where the magic happens, where aspiring tradespeople receive hands-on training, mentorship and the knowledge they need to excel in their chosen field. It's the heartbeat of NAIT's commitment to apprenticeship education.

Meeting Growing Demands for Skilled Trades

As the world evolves, the demand for skilled trades only grows. In the academic year 2022/2023, we made room for nearly nine thousand apprentices. As industries expand and demand goes up, so does our commitment to the skilled trades. In the upcoming academic year, we anticipate almost ten thousand seats to meet the increasing demand for skilled workers.

NAIT is not solely about providing traditional apprenticeship programs. We're also dedicated to creating innovative pathways into the skilled trades. Our Advanced Welding Technology and Automotive Service Technology diploma programs are perfect examples of this, they serve as bridges for individuals looking to start their journey in the trades.

Furthermore, we understand that the road to apprenticeship can be challenging. That's why we actively connect individuals with sponsors or offer sponsorship opportunities. We believe in starting early – our dual credit courses where we partner with secondary school districts provide exposure to trades and ease of entry.

We are working diligently to identify and overcome barriers that underrepresented communities may face in accessing apprenticeships. Our goal is to ensure that opportunities in the skilled trades are available to everyone, regardless of background or circumstance.

Changing the Landscape

Change is constant, and the apprenticeship landscape is no exception. In July 2022, the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act (STAEA) came into effect, replacing the old Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act that had been in place since 1992. This legislative change brings several key objectives to the forefront:

NAIT’s devotion to apprenticeship education runs deep, and we’re dedicated to shaping the future workforce of Alberta and beyond. With a rich legacy, a focus on innovation, and a commitment to diversity and accessibility, we are proud to be at the forefront of apprenticeship education. The Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act signals a bright future for apprenticeships in Alberta, one that will help meet the ever-evolving needs of our workforce.

As we move forward, NAIT remains committed to excellence, inclusivity, and adaptability. We're excited to see what the future holds for our apprentices and the industries they will shape. Together, we're building a stronger, more skilled workforce for tomorrow.

by Matthew Lindberg