Data was not available for all Canadian provinces/territories.
HOW LUCRATIVE IS THE EVERYDAY APPRENTICE?
It’s no secret Canada is amid a skilled worker shortage. No trade is safe—not even the glistening metallics and sparkling headlights of collision repair. Check out Bodyworx’s compilation on the state of apprenticeship enrolment across Canada.
RED SEAL RATES ACROSS CANADA
As of 2019, the certification rate for Red Seal Motor Vehicle Body Repairers was 25.3, meaning every 1.5 years (the duration of the average Red Seal certification program) 25.3 new Red Seal certified autobody repairers. The most popular Red Seal trade, Powerline Technician, held a certification rate of 62.1 every 1.5 years, as of 2019.
Between 2020 and 2021 the Pacific province’s Industry Training Authority (ITA) witnessed a massive uptick in its number of active apprentices in automotive refinishing. The 2020/2021 study cycle reported 48 automotive refinishing technicians; in the next report, that number hopped to 139.
Other verticals of collision repair reported 16 apprentices (Automotive Refinishing Prep Technician), 267 apprentices (Automotive Glass Technician) and 338 apprentices (Auto Body and Collision Technician).
Alberta’s 2020 data showed a minor increase in autobody apprentice enrolment. In 2020, there were 490 new autobody technicians, 23 new preppers, 75 new refinishers and 44 new repairers.
All categories, save for preppers and repairers, were up in 2020. Overall, Alberta’s autobody apprenticeship status was up two percent.
Red River College’s most recent Graduation Satisfaction and Employment data from the 2018/2019 term reported 28 graduates in the Collision Repair and Refinishing program. All but one of the students who responded to their college’s post-graduation survey were employed in training-related occupations, reported Red River.
In June 2019, the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission (SATCC) reported 119 Auto Body and Collision Technicians. By June 2020, it counted 145, thanks to 46 indentures and only four cancellations. Sixteen apprentices finished their programs and graduated with certification by the first six months of 2020, says SATCC.
In the Automotive Refinishing Technician role, SATCC noted only two apprentices in June 2019 and again in June 2020.
Canada’s Red Seal Motor vehicle body repair program does not apply in Québec. Vocational training is available, as well as many general autobody repair and mechnical training courses offered through the Centre de formation professionnelle, Centre d’études professionnelles and others.
Based on its 2020/21 summary report, the Centre de formation professionnelle said its forward-looking goals are to increase its graduation rates, increase its retention rates and increase its number of motivated students. In the report, it found that a large percentage of its new trainees were individuals with mental health or ADHD struggles or students that were unable to complete their studies in vocational training.
The province of Québec also announced in late February that autobody workers would be added to its list of occupations that qualify for the province’s facilitated Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program every year. With a spot on the list, which features the most in-demand occupations in Quebec, employers hiring autobody workers do not need to demonstrate they have tried to hire and failed to find suitably qualified Canadians, greatly expanding the talent pool available to Québec employers.
Locating up-to-date Ontario apprenticeship data proves a feat, though Employment Ontario’s Open Data source suggests 1,160 Auto Body and Collision Damage apprentices operate in the province, with a further 144 studying the 310Q course code for Auto Body Repairer.
Thirty-seven apprentices are participating in Automotive Glass Technician studies, and 121 are working toward their Red Seal in Automotive Painting. Employment Ontario’s data also provides an age breakdown, showing that more than 20 apprentices working toward Auto Body and Collision Damage careers are in their twenties, and more than 20 are between the ages of 30 and 54.
Nova Scotia has kept its apprenticeship status consistent in recent years, though it did mark a one percent increase between 2020 and 2021. In 2019, the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency reported 140 Auto Body and Collision Technician apprentices and reported 164 the following year. In 2021, Nova Scotia held 162 Auto Body and Collision Technician apprentices: 139 male-identifying and 23 female-identifying.