Expanding the Trades

Publication, Education, Dennis Owens

Executive Summary

  • Manitoba suffers from a significant shortage of tradesmen.
  • Less than one-fourth of post-secondary students are currently enrolled in a vocational program.
  • Despite a promise in 1999 to “double college enrolment,” modest enrolment increases at community colleges have put Manitoba nowhere close to meeting that goal.
  • All three major universities have a much larger number of students. Unfortunately, most of these drop out before completing their programs.
  • Manitoba’s “mainstreaming” public schools are partially responsible. Students are forced to take a general academic program even if it is not suitable for them.
  • Germany provides a model for excellent streaming, in which students enter one of three different levels in lower secondary school.
  • As a result, about 65% of the workforce in Germany has received vocational training.
  • Many of the most popular vocational programs in Germany are the areas in which Manitoba is experiencing a labour shortage.
  • Manitoba’s government can redeem its promise if it makes changes to its mainstreaming policy at the K-12 level.
  • Full Backgrounder in PDF