Structural Failure: The Collapse of Apprenticeship and the Privatization of Vocational Training in British Columbia, 1935-2011
For decades, apprenticeship training in BC has been a field of intense stakeholder conflict and oscillating policy reforms. The most recent of these is the BC Liberal government’s New Model – an “industry-led” governance structure for apprenticeship training that created the Industry Training Authority (ITA) in 2003.
Under the current structure, employer-controlled agencies define the standards for BC vocational training providers and their students, and control the distribution of over $100M in public educational funding. In terms of performance, apprenticeship completion rates under the ITA have reached an all-time low, implying that the New Model primarily produces semi-skilled labour for entry-level employment.
Drawing on contemporary labour market theory and archival records, this presentation outlines some of the processes that have shaped the evolution of BC’s industry training system. A central focus will be on the key institutional components of apprenticeship and vocational training systems, and how these have been adapted, reinterpreted, and re‑purposed in BC during the past 75 years.