OTTAWA, Ont.—A recent report released by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF), a non-profit organization that connects Canada’s apprenticeship community, says that individuals who take the time to upgrade their essential skill-set such as problem-solving and numeracy are likely to earn more.
"There is still a stigma attached to having poor essential skills when the reality is, most of us recognize our own weaknesses," said Sarah Watts-Rynard, CAF executive director. "Whether someone is interpreting a document or doing math calculations, there is generally room for improvement. This research tells us higher skills result in better pay - something that may help individuals overcome their reluctance to seek upgrading."
University of Toronto researchers along with CAF looked into the Canadian workforce, as well as journeypersons, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal people and immigrants and sought out what benefits could be realized by improvement of literacy and essential skills. The results in the study consistently showed a positive effect with higher skills on pay.
Early indicators, based on a focused response group of journeypersons, are suggesting the effect on a journeyperson's pay is the biggest out of all the groups that were tested, almost twice on average in comparison to Canadians in general.
"This sends an important message to teachers, parents and young people who aren't convinced the skilled trades require strong math, science and reading skills," said Watts-Rynard. "Today's skilled trades workplaces are increasingly complex, using new technology to solve problems on the ground. Essential skills are the foundation of all other workplace learning, greasing the wheels for more complex tasks. It comes as little surprise that workers with the skills to get ahead of the curve make a wage premium."