A Critical Analysis of Apprenticeship Programs in British Columbia

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Matte, Gregory C. P.




This study examines issues surrounding apprenticeships in the construction industry in British Columbia (BC) during the period of 1993 to 2004, particularly the state of the social settlement amongst its primary stakeholders, namely the government, unionized and non-unionized employment associations and post-secondary colleges. It provides a conceptual framework to research apprenticeships as a skills ecosystem, and to explain why successive provincial governments were motivated to impose significant legislative changes on the vocational education and training system. The findings not only examine the motivation, but also the resulting outcomes, using the different political ideologies as a basis to explain how contrasting stakeholder perspectives shaped both. Based on a combination of structure and agency, the primary stakeholders operated within the confines of institutional structures, extant logics and the limitations of their own perspectives and objectives. This thesis examines how the relationships between apprenticeships, the labour market and the post-secondary education system are coordinated, governed, influenced and shaped in BC, as well as how these same relationships have evolved, including the impact of such changes on apprenticeship programs as a skills ecosystem. The period of 1993 to 2004 was specifically chosen as it was a period of bold political reforms pertaining to trades training within the province by two ideologically opposed political parties. The research design applies a case study methodology, comparing the differences between these two governments, as well as process tracing, within the theoretical framework of historical institutionalism. The findings demonstrate that apprenticeships are a unique skills training ecosystem that typify an employment logic, but are nestled within a broader vocational education system that is typified by an education logic. The exogenous market forces of Canada's liberal market economy, as well as the predominant education logic typified by BC's post-secondary education system, were found to contribute to the stakeholder tensions and resulting pressures on apprenticeships as a unique skills ecosystem. These pressures contributed to a weakening of collaboration amongst the primary stakeholders during the research period, rather than convergence towards supporting different government legislative initiatives.


Sociology - Organizational
Education - Vocational
Economics - Labor




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Doctor of Philosophy: 

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Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Public Policy

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Theses and Dissertations

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