Gabriel Dumont Institue


Aboriginal Apprenticeship “Right” for Saskatchewan

News Release

Feb 13, 2015

Posted in:

“The right program at the right time in the right place.”

An Aboriginal apprenticeship project is “the right program at the right time in the right place,” says an independent review, released today, of the Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) Aboriginal Apprenticeship Initiative.

Under the Aboriginal apprenticeship project, entry-level Aboriginal workers are matched with employers willing to train them as apprentices. Businesses across the province have proven eager to provide the training, role models and mentorship to new apprentices entering the trades.

“The Saskatchewan economy needs trades people and Aboriginal people need access to good jobs that help support their families. The GDI Aboriginal Apprenticeship project helps make that match. It’s a win-win situation,” said Glenn Lafleur, Vice Chair of the Gabriel Dumont Institute Board of Governors.

“Even with strong population growth, low unemployment, and high enrolments in Saskatchewan’s apprenticeship programs, over 30 designated trades in the province will be experiencing shortages of skilled workers this year. Providing skills training to local populations including Aboriginal youth is a smart long term investment,” said Doug Elliott of Sask Trends Monitor, a publication that tracks social, economic, and demographic trends in Saskatchewan.

The project is province-wide and includes employment opportunities in the North where trades workers are needed and many skilled-trade jobs go unfilled. The project provides quick access to the growing Aboriginal labour force. Apprenticeship training is demand-driven and necessary for economic growth.

Significant findings of the report:

The fastest growing industry groups are those that are heavy users of apprentices.

The province requires 2,000 new journeypersons per year to maintain the previous apprenticeship growth rate of 8.6%.

In July 2014 Saskatchewan experienced its lowest unemployment rate ever at 3.3%. With employment growing at unprecedented rate employers need to reach untapped populations, including Aboriginal people, for workers.

There is high demand for skilled workers in construction trades across the province. These trades, particularly carpenters and electricians, account for the majority of apprentices in the GDI Aboriginal Apprenticeship Initiative.

Investment in education and skills training will enable more Aboriginal people to get gainful employment in the trades sector.

Among Aboriginal people 25 to 34 years of age, the employment rate more than doubles from those who have not completed high school to those with a trade certificate (32% and 65% respectively).

223 Aboriginal apprentices have been placed with employers as part of the GDI Aboriginal apprenticeship project

157 Aboriginal apprentices were indentured in their trades as a part of this project.

The GDI Aboriginal apprenticeship project increased the number of indentured Aboriginal apprentices in Saskatchewan by 13% between 2011-2014.

The independent review makes over 15 recommendations that are designed to improve and expand the Aboriginal apprenticeship program that is already working well. The recommendations range from increasing female participation, targeting in-demand trades outside construction, and reaching out to more young Aboriginal people who reside in southern Saskatchewan. Other recommendations are designed to improve success with a variable wage subsidy and more project partners.

A report summary and the full report can be found at


Gabriel Dumont Institute developed and delivered the GDI Aboriginal Apprenticeship Initiative between 2011 and 2014 with special funding from the federal Skills and Partnership Fund. In 2014, GDI commissioned an independent review of its Aboriginal Apprenticeship Initiative. A team of consultants that included Doug Elliott from Sask Trends Monitor and Wayne McElree and Bonnie Durnford from D.C. Strategic Management completed the review.

Gabriel Dumont Institute was incorporated in 1980 to serve the educational and cultural needs of Saskatchewan’s Métis community. The Institute has the capacity to enter into partnerships through its various entities, including GDI Training & Employment, a service delivery organization that partners with business and industry to provide training and employment opportunities to the Métis.

For more information and media inquiries, please contact

Lisa Wilson
Gabriel Dumont Institute Training & Employment 917 22nd Street West
Saskatoon, SK S7M 0R9
Phone: (306) 242-6070

Doug Elliott
Sask Trends Monitor
444 19th Avenue
Regina, SK S4N 1H1
Phone: (306) 536-5131 (c)

Additional Links

Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission –

Government of Canada Programs for Apprentices –

Sask Trends Monitor –


Gabriel Dumont Institute Training & Employment 917 – 22nd Street West
Saskatoon, SK S7M 0R9
Phone: (306) 242-6070
Fax: (306) 683-3508
Web: I Twitter: @gdins_org

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