The shortage of labor is driving up the dropout rate and lowering enrollment in vocational training centers, which had nevertheless experienced a small boom at the heart of the pandemic.
“We are losing students. People start their program, they start their internship and there, the employer says to them: no, but, you have to stay here full-time!”, illustrates Patrick Capolupo, deputy director general at the Center de services scolaire (CSS) Tributaries.
In its corner, the number of graduates from vocational training centers was last year at its lowest since 2016.
In order to quantify the trend, Le Journal made an access to information request to 50 CSS. Of the 25 who responded to us in less than a month, more than half provided lower figures for 2021-2022 compared to the previous year.
Nearly 80 % saw their graduation drop (19/24) and 68% saw their enrollment drop (17/25).
Most of them had however seen an increase in 2020-2021. To explain this temporary boom, some recall that students had to put their study project on hold when schools closed in the spring of 2020 and therefore resume it later.
Many also mention the major reorientation caused by the pandemic, including that of the 10,000 beneficiary attendants trained by the accelerated program set up by Quebec.
But after a semblance of a return to normal, many centers are struggling to regain the number of students they had before the pandemic.
“We have several students who do not return after the pandemic. 'summer. They prefer to stay in the job market,” notes Daniel-Étienne Vachon, director of the Heavy Vehicle Mechanics Training Center in Lévis.
The hotel sector is particularly affected. Krystine Lessard, who teaches in the Laurentians, remembers a time when she could count a dozen groups in cooking, pastry and service classes. “This year, we only have two.”
Inflation also to blame
However, it's not just the shortage of labor involved.
In recent months, the rising cost of living has also pushed students to drop out, adds Julie Daigle, assistant director of the Center de formation professionnelle de Québec. “We see it more in those who have to balance work, studies and family. They have to work more to earn a living and with their studies, they can't do it anymore,” she says.
With all these young people who will find themselves in the job market without being as well trained as before, a welding-fitting teacher in the Montreal region fears that accidents on construction sites will increase. “That's what we think, me and many colleagues,” says the one who preferred to remain anonymous to avoid reprisals.
Even in economic terms, giving up vocational training to earn more money in the short term, however, can represent a long-term “trap”, underlines Chantale Beaucher, director of Observation on vocational training at the University of Sherbrooke.
This is also what Patrick Capolupo and his colleagues repeat to their students: “When the recession hits […], the first to lose their jobs are those who do not have a diploma.”   ;
– With the collaboration of Daphnée Dion-Viens
SOME EXAMPLES OF DROP IN VOCATIONAL TRAINING
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Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7128