Life Skills Initiatives in Apprenticeship Training

The International Foundation has surveyed apprenticeship stakeholders across the U.S. and Canada since 2010, gathering insights on a number of trends impacting their plans, including program challenges, apprentice challenges, recruitment and retention initiatives, communication strategies, instructor quality initiatives, and life skills initiatives. These initiatives are a key component of well-rounded education for apprentices, extending beyond job-related duties and are focused on the personal development of apprentices.

Below is an overview of some of the most prominently included components of life skills initiatives in apprenticeship training programs across the United States and Canada.

  • The most prominently offered life training skill is personal safety (90%). This proportion has increased since the 2020 iteration of this survey (82%).
  • Work/jobsite behavior (86%) is addressed in more than four in five responding apprenticeship programs across the United States and Canada.
  • Four in five apprenticeship programs (81%) teach mathematical skills in their apprenticeship training curriculum.
  • A similar proportion (80%) include employability skills in their curriculum. This typically includes wearing proper attire, acquiring adequate transporta­tion and timeliness (80%).
  • About three in four (74%) programs include sexual harassment training (74%) as part of their training. U.S. programs are more likely than their Canadian counterparts to include sexual harassment training (77% compared with 54%) in their curriculum.
  • Similarly, about three in four programs (72%) include communication/social skills in their training. This is an increase from the 60% of programs that taught these skills in the 2020 iteration of the survey.
  • Seven in ten responding programs (71%) include union-specific, or ‘union citizenship’ skills. This is another area of growth from the 2020 edition of the survey.
  • About two in three programs (63%) teach computer/technology skills in their apprenticeship training curriculum.
  • Three in five programs (61%) teach leadership skills in their programs, a trend more common in U.S. programs (66% compared with 29%).
  • A similar proportion (61%) include diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in their training programs, a substantial increase from the 2020 edition of the survey (47%).
  • More than one-half of apprenticeship programs (52%) include financial literacy initiatives in their curriculum. U.S. programs are more likely than Canadian programs to teach skills like budgeting, savings, borrowing, and credit card use.
  • Mentor/mentee skills are included in the curriculum of one-half (50%) of responding apprenticeship programs.
  • A similar proportion (48%) teach conflict resolution skills. Programs in the U.S. are more likely to include these skills in their curriculum (51% compared with 29%).
  • More than two in five (41%) responding programs include personal health skills in their training.
  • At a more basic level, two in five (39%) programs teach the ability to read or write.

For more information and to read the full survey report, visit

Justin Held, CEBS
Senior Research Analyst at the International Foundation 

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