OTTAWA - Employment Minister Jason Kenney is travelling to Germany this weekend to study the European powerhouse's apprenticeship system.
The German system is a long-established partnership between government, schools and business that most agree wouldn't fly in Canada.
But those travelling in Kenney's delegation describe the trip as a fact-finding mission to determine what elements of the German system could, indeed, be replicated in Canada.
In particular, they say, the delegation wants to know how to compel Canada's businesses to take on a bigger role in training their would-be employees, and to how to change the Canadian culture so that parents and youth alike view skilled trades as an honourable vocation.
The delegation is comprised of government officials from four provinces, labour unions and trade associations. The federal government is not footing the bill for the delegation's travel expenses.
Kenney has been lauding Germany for months as a nation that gets it right in terms of training workers via its apprenticeship system.
He's been determined to bolster apprenticeship programs in Canada. Last month, the Conservative government announced the creation of the Canada Apprentice Loan, an expansion of the Canada Student Loans Program, in its 2014 federal budget.
The fund will provide apprentices in so-called Red Seal trades with access to more than $100 million in interest-free loans every year to help them pay for their training.