Let’s look at vocational training in Quebec and how it has evolved over the years. First of all, remember that training is a learning process that allows a person to assimilate knowledge and skills that are useful for the performance of their daily tasks. The question becomes: what are the main steps that have marked professional training in Quebec from the 19th century to today?

The current structure of vocational and technical training in Quebec has been shaped by the particular social, political and economic system at both the provincial and federal levels. That said, each province aligns initial training. Several economic and socio-political events as well as various reforms have forged Quebec’s training sector as we know it today.

Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, an industrialization movement took place, transforming the learning process. The quantities required could no longer be produced by artisans and craftsmen, it is at this point that modernization via mechanization gained its momentum. As a first step, workers are quickly trained to perform specific tasks, making it possible for workers to improve their skills. This is where the first specialized courses surface and the subsequent emergence of the recognition of vocational training.

During the first half of the 20th century, special training rose considerably. The notion of qualification gains value and the employee becomes valued for their productivity and impact on profits. Urbanization and industrialization are accelerating and lead to lifestyle changes. Companies are short on manpower, and employee training then accelerates to answer this now pressing need.

Between 1960 and 1980, Quebec underwent education reform. One of the changes was to define the coordination of vocational training within the general education system. In the 1970s, vocational training is put to the test: students in such programs were considered weaker, the lack of material was glaring and training was sometimes deemed inadequate in relation to market needs. At the end of this period, the situation of vocational training in high school was poorly engaged, but soon after, that decline would be slowed thanks to a new reform to come in the 1980s.

At the end of the 20th century, new developments emerged through the Quiet Revolution, which paved the way for vocational training to become something similar to what it is today in Quebec. To solve the problems that appeared in years prior, measures were put in place such as rebalancing the number of young people and adults, reviewing training programs according to the skills sought by companies, etc. These actions were reinforced during the 2000s, which marked the recognition of vocational training diplomas.

So, there you have it, those are main evolution stages that professional training has undergone to become what it is today in Quebec. It is clear that vocational training has gone from a very limited system to a structured and stable one.

Caroline Irrmann, web editor