Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship General Information
Choosing a skilled trade and apprenticeship is an excellent post-secondary education option as you will have hands-on training and an opportunity to "earn while you learn". While on an apprenticeship employers will train you to become a skilled tradesperson through on-the-job training and classroom instruction.
There are over 200 trades (both regulated and non-regulated) in Canada to choose from. Generally, these trades fall within four main categories:
Construction - electricians, carpenters, plumbers, pipefitters, welders, heavy equipment operators, painters, etc.
Motive Power - automotive service technicians, aviation technicians, automotive painters, fuel/electrical systems technicians, etc.
Manufacturing - tool & die makers, industrial mechanics (millwrights), precision metal fabricators, etc.
Service - horticulturalists, chefs, florists, etc.
Apprenticeship programs are regulated by provincial and territorial governments. Each province and territory is responsible for deciding whether a trade is going to be designated as compulsory or voluntary. If a trade is compulsory, the legislation will generally say that in order to work in that trade, you have to be a qualified journeyperson or an apprentice working under the supervision of a journeyperson. This typically comes into play in areas involving public safety (i.e. an electrician).There are two categories of trades in Ontario. To work in some trades, you must be certified. Certification in other trades is voluntary. Learn more about what trades are certified on Ontario here.
The first step to becoming an apprentice is to find a job. This is like any other job search, except that you are looking for an employer to hire you as an apprentice. When you have found a job, some provinces and territories require you to complete a probationary period before entering into an apprenticeship agreement.
Apprenticeships usually begin with a period of work followed by in-school technical training sessions that are generally scheduled in each year of a three to five year period, depending on the trade. In some trades, apprenticeships begin with in-school technical training sessions.
Various organizations such as trade associations, unions, and provincial governments are able to provide assistance in becoming an apprentice. More info can be found at www.apprenticetrades.ca for more information.