What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a paid job that provides a hands-on training program for people who want to work in a skilled trade and who enjoy learning by doing. e.g. Automotive Service Technician, Electrician, Baker, Tool and Die Maker.
About 90 per cent of apprenticeship training is workplace-based training, under the direction of experienced workers. An apprentice is given a Training Standard Manual or Schedule of Training to ensure that they are trained to the standards of skill and safety set by the industry. The remainder of the time involves classroom instruction on theory, which is usually given at a local community college or provided by another approved training organization.
Once you have found an employer who is willing to train you, both you and the employer will sign a training agreement prepared by an Apprenticeship Branch consultant. After the training agreement is signed and filed with the Ministry, you are considered to be a registered apprentice. At specific stages of your training, the Apprenticeship Branch consultant will arrange for you to take classroom instruction in theory (usually at a Community College).
Apprentices are workers, so you will be paid while you gain work experience, and your wages will increase with the level of your skills.
At the completion of the apprenticeship period, apprentices are eligible to write the provincial examination for Certificate of Qualification for the trade.
An apprenticeship provides access to well-paying jobs that demand a high level of skills and judgement.
What are the possible careers in the skilled trades? The skilled trades are often divided into four main groups:
- Motive Power Sector - Motive power apprenticeships lead to careers in servicing cars, marine engines, heavy equipment, motorcycles, and farm equipment.
- Construction Sector - Construction apprenticeships lead to jobs contributing to the building of homes, offices, factories, sports arenas and hospitals.
- Service Sector - Services sector apprenticeships consist of a variety of skilled trades, from personal and business services to tourism and hospitality.
- Manufacturing or Industrial Sector - Manufacturing and industrial apprenticeships train skilled workers in precision machining, tooling trades, mold-making and millwrighting.
How can I prepare for a career in the skilled trades?
- While you are in high school, take skilled trades related courses.
- Go to apprenticesearch.com where you can research and investigate a variety of apprenticeship opportunities, find a good fit for you, keep track of your choices and provides information about application.
- Ask your Co-op Department about the Co-op (Co-operative Education) options that are available in your school for grades 11/12, including the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). If you are entering Grade 11 and are at least 16 years old, you can register for OYAP. OYAP will allow you to work towards a career in a skilled trade as a registered apprentice, and eventually a certified skilled worker or journeyperson, while you complete your Ontario Secondary School Diploma. See your Co-op Department for details.
- Find an employer who is willing to train you as an apprentice. You can find such an employer through OYAP, an Apprenticeship Office, a union, word of mouth or by contacting employers directly.
- If you have been unable to find an employer sponsor by the time that you finish high school, consider taking a "pre-apprenticeship" program through a college to acquire the basic skills that will increase your marketability to a prospective employer.
- See your Guidance Counsellor.