Wouldn’t it be great if everyone who entered a career had someone to take them by the hand and help them with their training?

And wouldn’t it be an added bonus if you could be paid top wages just for learning the skills you need to make it in your chosen career?

Apprenticeship is the best kept secret in the world today! Apprentices are employees who earn a salary for the work they do while they develop their skills under the direction of experienced workers. In addition to being paid to learn, apprentices’ wages increase with the level of their skill.

In a combination of on-the-job learning and in-class instruction, apprentices are learning the tools of their trade through first-hand experience and the guiding hands of trained professionals. Approximately 80 per cent of an apprentice’s training is hands on while the rest is done at either a local community college or approved training organization.

The length of each apprenticeship is dependant on the trade the apprentice decides to enter but can be anywhere from two to five years. Once on-the-job and in-class requirements have been met, an apprentice will complete the provincial/territorial trade exam which allows them to work in their field as a fully-qualified tradesperson.

Apprenticeship is about the satisfaction of a job well done and being paid well to do work that you love. With a high demand for skilled workers in the labour force today, there’s no end to how far an apprentice can go in his/her chosen career!

What jobs require apprenticeships?

While you may hear the word apprenticeship and automatically think of construction trades, you’d be surprised to learn how many exciting jobs offer apprenticeship training.  In nearly every industry there is an avenue for apprentices to make their way into their field. Bakers, hair stylists, agriculturalists and auto mechanics are just a few of the careers which qualify for apprenticeship training.

Apprenticeships are available in nearly every aspect of Ontario’s economy and with a rapidly changing workforce there is a high demand for those willing to work hard and learn new skills.  With over 200 jobs in the skilled trades, there are plenty of opportunities available in the various industry sectors. Here are just a few of the typical industries and jobs that offer apprenticeship.

The Auto Service Sector

  • Alignment and brakes technician
  • Auto body repairer and collision damage repairer
  • Auto body repairer
  • Automotive electronic accessory technician
  • Automotive glass technician
  • Automotive service technician
  • painter
  • Motorcycle mechanic

The Construction Sector

  • Carpenter
  • Construction boilermaker
  • Construction millwright
  • Ironworker
  • Heavy equipment operator
  • Welder
  • Mobile crane operator
  • Plumber

The Service Sector

  • Assistant cook
  • Hairstylist
  • Network cabling specialist
  • Retail meat cutter
  • Early childhood educator
  • Baker
  • Gem setter/ goldsmith
  • Special event coordinator

The Manufacturing Sector

  • Mould or die finisher
  • Tool and gauge inspector
  • Bearings mechanic
  • General machinist
  • Fitter – assembler
  • Machine-tool builder and integrator

There is no end to the number of doors that can be opened through apprenticeship. Many apprentices who complete their training will be asked to train new hopefuls, while others may find management opportunities or decide to start their own business.  With apprenticeship training under your belt, the sky really can be the limit!

What does it take to be an apprentice?

The requirements and responsibilities vary in each industry. While strength is often required for construction and labour jobs, strength of character and communication skills are needed for service jobs like hair stylists or social workers. Generally, apprentices must have perseverance, drive, and a dedication to meeting their career goals! Those who are able to work well with others, adapt to different work settings, and learn well through hands-on experience are well-suited for apprenticeships.

How do I get started?

Depending on which industry you want to enter there are a variety of ways of obtaining an apprenticeship, but generally to become an apprentice you must:

  • Decide which trade you would like to enter and in which province you would like to work. Each province and trade has different requirements for entry into an apprenticeship.
  • Have completed Grade 12, though depending on the career you choose they may accept Grade 10.
  • Contact your provincial/territorial government apprenticeship office. Each province or territory will have a different agency available to meet apprentices’ needs in their region.
  • Find an employer who is willing to hire you.

The skilled trades are in high demand which is why the Government of Ontario has a number of programs to assist those interested in pursuing an apprenticeship. Each year it provides funds for the Pre-Apprenticeship Programs which help trades hopefuls acquire skills to help them obtain an apprenticeship.

Employers are also offered incentives for taking on apprentices. An Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit, allows employers to claim up to $5,000 each year.

Tools and supplies required for training are also eligible for funding support under the government’s Tools for Trades program. Eligible applicants can receive up to $800 to help with the purchase of required training materials.

Because of the high demand for Aboriginal apprentices across Canada there are also a number of options available to help Aboriginal people make their way into the skilled trades. Grand River Employment and Training offers wage subsidies and will provide funding for additional costs like safety equipment and tools. There are also a number of programs offered through other AHRDAs, friendship centres and band councils.

There are also a number of resources to get you started and on your way to the career of your dreams.

Apprentice Trades www.apprenticetrades.ca

Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/tcu

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) www.oyap.com

Skills Canada www.skillscanada.com/en

Skilled Trades, Careers in Trades