Q. I want to become an apprentice. How do I start?
If you want to become an apprentice in a compulsory trade, the first step is to find a job in the trade of your choice. Make sure your employer has a qualified journeyperson on staff who can register and train you as apprentice. Keep in mind that companies must adhere to certain ratios of journeypersons-to-apprentices. For example, a qualified journeyperson may not be able to register you as an apprentice if he or she is training other apprentices and/or the company has reached its maximum journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio.
While it is necessary to be trained by a journeyperson in a compulsory trade, it is not absolutely necessary that a journeyperson handle your training in a voluntary trade. For voluntary trades, the apprenticeship training agreement could be set up with an employee with many years of experience and significant expertise who is capable of covering off the required training components. The employer can ask an Employment and Training Consultant at their local Employment Ontario Apprenticeship Office whether the potential trainer’s experience qualifies for sponsorship.
Q. I want to enrol in an apprenticeship program. How do I register?
You must be a registered apprentice and secure employment in order to be eligible for apprenticeship training. If you are not a registered apprentice, there are other training options available, including pre-apprenticeship programs, public and career college certificate/diploma programs, and private industry training providers. Although these options do not qualify as apprenticeship training, upon completion, they may help you secure employment in the field. In addition, some pre-apprenticeship programs that are funded by the province can include apprenticeship training.
Q. I have been job searching, but employers aren’t willing to hire an apprentice. What do I do now?
There could be numerous reasons why employers may not be hiring a job seeker requesting an apprenticeship. One reason might be that the company is not eligible to register apprentices because it does not have any (or enough) qualified journeypersons or potential trainers available. To avoid this situation, make sure to ask companies if they have certified journeypersons or potential trainers on staff who may be able to enrol and train apprentices. Another reason that employers may not be willing to hire might be due to a perceived notion that it is too much trouble and/or effort to hire and train apprentices. A suggested way to manage this issue is to learn about all the benefits and financial incentives for employers hiring apprentices and share these findings with companies of interest. For more information about the benefits and incentives to employers, and/or to access help with job searching, contact one of our 5 Employment Ontario full suite employment centres.
In addition, some employers may not want to go through the apprenticeship process right away if they do not know anything about you, your work ethic, or your capabilities. In a voluntary trade, you could suggest to an employer that you work for them for a while with a goal that they sign you on as an apprentice after they have had a chance to assess the overall fit. More information on becoming a skilled tradesperson can be found on the Government of Ontario’s Skilled Trades website.
Q. How do I find journeypersons qualified in their trade?
The best way to determine if a company has qualified journeypersons is to call them and ask to speak with the general manager/supervisor, who should be able to provide this information. Other suggested methods include checking company websites for a list of employee qualifications or you can try searching the Ontario Job Bank for the right workers. Our Employment Ontario employment centres can also help you job search and connect with qualified journeypersons.
Q. How long will the apprenticeship process take?
Each trade has different required hours for on-the-job training and in-school training. These hours vary depending on the trade. To learn more about these required training hours, contact one of our Employment Ontario full suite employment centres or visit the province’s skilled trades website. For most trades, it takes between 2 to 5 years to complete all training components.
Q. I hear there are many jobs in the trades, but why is it so hard to get a job?
It can sometimes be hard tapping into apprenticeship openings. One reason for this could be that companies do not have the required journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio or qualified staff to hire an apprentice. It is important to be aware of how this can impact your job search. Another reason might be that the employer is not fully aware of the benefits of hiring an apprentice. Your job search success will increase once you learn about all the benefits and government incentives for employers and communicate this information to them when asking them about employment opportunities. To access help with your job search, visit one of our 5 Employment Ontario full suite employment centres.
Q. I already work in the trades, but my employer won’t register me as an apprentice. How can I encourage them to do so?
If you’re working in a voluntary trade, determine whether or not your employer is eligible to register you as an apprentice. Does the company have qualified journeypersons on staff, or someone who meets the sponsorship eligibility requirements? You may want to contact an Employment Ontario Apprenticeship office if you are unsure about this. In addition, does the company have the required journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio? Do they comply with all occupational legislation? If the answer to the above questions is yes, you are in a good position to speak to the employer about the benefits and financial incentives involved with hiring an apprentice.
Q. What are the educational requirements to get hired in the trades?
Each trade has specific educational requirements that must be fulfilled prior to apprenticeship registration. Many trades require a grade 12 diploma but some will accept candidates who have completed grade 10. To learn more about educational requirements for apprenticeship, please visit the Government of Ontario’s Skilled Trades website. It is important to keep in mind that employers in the trades can develop their own policies relating to educational requirements, which may differ from those of apprenticeship registration. Educate yourself on the educational requirements for the industry in which you are job seeking.
Q. I didn’t get good marks in school. I was told to get into the trades to work with my hands. Is this true?
Contrary to popular opinion, there is a great deal of math and science involved in many of the trades. The advantage of apprenticeship training for people who struggle with traditional forms of education is that training is sectioned into shorter intervals (between 8 to 12 weeks), with on-the-job training built around the in-class training. This allows students to gain practical, hands-on employment experience to better understand the classroom-based theory and practical components. To learn more about how to prepare yourself for work in the skilled trades, please visit the Government of Ontario’s Skilled Trades website.
Q. I have many years of experience working in a trade and I know my job inside and out. I just never went through the process of completing an apprenticeship. I am thinking of becoming a journeyperson now. What steps do I take?
If you have many years of experience in your trade and have been exposed to all facets of the job, you may wish to take a Trade Equivalency Examination. These examinations will test your knowledge and experience against the provincial industry standards set out for the trade. Whether your experience was acquired in Ontario, out-of-province, or internationally, you may request to challenge the Trade Equivalency Examination by applying for an assessment from the Ontario College of Trades. To assess whether or not you are eligible to complete the Trade Equivalency Examination, you will be requested to gather supporting documents to prove the skills and experience. To learn more about the Trade Equivalency Application process, visit the Ontario College of Trades’ website.