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Apprenticeship is the world's oldest formal system of learning. It is a training process in which you earn as you learn. Apprenticeship is an on-the-job training program for people who want to work in a skilled trade or occupation and includes learning new skills from skilled journeypersons.
Apprenticeship training provides access to well-paying jobs that demand a high level of skill, judgement and creativity. Apprentices are paid while gaining work experience, and their wages increase with their level of skill.
There are currently over 140 apprenticeable trades in Ontario in four sectors: construction, industrial/manufacturing, motive power and service.
In Ontario it is administered by the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board. If you are interested, check Pathways to Apprenticeship in Ontario.
You are eligible for apprenticeship in most trades if you are at least 16 years of age. Regulations for some trades require applicants to have a minimum of grade 9 or grade 10 diploma requirements. It is important that you check the education requirements for the trade in which you are interested. In most trades an apprentice should have a good foundation in Mathematics, English, and Science, particularly Physics. Under certain circumstances, applicants for apprenticeship who do not have proof of the minimum qualification can be evaluated by a Progressive Achievement Test administered by the Apprenticeship Branch.
Academic and skill achievement beyond the level required for a particular trade can often reduce the time spent in apprenticeship. Your training consultant may recommend to your employer that you be granted a credit of 50 hours towards each apprenticeship period for each trade-related credit you achieved in secondary school or college. Your consultant may also recommend that you be given similar credit for each academic school grade achieved beyond the prescribed entry level for the trade you have selected.
Depending on the skilled trade you choose, the length of your training will vary between two and five years. Your employer will pay you a percentage of the current journey person's wage. As your productivity improves with increasing skill, so will your pay. During the last training period you could be earning up to 90% of a journey-person's wage.
As a rule all but 10-25% of your apprenticeship program will consist of on-the-job-training. The remainder is usually spent at a CAAT which provides you with the theory and additional instruction that you need to complete your training. Your tuition is generally covered by the government.
There are well over 140 skilled trades that are formally recognized in Ontario. To meet a growing demand by employers, new apprenticeship programs are always being introduced and established programs upgraded. Regulated trades are governed by Ontario regulations under the Trades Qualification and Apprenticeship Act. It outlines the standards and conditions of training for specific trades. Non-regulated trades have no formal regulation. Training for these trades is often custom-designed to meet specific requirements of particular jobs and can be developed upon request.
If you like the idea of being a skilled worker, prefer hands-on learning and would like to learn, then apprenticeship may be the route for you.
1. Find which skill best suits you. To start your search, visit the Employment Ontario web site.
2. To become an apprentice, you must find an employer or sponsor who is willing to train you and engage in apprenticeship training. People who want to become apprentices usually apply directly to an employer, union, local apprenticeship committee or sponsor group. Find a skilled trade job on your own or contact Job Connect.
Also consider looking into the new college co-op diploma apprenticeship programs that allow you to obtain your apprenticeship certificate and a related college degree at the same time.
3. Contact the local apprenticeship office (613-745-1918) to arrange for a meeting with a Training Consultant who will outline how the program works and then help you take steps to register as an apprentice.
4. Begin the learning process: About 90% of apprenticeship training is provided in the workplace by your employer. The remaining 10% is usually given at a local community college or provided by another approved training organization.
5. Finish the program (timelines vary by trade). You may receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship that shows that you have successfully completed a formal training program in a specific trade. Write and pass the provincial qualification exam and receive a certificate of qualification that confirms you meet the standards set by the trade.