How To Start an Apprenticeship (With Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 23, 2022 | Published July 26, 2021

Updated September 23, 2022

Published July 26, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

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Sinead will let you know about various trade jobs and the best tactics to step into the trade industry.

An apprenticeship is an industry-driven role that allows professionals to gain valuable work experience. Through this program, individuals can obtain paid experience and a recognized credential. Some of the industries that offer apprenticeships include manufacturing, food preparation, health care and public safety. In this article, we explore what an apprenticeship is, the benefits of apprenticeships, how to start an apprenticeship and how to prepare for one.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a training program for individuals with the interest of becoming competent and recognized in a field or craft. You can start an apprenticeship to learn and perfect a new skill. The individual who learns a skill while they work is called an apprentice. The apprentice usually learns from an experienced craftsman or expert in a certain field.

Read more:

  • What is an Apprenticeship?

  • Apprenticeship vs. Internship: What's the Difference?

  • Examples of Apprenticeship Programs (With Benefits)

Why start an apprenticeship?

There are several benefits of starting an apprenticeship. Some of them are:

  • An opportunity to learn and build new skills. An apprenticeship opens up opportunities for an individual to learn skills that will benefit them in their chosen field of expertise. As an apprentice, you can also acquire seasoned tips from professionals who have been in that particular field long enough to know certain things.

  • To get certifications in a trade. In order to secure certain jobs or gain recognition, you can earn the right credentials. Through apprenticeship programs, you can obtain such certifications.

  • Flexible schedule for work and training. In an apprenticeship, your work schedule is very flexible. You can participate in other important activities or tasks while participating in an apprenticeship program.

  • It creates an opportunity to earn while you learn. In most apprenticeship programs, apprentices earn pay depending on the level of effort they put into their job. So, an added benefit to apprenticeship programs is that you can learn skills and earn money at the same time.

Related: 8 Reasons Why Learning a Trade Skill Is a Good Idea

How an apprenticeship works

As an apprentice, you work with experienced professionals to learn a skill or trade. In most cases, you get paid while working and learning with these experts. Apprenticeships can occur in a school environment, like a college campus or a union trading centre. For most apprenticeships in school environments, you can work for a period then switch to classes for eight to 12 weeks. The lessons can be full-time or part-time.

To become a certified professional in a trade area, primarily through apprenticeship, you can work for two to five years as an apprentice. The years you spend as an apprentice differ depending on the technicality of the skill you are learning.

Categories of trades in apprenticeships

Generally, the trades in apprenticeships fall under four major categories. These categories are:

  • Construction: This trade area is usually technical and involves construction or building-related skills. Some examples of trades that fall under the construction area are: architectural glass and metal technician, brick and stone mason, construction craft worker, drywall finisher and plasterer, and electrician.

  • Industrial: This trade area is also very technical and mostly connected with science and technology. Some examples of trades that fall under this category are: bearings mechanic, cabinetmaker, computer numerical control (CNC) programmer, electric motor system technician, entertainment industry power technician and facilities mechanic.

  • Motive power: This is a unique part of trades, and it is usually mechanical-related. Some examples of trades under this category are: agricultural equipment technician, alignment and brakes technician, auto body and collision damage repairer, auto body repairer, automotive electronic accessory technician, automotive glass technician, automotive painter, automotive service technician, heavy-duty equipment technician and marine engine technician.

  • Service: A wide range of trades fall under this category because it involves carrying out service-related jobs that include assisting someone. Some examples of trades under this category are: child development practitioner, appliance service technician, arborist, baker, chef, electronic service technician and hairstylist.

Related:

  • What Are the Different Types of Apprenticeships? (With Tips)

  • Vocational Training Programs in Canada

  • Apply to These 20 Skilled Trade Jobs in Canada

How to prepare for an apprenticeship if you are in high school

A high school student looking to participate in an apprenticeship program can take the following steps:

  1. Find and join a registered apprenticeship program in your high school. In high school, there is a high possibility there will be an adequate apprenticeship program that is well- suited to student needs.

  2. Take courses that will assist you in your career goals. Finding a trade that will help you with your future career should be prioritized because it will boost your resume and give you valuable work experience.

  3. For a better experience in the apprenticeship program, start your journey through the Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) and dual-credit programs. These programs let students maintain a career path that corresponds with their specific skills and interests while meeting the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) requirements.

How to start an apprenticeship

If you're looking to start an apprenticeship program, you should note the following important points. If you are under 18 years old, you can:

1. Find out if you qualify

There are specific requirements you may need to meet before you can qualify to start an apprenticeship program:

  • The individual must be at least 16 years old to increase the chances of being mentally mature enough to carry out certain tasks.

  • The individual must also have legal permission to work in Canada.

  • There are specific educational requirements that must be met before one can start learning a trade. All these requirements must be fulfilled by prospective apprentices.

  • Also, the student must have a valid sponsor.

2. Find an employee or sponsor

An employee or sponsor, in this context, is the individual that provides the apprenticeship training. The employee can be a single person or a group of persons. This is because, in an apprenticeship, it is possible to receive training from more than one person. Here are a few examples of ways students can find sponsors:

  • Guidance counsellors: Counsellors in charge of students' academic, physical and mental well-being can advise them on steps to take. So, if you are in high school and you need help with apprenticeship sponsorship, consult your guidance counsellor.

  • Placement offices: Most high schools have placement offices for students to find sponsors. If you are in high school, find out if your school has a placement office for easy connection with a sponsor.

  • Online platforms: On the internet, there are different websites where you can post your resume to get sponsors for an apprenticeship program.

  • Union or trade associations: Most trades usually have associations, and these associations connect students who want to participate in apprenticeship programs to different sponsors.

  • Newspapers and other directories: In newspapers, students can find apprenticeship positions, so you just have to contact the sponsor to see if you are qualified.

Related: Personal Skills and Professional Skills You Should Have on Your Resume

3. Apply for an apprenticeship online

If you are 18 or older, you can apply for an apprenticeship online. Before you apply, there is certain information you must possess.

Your information

  • Social insurance number (SIN) for identification

  • Full mailing address

  • Your personal email address

Sponsor or employee information

  • Full legal name (often different than the business name)

  • Full mailing address

  • Business phone number (not personal phone number)

Sponsor contact person's information

  • First and last name

  • Phone number

  • Email address

Work arrangement details

  • Possible start date with the sponsor or employee

  • Number of work and training hours per week

4. Sign a training agreement

If you have gone through preliminary stages, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development will:

  • Create an official training agreement for you and your sponsor/employee to sign

  • Approve the agreement after verifying its credibility

  • Register the apprenticeship training

5. Complete the apprenticeship

After you have finished training for two to five years as an apprentice in a certain trade, you can receive a certificate of apprenticeship. To obtain a certificate of apprenticeship, there are certain tasks you and your sponsor can complete depending on the trade. For a specific trade, you can also complete an exam to earn a Certificate of Qualification.

Related: The 10 Most Valuable Certifications Today

Funds available for apprentices

There are many provincial and federal support plans for apprentices in Canada. Additionally, you can get:

  • Up to $4,000 in interest-free federal loans for training in a Red Seal trade

  • Up to $4,000 in federal grants if you are no longer in high school and training in a Red Seal trade

  • Income support through federal employment insurance to help with full-time technical training costs depending on the trade you are learning

  • A bonus of $2,000 once you finish your apprenticeship program


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