Finding a Job

What is an Apprenticeship?

June 11, 2021

Apprenticeships provide an essential avenue to gain practical skills and experience in a particular industry. Organizations use these programs to equip new and old employees with the necessary skills to succeed in the business. Understanding how apprenticeships work can be a good way to decide if these programs are right for you. In this article, we explore what an apprenticeship is, how to join an apprenticeship program, and the jobs that these programs can lead to.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a program that trains people to become skilled workers in a particular trade. It allows a company to meet its immediate needs for skilled employees while providing training to them. This program involves an employment contract allowing apprentices to receive wages during the program. It also enables practitioners to gain a license to practice in a regulated profession.

Apprenticeships are more common in manual and labour-intensive industries such as construction, manufacturing, and automotive industries. However, the concept is rapidly spreading in growing industries such as logistics, information technology, energy, and healthcare.

Related: Vocational Training Programs in Canada

How do apprenticeships work?

The specific operations of apprenticeship programs vary significantly depending on the industry, profession, and company culture. However, here are some elements that are common to apprenticeship programs across various industries:

Learning on the job

An essential element of an apprenticeship program is undergoing hands-on training under a licensed mentor. In addition, they conduct the training in line with industry standards within the country.

An apprenticeship program ensures you can develop in an environment where you can apply the practical skills and knowledge obtained during your training. In most cases, apprentices gain more technical training that allows them to earn promotions faster than their peers in the same industry.

Earn while you work

Apprenticeship programs typically operate as full-time employment, so apprentices receive payment. The base rate is usually low, but many companies increase the pay as apprentices progress through the program.

Classroom instruction

Apprenticeship programs may last between two to four years, depending on the industry. In addition to on-the-job training, apprentices receive technical training in the classroom. Companies may collaborate with academic institutions to develop courses independently for the programs. For most trades, you work for up to a year before switching to classroom learning, which lasts up to eight to twelve weeks.

Certification upon completion

After completing both the on-the-job and in-class training, you can apply for a journeyperson certification. A registered apprentice who has met all the requirements and has completed all the mandatory examinations receives a certificate of completion, also called a ticket. Your ticket is valid throughout the country, allowing you to work in any province or territory.

Related: The 10 Most Valuable Certifications Today

How to get an apprenticeship

To get an apprenticeship program, you must first find a program that aligns with your career goals. Follow these steps for how to get an apprenticeship program:

1. Find a suitable industry

The first step is choosing the industry that best fits your skill set. In case of uncertainty, you can consider choosing from the designated list of Red Seal trades. Picking a Red Seal trade qualifies you to apply for the Red Seal Certification that allows you to work anywhere across the country.

Also, you can search for apprenticeship opportunities on by searching for the job title of your choice, followed by “apprenticeship” or “apprentice” in the search engine.

Related: How to Choose a Career Path in 10 Easy Steps

2. Meet the basic requirements

Different apprenticeship programs have varying eligibility requirements, depending on the type of industry. Generally, you have to be 16 years and above to qualify. Also, you must be physically fit enough to perform the required activities.

In addition, you must have the basic educational requirements for your chosen trade. For example, some employers may consider aptitude test scores, grades, or minimum work experience. Also, some employers may set the pre-apprenticeship training program as a requirement for selection. This program helps aspiring apprentices develop their skills and better prepare them to find jobs as apprentices.

3. Meet other eligibility requirements

If you're in high school, find a youth apprenticeship program. Take courses and take part in dual credit programs that match your career goals. In some provinces, you need to attend classroom training at a training institution first before undergoing on-the-job training with a sponsor.

4. Find an employer or sponsor

If you meet all the eligibility requirements, you need to find a job with an employer to sponsor you. Your sponsor or employer is the person who provides you with on-the-job training. Your sponsor could be a union of workers or an individual employer. You can get a sponsor by applying directly to companies' job ads, or taking part in government employment programs.

5. Register your agreement

When your sponsor agrees to provide on-the-job training, it creates an agreement on both of you. You then need to register the training agreement with your local apprenticeship authority.

6. Get financial aid (optional)

There are various grants and incentives available to apprentices to cover the costs of the program. It also provides funding that allows you to continue working in your chosen trade after the apprenticeship program. You can choose to opt for any of them.

Benefits of an apprenticeship

The benefits of an apprenticeship program are considerable, and this is why it is a fast-growing career training option. Here are some of the benefits that you stand to gain from an apprenticeship:

Valuable connections

An apprenticeship allows you to learn from recognized experts in the field, and build valuable connections with them. Apprentices can earn the respect of journeypeople, and build a respectable reputation for themselves in their fields.

Get into an in-demand industry

Apprenticeship programs allow you to get into companies across various industries that require skilled people to fill critical positions. You also get various options to choose from, thanks to the high demand for skilled labour.


The in-class technical aspect of apprenticeship programs makes a viable alternative to college degrees. Trusted agencies that provide some of the best education for a specific occupation in the country regulate these programs, making them respected.

Apprenticeship programs help you acquire a Certificate of Qualification (CoQ), which employers regard as a form of basic qualification. Some trades also offer interprovincial Red Seal, which certifies you to work anywhere in the country.

Careers that start with an apprenticeship

Various careers across various industries start with an apprenticeship, so you'll likely find something that interests you. However, some industries rely more on apprenticeship programs to train new workers. Here are five jobs that start with apprenticeship:

1. Hairstylist

National average salary: $16.39 per hour

Primary duties: A stylist provides a full range of hair care services in a salon. These services include cutting, styling, colouring, washing, and wax treatment of hair. Stylists suggest hairstyles compatible with the client's features, and determine style from the client's instructions.

Companies that offer an apprenticeship: Trade Secrets Eastgate, GOA Hair Salon Ltd., Curious Hair Salon

2. Electrician

National average salary: $30.90 per hour

Primary duties: An electrician specializes in electrical wiring of buildings, stationary machines, and related equipment. They check for problems in electrical components, repair equipment, and ensure they comply with the regulations. Most electrician apprenticeship programs involve four or five years of training, including at least 3,000 hours and 3360 hours of on-the-job training and technical instruction, respectively.

Companies that offer an apprenticeship: Gates Corporation, Pacificom Integration Ltd., Anishnabeg Outreach Training and Employment Inc.

3. Retail sales associate

National average salary: $15.67 per hour

Primary duties: Retail sales associates are responsible for all sale activities and sale associate duties, from offering assistance, lending opinions, answering questions, and assisting in displaying merchandise on the selling floor. There is no formal training requirement for this role; sales associates learn by assisting senior sales associates or managers.

Companies that offer an apprenticeship: Bell Mobility, 7-Eleven Inc., Holt Renfrew

4. Arborist

National average salary: $25.64 per hour

Primary duties: An arborist maintains tresses and shrubs through pruning and trimming to ensure that they do not interfere with public works such as roads, sidewalks, and power lines. Some arborists focus on improving the appearance and general health of trees and plants. Arborists must undergo 6,000 hours of training consisting of 5,340 hours of work-related training hours and 660 hours of instruction hours before receiving certification.

Companies that offer an apprenticeship: Davey Tree Canada, Ashley's Tree Care, Four Seasons Tree Care

5. Chef

National average salary: $19.76 per hour

Primary duties: A chef's responsibility includes handling all food-related issues and handling food preparation needs at restaurants. They bake, cook, and prepare predetermined menu items or develop new ideas for menus and dishes. The term of apprenticeship for a chef is three 12-month periods, which includes at least 1560 hours of work-related training and 1344 hours of technical training hours.

Companies that offer an apprenticeship: Grill Fish King Restaurant, Argus Hospitality Group, Lina's Italian Supermercato

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


View More 

What is a Business Analyst?

A business analyst works with real-time data to foresee any problems and to draft solutions to those problems. In this way, a business analyst needs to be innovative and creative.

A Beginner's Guide to Freelance Jobs

Freelance jobs give you a sense of independence and freedom. Read this article to learn more about freelancing and the features of this work style.