Working in Skilled Trades is a fantastic option for students who are looking for a career in a profitable, in-demand field.
This diverse industry boasts more than 200 vocations, including woodworking, plumbing, culinary arts, mechanics, hairstyling, and landscaping. In order to develop skills in their chosen field early on, Trades students can pursue an apprenticeship. Not only does this supplement technical training, but it also gives you the the option to earn money while you’re still completing school!
If you think an occupation in Skilled Trades might be right for you, our comprehensive guide to apprenticeships can help you get cracking on your career.
1. What is an apprenticeship, and how can it help me succeed?
An apprenticeship consists of work experience in your trade under the instruction of a journeyperson. This job training takes place at the same time as your technical studies in a certification program, and lasts anywhere from two to five years. Overall, the biggest benefit of apprenticeships is the chance to work with someone who is already an expert in your field. The ability to ask your mentor or journeyperson for their advice when you’re starting out is invaluable!
2. What are the requirements of an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships are usually a mandatory part of college or certification programs in the Skilled Trades. However, some students can begin training as early as high school – it simply depends on your province or territory. If you have already chosen a trade, your first step should be a visit to your province or territory’s website to research different apprenticeships in your area, as well as the requirements of your chosen profession.
Once you have determined your intended Skilled Trade and its prerequisites, you can either apply for a college program or enrol in a certification course. If your line of work requires a diploma, take a look at the advising and employment services your college provides. Your school may be able to assist you in finding an apprenticeship, and will have information regarding grants and funding.
If your trade does not call for a college education, you can qualify by completing a registered apprenticeship and taking certification programs, such as the Red Seal Trades examinations. This organization sets a national standard so that journeypersons have the flexibility to work anywhere across Canada. As such, this certification will vastly improve employment options for anyone working in the Skilled Trades, regardless of their profession’s requirements. The Red Seal Trades website is also a great place to learn about student and trainee grants, so be sure to utilize this resource.
3. How can I get an apprenticeship?
Finding an employer to take you on as an apprentice is often the most challenging part of this process. If you are enrolled in a college program, your school will most likely help you organize your work experience. However, if your trade does not require a college education, you may have to set up your apprenticeship independently.
If you already have a journeyperson in mind whom you’d like to work with, you can always approach them directly. You can also get in touch with your local trade unions to see if any employers are looking for a trainee, or network with professionals in your field. Furthermore, you can take your search online – local employment agencies, job boards, and career fairs are great places to look for positions. The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum can connect you to resources that are specific to your province, and many of these sites have online journeyperson finders.
It’s very important to be prepared when reaching out to potential employers. Have a polished resume of your skills and certifications on hand, and make sure that you’re up-to-date on your industry’s jargon and procedures. Finally, it’s helpful to know how your work as an apprentice will positively impact your employer. Being aware of the benefits your skills bring to the table will demonstrate that you’re conscious of the value of your role. After all, an apprenticeship is a paid position, and your journeyperson will be impressed to see that you have their best interests in mind as well as your own.
Once you’ve found an employer, your last step is to register at your local apprenticeship office. They’ll make sure to officiate your training with the province and can help you look for grants and tax credits for your mentor. This information will be available on your province or territory’s employment website.
With these tips in mind, you will be on sure footing as you launch your career in the Skilled Trades. Best of luck on your employment journey (or could we say your journey to becoming a journeyperson!).