Skilled trades careers require hands-on experience and specialized training. Skilled trades require a high level of knowledge comparable to a college or university degree and offer students a variety of lucrative and rewarding career paths.
Apprenticeship is a system for training a new generation of skilled tradespeople through on-the-job training. You will learn your trade in an apprenticeship while working under experienced employers. Therefore, the goal of an apprenticeship is to become an Ontario-qualified tradesperson.
A variety of pathways are available to you if you want to pursue a career in trades. Students can begin their training in high school through cooperative education or pathways programs such as the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship (OYAP) or Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Program. Some students begin their journey to their skilled trade of interest right out of high school with a skilled journeyperson. Some take a pre-apprenticeship program at college to gain experience in a trade while making connections with employers. No one way is right or wrong!
Getting into skilled trades after high school involves nine steps:
- Find an employer or sponsor: A sponsor provides you with apprenticeship training. A sponsor can be a single employer, an individual (for example, a contractor), or a group of employers (for example, unions or non-union consortiums).
- Apply for an apprenticeship: Contact your Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program Coordinator in high school to arrange registration with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD).
- Sign a training agreement: If your application is approved, the ministry (MLTSD) will create a training agreement for you and your sponsor to sign, approve the signed agreement and register your apprenticeship training.
- Register with the Provincial Regulatory Body Skilled Trades Ontario: Once your training agreement has been registered, you have 90 days to apply for membership with Skilled Trades Ontario (formally Ontario College of Trades). You must be a member of the College to work as an apprentice.
- Upon graduation from high school, notify the MLTSD if you plan to continue your apprenticeship.
- Work and complete the competency booklet specific to the apprenticing trade.
- When notified by the MLTSD, attend the college-level in-school program. This may be 8-10 weeks in duration or one day per week. The college training consists of 2 or 3 sessions, depending on the trade.
- Complete the apprenticeship by attending trade school sessions and completing the competency booklet.
- When notified, you may challenge the Certificate of Qualifications exam. The exam tests the apprentice’s knowledge of the chosen trade. If successful, the apprentice is granted a Certificate of Qualification (C of Q).
Apprenticeships are your ticket to high-demand, above-average-income careers with multiple career options and growth potential. Trades for Tomorrow is here to help simplify the apprenticeship process.