An apprentice is someone who is learning a trade and has a formal training contract with a sponsor. The contract is called a Registered Training Agreement. A sponsor is the person, group, or organization responsible for providing the apprentice with training experiences.
A journeyperson is someone who is fully certified in their trade, can perform all the work in that trade without supervision, and can train new apprentices.
The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) lets you earn high school credits by learning skills on the job. In some cases, your credits and work experience can count towards an apprenticeship if you choose to continue pursuing that trade after high school through an Ontario apprenticeship program. To find out more, speak to your guidance counsellor, or visit the OYAP website here.
Research is the most important thing to do before getting into an apprenticeship. There are often significant differences between the trades, so get to know some of the expectations and working conditions for each trade. You should find out about wages, working hours, the annual work cycle, health and safety requirements, and any clothing and equipment you’ll need to do the job. The more you know before entering an apprenticeship, the better prepared you’ll be going in, and the more serious you’ll appear to potential sponsors.
There are lots of benefits to the apprenticeship learning experience and a career in the trades. Here are a few:
You should start by doing some research about what trades you are interested in. There are many skilled trades in Ontario, so there is a trade for you no matter what you’re into.
The next step is to find a sponsor. A sponsor is a person, group, or organization that takes responsibility for ensuring that you are getting opportunities to learn all of the skills required for you to complete your apprenticeship in accordance with the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009. Most often, a sponsor will be your direct employer, but they do not have to be as long as they are able to meet their responsibilities as a sponsor.
After you find a sponsor, you’ll have to sign a Registered Training Agreement with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development and your sponsor that outlines your responsibilities as an apprentice and the responsibilities of your sponsor.
Once you’ve signed your Registered Training Agreement, you officially become a registered apprentice. At this point, you’ll have 90 days to register as a member of the Ontario College of Trades. To do this, you need to send a member application form with your annual membership fee of $60+HST ($67.80) to the Ontario College of Trades.
The total cost for doing an apprenticeship is around $2,000. Here is a breakdown of the fees you will have to pay:
Some trades may require that you provide your own tools and equipment. Make sure to factor this into your budget. These costs vary by sector, but interest-free loans are available for apprentices. Click here for financial resources available for apprentices.
Remember that you will be earning money on the job while you are learning the trade.
There is no set length of an apprenticeship, as it depends on a number of factors, like the availability of work and in-class spaces for training programs, and the requirements of the trade. Each trade has different requirements, ranging from 4000-9000 workplace hours and 2 to 3 levels of in-class training. Normally you should expect to finish within two to five years.
Besides learning general life and job skills, you’ll be learning particular skills related to the trade you choose. These skills are laid out in detail in the Apprenticeship Training Standards which were developed by the Ontario College of Trades, and are available here.
Yes! There are lots of financial supports available for registered apprentices. Apprentices may be eligible for up to $4,000 in federal or provincial grants for completing the different stages of their apprenticeship. Apprentices can get interest-free loans for tools, and can often collect EI payments for the periods they are doing their in-class training. There may also be other funding available through training delivery agencies, colleges, and apprenticeship organizations. Click here for financial resources available for apprentices.
Make sure that your resume is up-to-date and professional. Also, ensure that your essential skills like language, writing, and working with others are up to scratch. Simple things like timeliness, a strong work ethic, and the ability to communicate clearly can give your employer confidence that you are a worthwhile investment and will be able to handle the opportunities that lie ahead in your apprenticeship training.
Under the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009 -(the Act), a sponsor is a person, group, or organization that takes responsibility for ensuring that you are getting opportunities to learn all of the skills required for you to complete your apprenticeship in accordance with the Act. Most often, a sponsor will be your direct employer, but they do not have to be as long as they are able to meet their responsibilities as a sponsor.
It is important to note that the sponsor is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act. This includes making sure that a trainer or journeyperson provides the apprentice with opportunities to learn the skills necessary to practice the trade, and that the apprentice only works in accordance with any applicable wage rates and journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios.
As long as these conditions are met, your sponsor can be: an individual, employer, corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, association, union, employer association, Joint Apprenticeship Committee, Joint Training and Apprenticeship Committee, Local Apprenticeship Committee, trade association, band council, community‐based agency, group of persons, or any other organization or entity.
There are a lot of excellent reasons for an employer to take on an apprentice and get into apprenticeship training. Although apprentices may initially use resources for their training, they quickly offer a return on their employer’s investment, and apprentice wages may be eligible for tax credits. At the end of an apprenticeship, the employer will have a potential employee who has been trained exactly the way they want, and with the skills they need for their business to thrive. Click here for financial resources available for employers.
If you have not signed a Registered Training Agreement with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, and are not a member of the Ontario College of Trades, you are not an apprentice. Without a signed agreement, you are not eligible for the financial supports that are available to registered apprentices, and you are not allowed to engage in the activities of a compulsory trade. Also, your employer is not eligible to claim tax credits on your wages for apprentice training, or to receive the $1,000 Apprentice Completion Bonus. If you want to become an apprentice, speak to your employer about signing a Registered Training Agreement.
You, as the apprentice, are responsible for ensuring you get the training you need. Speak to your employer if you think there are skills you haven’t covered. If there are skills that your sponsor cannot provide training for, you should explore alternate arrangements to meet the training requirements.
Safety should always be a primary consideration at the workplace. If you have problems with your work situation, remember that you should always speak to someone about your concerns, whether it is a parent, co-worker, supervisor, or other groups who can provide you with information on workplace safety (i.e. Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, Ministry of Labour).
If you lose your job or sponsor, you should:
If you are waiting to attend the in-class portion of your training, you will still be able to do so.
If you are unsure about your apprenticeship status, contact the Ontario College of Trades toll-free at 1-855-299-0028, or by email at info@Collegeoftrades.ca
Keep all documents and records which prove any previous training hours and experience you have, including letters from your employers, pay stubs showing your hours, etc. Your Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development Employment Training Consultant may consider this documentation upon your registration. This documentation may grant you enrollment in an apprenticeship program with advanced status.
Once you sign your Registered Training Agreement, you will be placed on a waiting list. The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (the Ministry) will send you a letter to notify you once an in-class training place is open. You can normally expect to work for up to 10 months before doing your Level-1 training. If you’ve been waiting for a while and haven’t heard anything yet, contact your local Ministry office to ask them about your status.
Once you complete your apprenticeship, you either join the Ontario College of Trades Journeyperson Candidates Class or become eligible for the Journeypersons Class.
In the Journeyperson Candidates class, you will have 12 -months to successfully challenge the Certificate of Qualification exam for your trade in order to move into the Journeypersons Class.
If your trade does not offer a Certificate of Qualification exam, you will automatically become eligible for entry into the Journeypersons Class.
Before entering the workforce, you should learn a bit about your rights as an employee. As a start, why not check out the following documents:
Employment Ontario is an excellent place to begin your search for an apprenticeship. Their trained counsellors will help you research and find a trade that fits with your skills, interests, and career goals. They will help you with your resume, and may subsidize your wages to offset the initial training costs for employers. They will also be able to point you towards pre-apprenticeship programs, job boards and other resources to help get you started in a career. Click here to find your local Employment Ontario provider.
Like attending a college and university, an apprenticeship is a form of post-secondary education. The big difference is that the majority of an apprenticeship is spent on the job, learning practical skills and earning money.
Apprenticeship offers a bridge between education and work, and can lead to rewarding and high-paying careers because you’re already out there working and have the hands-on skills employers are looking for.
The Ontario College of Trades has an excellent team of Client Services staff ready to field your questions and help you on your way. Our Call Centre is open Monday to Friday, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. You can contact us by phone toll-free at 1-855-299-0028 or email us anytime at: info@Collegeoftrades.ca