Got Questions?

What is an apprentice? What is a journeyperson?

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.

What is the OYAP program?

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.

What are some important things to know before getting into a trade?

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.

Why should I do an apprenticeship?

There are lots of benefits to the apprenticeship learning experience and a career in the trades. Here are a few:

  • There are many skilled trades careers to choose from – so no matter what you’re into, there’s a trade for you.
  • Apprenticeships let you take a hands-on approach to learning a skilled trade while getting paid. In many cases, you can cover your costs and living expenses, leaving you debt-free.
  • In doing an apprenticeship, you’ll be opening the door to a rewarding and stable career. You will be gaining experience and making contacts along the way.
  • There are lots of possibilities to move ahead in your career in the skilled trades. You can continue learning new skills, work on different projects, take on new and exciting roles, or perhaps start your own business.
  • Many trades are recognized under the Red Seal Program which means greater work opportunities across Canada.
  • Most trades pay quite well in comparison to other occupations. In many trades the average earnings are above the national average income.
  • There is a projected skills shortage in Ontario, and many trades will struggle to keep up with the rate of retirement.
  • Many people learn better by doing than by sitting in a lecture hall or studying out of textbooks. Apprenticeships let you learn mostly through hands-on experience in the real world, with only about 10% of your time spent in a classroom.
  • Apprenticeships are a form of post-secondary education, just like college and university education. It lets you continue learning new skills after high school that will tie you into an excellent career, and open up opportunities across the country and around the world.
  • Skilled trades require skills. Lots of trades require advanced math, science and problem-solving skills.
  • Skilled tradespeople touch nearly every aspect of our daily lives. In doing an apprenticeship you’ll be able to take pride in knowing that you’re making a valuable contribution to the lives of others.
  • Working in the trades, you’ll get to put your skills into action and create something you can be proud of. Whether it’s a house, a bridge, a haircut, motorbike, a finely crafted cabinet or a wedding cake, you’ll get to see the results of your hard work every day.

How do I get started?

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.

How much does an apprenticeship cost?

The total cost for doing an apprenticeship is around $2,000. Here is a breakdown of the fees you will have to pay:

  • In-class training: $400-$600 per level. Most trades require 3 levels of in-class training
  • Membership with the Ontario College of Trades: $60/year + HST

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.

How long does an apprenticeship last?

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.

What will I learn in my apprenticeship?

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.

Are there scholarships or funding opportunities for apprentices?

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.

What are some things that will help me find a sponsor?

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.

Who can sponsor me as an apprentice?

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.

How can I convince an employer to take me on as an apprentice?

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.

I have been working as a helper. Is this the same as being an apprentice?

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.

What if my sponsor is not able to provide me with training opportunities to complete my apprenticeship?

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.

What if I have a problem with my sponsor/employer? (safety, training, payment…)

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).

What happens if I lose my job or sponsor?

If you lose your job or sponsor, you should:

  • Speak to your employer and find out if they are able to offer you future opportunities or if they know of anyone who is able to.
  • Speak with your Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development Employment Training Consultant about new opportunities.

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

What happens if I have previous experience in my trade before signing a Registered Training Agreement?

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.

When do I get to do the in-class training part of my apprenticeship?

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.

What happens once I complete my apprenticeship?

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.

What are some general things I should know about before entering the workforce?

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 Standards Act, 2000
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1990
  • Human Rights Code, 1990

What resources are available to help me find a job/apprenticeship placement?

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.

How does an apprenticeship compare with a college or university education?

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.

How can I contact the Ontario College of Trades?

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: