Is an apprenticeship right for you?
Whether you’re just starting to plan your career path or thinking about changing it – there are plenty of options to choose from in the skilled trades.
From the home you live in, to the streets you drive on, the work of those who specialize in the skilled trades are visible in your everyday life. Employing millions of people ranging from welders, arborists, automotive technicians, chefs, electricians and more – the skilled trades play a vital role in Ontario’s economy.
If you want to be a master in your field or if you dream of starting your own business, then consider starting your career in the trades with an apprenticeship.
What is an Apprenticeship
An apprenticeship is a career path that gives you both hands-on experience and foundational learning. This is the start of your career as a skilled trades person as you learn, work, and refine your skills to become a journeyperson. Journeypersons hold a Certificate of Qualification from Skilled Trades Ontario and are those who have completed their apprenticeship training.
The length of apprenticeships varies, but on average, they typically take between two years to five years to complete. Apprentices spend most of their time on the job where they receive mentorship from other skilled trades professionals. They also receive technical training in the classroom.
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Combining hands-on training with classroom learning, apprenticeships were designed to accelerate your career in the trades, giving you the tools and knowledge necessary to further your career.
Benefits of an Apprenticeship
Gain Insight from Mentors
Once you have found a sponsor or employer, you will have a chance to gain knowledge from other skilled trade workers. These professionals have spent years specializing in their trade and as an apprentice, you are able to work under the guidance of these skilled trades men and women.
In any industry, when you are learning something new whether it’s a new tool, software or program, there are bound to be questions that you want answered. It’s part of the learning process. The knowledge and insight of these mentors are critical for apprentices who are new to their trade. Listening and learning from these mentors can help you avoid common mistakes and help you be safe on the job.
Get Paid Training
As an apprentice, you will have the opportunity to learn and enhance your skills while getting paid on the job. The rate at which apprenticeships pay depends on the employer or sponsor, but you can never be paid below the minimum wage.
Compared to College and University students, apprentices typically earn money quicker. This is because college and university students need to finish their studies first to start earning money in their desired field – whereas apprentices get paid training throughout the length of their apprenticeship.
The average salary for an apprentice in 2021 is around $20 per hour.
Earn Certifications and Credentials
After successfully completing your apprenticeship training and obtaining your Certificate of Apprenticeship; you can pursue the next level of certification: Certificate of Qualification (or C of Q). This certificate can allow you to find better opportunities in your desired field – and can also grant you higher earning potential.
All 23 Compulsory Trades in Ontario have an exam, meaning to be eligible to work in these 23 trades, you need to pass your exam (at least 70%) so you can get your Certificate of Qualification.
Examples of Compulsory Trades
- Sheet Metal Worker
- Transmission Technician
- Domestic and Rural Electrician
Obtaining your Certificate of Qualification is a great way to upgrade your skills and your career in the trades. This is one of the key benefits of starting an apprenticeship.
Need for Skilled Trade Workers
Today, Ontario is continuing its transition from a skills and manufacturing workforce into a knowledge workforce. This trend, combined with an ageing workforce, means there will be a significant employment gap that needs to be filled in the skilled trades. The industry will have a growing need to replace those who are leaving with new, skilled workers.
Currently, the government has set plans to attract more skilled trade workers to address the looming worker shortage. These initiatives range from attracting more skilled immigrants, attracting more women into the various industries, and encouraging youth to pursue a career as a skilled trades worker.
With a predicted worker shortage in the coming years, those who specialize in the skilled trades can expect to keep earning top dollar for their skills: Industrial Technicians, Industrial Mechanics (Millwrights), Heavy Duty Equipment Technicians earn on average, more than $75,000 CAD.
Despite the challenges the skilled trades are facing, the industrial and manufacturing sector of Ontario continues to be a significant contributor to the province’s strong economy. Strengthen the future of Ontario’s economy and start your career in the trades with an apprenticeship.