Pathways to Apprenticeship
There are a number of different ways to enter an apprenticeship in Ontario.
Conestoga Career Centres
A range of programs and services can be accessed through Conestoga Career Centres to assist current and prospective apprentices. Services include pre-assessments, career and academic advising, skills analysis, skills enhancement, links to financial incentives and employer contacts.
Career Centres are conveniently located at the Doon, Guelph, Waterloo and Stratford campuses. In addition, our off-campus Career Centre in Waterloo is located at 285 Weber Street North. To better serve job seekers and employers in rural communities, itinerant services are also available in New Hamburg, Elmira, Wellesley and throughout Perth and Huron counties.
Traditional Apprenticeship Route (Direct)
Traditional Apprenticeship Program. A person seeking an apprenticeship is responsible for finding an employer who will sponsor him or her. The employer and apprentice register with the Employment Ontario apprenticeship office. Only after this is done does the apprenticeship-training period officially begin. As of April 8, 2013, apprentices and journeymen in some disciplines will be required to become a member of the College of Trades.
Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program
High school students can begin an apprenticeship while still attending school. To do so, you must register for co-operative education and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP).
OYAP is a "school to career" program specifically developed to help high school students make a smooth transition directly into their post secondary apprenticeship program. This two-year program can begin in grade 11 or 12.
Participation in this program gives high school students a head start on their desired apprenticeship while completing their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. They receive credit for the skills they gain while with their employer during the apprenticeship period.
A successful OYAP placement could lead to paid employment and completing their apprenticeship after graduation. Employers may be eligible for wage subsidies and/or tax credits and should contact the Conestoga Career Centre for more information.
How does OYAP work?
- OYAP is usually a two-year program during years 3 to 5 of high school.
- Successful applicants must take the related technology courses, co-op and other recommended subjects.
- The first on-the-job experience is a co-operative education placement for half a day (approximately 3 hours) in the second semester of year 3 or 4.
- The second on-the-job experience is a co-operative education placement for half a day (approximately 3 hours) in the second semester of year 4 or 5.
- Hours towards apprenticeship accumulate and practical skills or competencies are mastered and "signed off" in students' Training Standards Apprenticeship Booklet.
- Upon graduation, students can begin full-time employment without interruption to their apprenticeship training.
- Students attend a college or other training provider to fulfill the in-school portion of their apprenticeship training at specific times scheduled by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) Training Consultant.
Dual Credit Programs
Students enrolled in dual credit programs participate in apprenticeship training and post-secondary courses, earning dual credits that count toward both their high school diploma, post-secondary diploma and degree or apprenticeship certification. Students who need learning opportunities outside of high school would benefit from a college or apprenticeship experience. Students have the opportunity to:
- Earn high school credits while studying at a local college or taking apprenticeship training.
- Gain experience that will help them with their post-secondary education or apprenticeship.
- Get a head start on learning and training for their future careers.
For more information, contact your OYAP Coordinator or your high school guidance counsellor. Visit School College Work Initiative for more information on dual credit courses and programs they offer.
College Full-time Certificate Programs
Many of the Ontario's Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology offer Certificate and Diploma programs related to skilled trades. These programs require successful completion of secondary school (or equivalent) and can take between one to three years to complete.
Most programs include practical hands-on training and may include a workplace component. A college graduate in a skilled trade area may be successful in marketing themselves to an employer willing to register him/ her as an apprentice.
College Part-time Programs certificate
Many colleges offer part-time courses or programs that are geared to train individuals who wish to gain more trade specific skills but are unable to attend school on a full-time basis. By gaining trade specific skills you may be successful in marketing yourself to an employer willing to register you as an apprentice.
These programs provide training in a specific trade to help prepare for apprenticeship. They are generally fewer than 52 weeks in length. Pre-Apprenticeship Programs offer academic upgrading for candidates that do not possess their Grade 12 or equivalent, which is the academic entry level in most trades. In addition, it offers introductory theoretical and practical training, Level 1 in-school apprenticeship training in a specific trade as well as a work placement component to gain hands-on experience. Organizations offering these programs often assist with job placement. Hours spent in pre-apprenticeship training can be credited towards the overall apprenticeship training if the individual decides to sign on as an apprentice.
Additional information is available at: www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/apprentices/pre_apprent.html
Union or Industry-Approved Training
Some unions or trade associations run their own training centres and hold Contracts of Apprenticeship with the apprentice rather than the employer. Intake can be selective and may take place only at certain points in the calendar year. Visit ApprenticeSearch.com for links to unions and trade associations.
Internationally-trained Candidates/Persons with Previous Experience
If you have more than five years experience working in a trade from outside of Canada, you may want to pursue your Certificate of Qualification. For more information, refer to:
- Work in your profession or trade
- The Canadian Information Centre for Internatinal Credentials
- Becoming a Certified Tradesperson in Ontario (pdf)
Many Ontario colleges offer pre-certification courses that allow you to write or re-write your certification exam if you feel you need to update your knowledge.