Dear Working Wise:
I am nearly finished high school and I am interested in a career in the trades, but I can’t find anyone who will hire me as an apprentice. Do you have any advice?
Signed, Aspiring Automotive Technician
Sometimes, the hardest part of becoming a tradesperson is finding a company willing and able to hire a first-year apprentice.
Most companies recognize that they must hire and train apprentices today so they will have the journeymen they will need tomorrow, but they need journeymen today to get the work done and train apprentices.
Here are some tips to help you in your search for an apprentice position.
Search the Canada-Alberta Job Bank using the search terms “apprentice” or “helper”. Some companies will hire helpers or labourers first to see if they are a good fit before indenturing them.
Employers want apprentices who have a good attitude, follow instructions, enjoy working with their hands, are comfortable working safely around tools, and are eager to learn and contribute.
I found 150 Alberta jobs when I searched the Job Bank (www.jobbank.gc.ca) recently using the key word “apprentice”.
- Prepare a professional-looking resumé and cover letter that clearly explains your career goal and related training or experience.
- Visit businesses that hire tradespeople, drop off your resumé, and ask to speak to the supervisor. If they are not hiring, ask if they know someone who is hiring.
- Dress your best when you go out to meet employers. Be courteous and grateful for any help or advice employers provide.
- Contact the local union hall for your targeted trade – union halls often hire and employ tradespeople, including apprentices.
- Attend job fairs and talk to employers who hire tradespeople. You can find out about upcoming job fairs at: http://humanservices.alberta.ca/jobfairs.
- Talk to tradespeople you know and get their advice on finding an apprentice position. They might even know someone who is hiring.
- Check out Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training’s website for more tips and information on Alberta’s more than 50 registered trades and how to become a tradesperson.
Some trades are in higher demand than others. A quick look at the Occupational Demand and Supply Outlook 2013-2023 along with job postings on the Job Bank will give you an idea which trades hold the greatest current and future opportunity. You can find the outlook at: http://eae.alberta.ca/lmi.
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at email@example.com. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.