Pathways to apprenticeship

An apprentice is someone learning a trade while he or she is employed in that trade. Not just anyone can pursue a skilled trade; it takes interest, specific aptitude, skills and pride in your work if you are expecting a good career with a great future.

What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is a combination of paid on-the-job training, work experience and technical training in a trade. Apprentices spend about 80% of their time learning on-the-job from a qualified tradesperson. The remaining 20% is spent at a college or an approved training organization. The entire program can last from two to five years, depending on the trade.

What can I expect to receive from an Apprenticeship?

Once you have successfully completed your apprenticeship you will receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship and a Certificate of Qualification, issued by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. This is commonly called your “ticket.” A ticket means that you are a certified tradesperson who is highly skilled, and this puts you in an exceptional position for employment and top-notch wages.

— Information from the Ontario Construction Secretariat

There are many different ways to get apprenticeship training, including:

• Traditional pathway

The traditional approach to becoming an apprentice is to find an employer, union or joint apprenticeship training committee willing to teach you the trade. Once you’ve landed a job, contact the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities ( and officially register.

Read a profile: Sheet metal worker pursues family trade
• Co-Op Diploma Apprenticeship Programs allow you to get apprenticeship training while earning a college diploma. To find apprenticeship training programs at colleges across Ontario, visit

Read a profile: College co-op ticket to trade
• The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) allows high school students to learn about apprenticeship training and begin apprenticeship training while still in high school. Visit

Read a profile: OYAP helped carpenter nail down career
• The Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program helps unemployed individuals upgrade and develop the job skills which can lead to an apprenticeship.

• Ontario Skills Development. If you are unemployed and on Employment Insurance (EI) you may qualify for help with some of the costs of training, including apprenticeship training.