Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship

Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship

Build a rewarding career with a skilled trade! Did you know that skilled workers are in high demand in Ontario’s rapidly changing workforce? Our employment consultant can assist you in career assessment as well as researching and choosing which trade is best for you. We can also provide information and assistance in applying for various programs available to both employers and apprentices.

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This program is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.

Getting a job in the skilled trades is just the first step in learning new technologies that will let you build a rewarding career. Jobs in skilled trades pay well and challenge your intellect and creativity. Better still, you can earn a pay cheque while you learn. Choosing a skilled trade and apprenticeship is an excellent post-secondary education option as you will have hands-on training and an opportunity to “earn while you learn”. While on an apprenticeship employers will train you to become a skilled tradesperson through on-the-job training and classroom instruction.

There are over 200 trades (both regulated and non-regulated) in Canada to choose from. Generally, these trades fall within four main categories:

  • Construction – electricians, carpenters, plumbers, pipefitters, welders, heavy equipment operators, painters, etc.
  • Motive Power – automotive service technicians, aviation technicians, automotive painters, fuel/electrical systems technicians, etc.
  • Manufacturing – tool & die makers, industrial mechanics (millwrights), precision metal fabricators, etc.
  • Service – horticulturalists, chefs, florists, etc. (see for more information).

Apprenticeship programs are regulated by provincial and territorial governments. Each province and territory is responsible for deciding whether a trade is going to be designated as compulsory or voluntary. If a trade is compulsory, the legislation will generally say that in order to work in that trade, you have to be a qualified journey person or an apprentice working under the supervision of a journeyperson. This typically comes into play in areas involving public safety (i.e. an electrician). Learn more about Regulated Trades here.

The first step to becoming an apprentice is to find a job. This is like any other job search, except that you are looking for an employer to hire you as an apprentice. When you have found a job, some provinces and territories require you to complete a probationary period before entering into an apprenticeship agreement. Apprenticeships usually begin with a period of work followed by in-school technical training sessions that are generally scheduled in each year of a three to five year period, depending on the trade. In some trades, apprenticeships begin with in-school technical training sessions. Various organizations such as trade associations, unions, and provincial governments are able to provide assistance in becoming an apprentice. More info can be found at for more information.

Ontario Apprenticeship Scholarship and Employer Signing Bonus

The $1,000 Apprenticeship Scholarship and $2,000 Employer Signing Bonus initiative encourages employers to hire, register and train an apprentice and also provides support to individuals who require upgrading to meet the academic eligibility requirements for apprenticeship training in their chosen trade. This initiative will assist employers to hire and register as apprentices, individuals who have left school prior to completing the minimum academic requirements for apprenticeship registration. Applicants must first complete their academic upgrading in order to become a registered apprentice.

Apprenticeship Scholarship – Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for an apprenticeship scholarship, the participant must:

  • Demonstrate an interest in the skilled trades/apprenticeship
  • Be unable to meet the academic eligibility requirement for the trade in which they wish to register as an apprentice.
  • Be committed to meeting the necessary academic requirements for their chosen apprenticeship program within one year.

Apprenticeship scholarships are awarded $1,000 to participants when the individual is registered for and actively upgrading; and, is employed and has a registered apprenticeship training agreement or contract with the ministry.

Apprenticeship Employer Signing Bonus for Employers – Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for a signing bonus, the employer must:

  • Meet all requirements of employers, as per section 3.4 of the ES program guidelines, and
  • Commit to a relevant apprenticeship training plan for the participant.

Signing bonuses are awarded to the employer in two payments:

  • An initial $1,000 payment when an individual’s apprenticeship training agreement or apprenticeship contract is signed/registered with the ministry; and
  • A final $1,000 payment six months from the apprenticeship signing/registration date if the apprentice is still working and training with the same employer.

The employer may also be eligible for a training incentive that can be negotiated depending on the duration of the participant apprentice’s placement with the employer and complexity of the participant’s training plan. More information may be obtained from the Employer Services section at Employment Options Emploi.

Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Links