An apprenticeship is a form of post-secondary education that combines paid, work-based training (about 80%), with technical training in a classroom or shop setting (about 20%, 4‑to-12-week periods). Successful completion of both on-the-job and in-classroom training hours, along with examinations, is required to earn a certificate to become a journeyperson. The length of an apprenticeship can range from one to five years, depending on the trade and the provincial or territorial requirements.

Every success story begins with a big dilemma: choosing your trade. By understanding your options, you will be able to visualize your future in the trades. Evaluate your interests and skills and take an informed decision. Once you visualize your future, get registered with NWAC's NAP and apply for apprenticeship opportunities in our Job Board within your region. The employer will register the contract with the provincial or territorial jurisdiction to track your progress.

Please refer to our external links section in “Explore the Trades”, select your region and access the external links under financial resources for information on provincial and territorial grants, scholarships, federal grants, and tax credits.

The Certificate of Qualification is a document issued by the province or territory to a person who has met the standards of the trade, by writing and passing the certification examination for that specific trade. By obtaining a certification, you become a journeyperson and be recognized as a professional in your trade in your province or territory. A Red Seal endorsement will be affixed to the Certificate of Qualification for the person who successfully challenges the Red Seal exam. A Red Seal certificate allows the holder to work across Canada where the trade is designated without having to write further examinations. 

A journeyperson is someone who has acquired the knowledge and skills in a trade and has obtained a Certificate of Qualification by a provincial or territorial authority in Canada. A journeyperson can become a mentor to train new apprentices in the trade.

The salary depends on the trade and employer, as some trades earn more money per hour than others. As you gain experience your wage increases. As you progress through the levels of apprenticeship, your pay will increase accordingly. Depending on the trade, you can expect to earn 50 to 80 per cent of a certified journeyperson’s wage.

Yes. Your hours of training would be recorded in your record book, so you can continue your apprenticeship with a different employer. It is necessary to notify your local apprenticeship authority about this change. All the training documentation is required from previous employers to verify the required skills have been obtained by the apprentice.

You will have to attempt it again. There is no set timeline to complete your apprenticeship. Your employer could help you develop a work training plan to address the issues of difficulty.

Apprentices are always encouraged to complete high school, as it increases the chances of being hired as well as successfully completing technical training in the classroom. However, there are certain trades that only require Grade 10 or 12. Check out NWAC's NAP’s Trade Cards to know what the entry requirements are based on your chosen trade and provincial or territorial apprenticeship authority’s conditions.

If you are currently in High School, pre-apprenticeship training and youth apprenticeship programs are available in some regions. You would be learning skills in a trade and earning school credits at the same time. As you work, you will earn wages, high school credit and on-the-job apprenticeship hours for a head-start towards journeyperson certification after high school.

Although you do not earn a salary during the school portion of the apprenticeship program, you may qualify for income support. Some apprentices can receive Employment Insurance benefits if they are eligible.

A technical program, which relates to the designated trade, might qualify for some hours of experience. Your apprenticeship hours can also be adjusted to reflect past work experience and skills.

Pre-apprenticeship programs offer academic upgrading for candidates that do not possess Grade 12 or equivalent, entry level in most trades. They offer introductory training and knowledge in a specific trade to help prepare for apprenticeship and are generally fewer than 52 weeks in length. Hours spent in pre-apprenticeship training can be credited towards your future apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship training and trade qualifications in Canada are governed by the provincial and territorial jurisdictions, that determine the trades, for which, apprenticeship training is made available as well as the trades, for which, certificates are granted.

Being “Designated” by the jurisdiction means that there are regulated standards for journeyperson certification in the trade. A “Compulsory” trade requires government certification of those engaged in the trade. When a trade is deemed compulsory, it requires you to be registered as an apprentice or you must be a certified journeyperson to work in the trade. A “Voluntary” trade means that workers do not have to be registered apprentices or certified journeypersons in order to work in the trade.

The income tax Tradesperson’s Tool Deduction provides employed apprentices with a tax deduction of up to $500 to help cover the cost of new tools necessary for their trade.

Every apprentice is issued a record book (also logbook or blue book) that outlines the skills and tasks they are required to learn as part of their on-the-job training. All tracked job training hours and experience must be verified and signed-off on by the apprentice, journeyperson (mentor) and employer. The record book is submitted by the apprentice once a year to the provincial/territorial authority to track the progress and completion of the apprenticeship program.

As the employer/sponsor, you are responsible for training an apprentice on the skills set out in the Apprenticeship Training Standard Log Book. The journeyperson mentors the apprentice by providing appropriate training, supervision and honest feedback. A journeyperson must have a desire to teach and to play a critical role in training the future workforce; the ability to transfer knowledge and to maintain willingness to support the apprentice. In potential journeyperson mentors, employers look for traits such as leadership skills, teaching abilities, a willingness to work with young people, and an ability to manage time constraints and workload.

An employer (with 499 or fewer paid employees) can sponsor an apprentice and provide hands-on training for a designated Red Seal trade through the NAP. The first step before hiring an apprentice is to make sure you have the capacity for it. You must have the facilities and equipment to adequately transfer skills to the apprentice. Trades workplaces can be gender-biased when it comes to basic needs like uniforms, washrooms, and appropriate tools. You must choose the right journeyperson to mentor the apprentice and make sure to allow time to attend classroom training as part of the program. You must meet any regulations applying to your trade, such as wage rates and ratios.

The employer will need to confirm to the apprenticeship authority in their jurisdiction that the apprentice has completed training. This could be done in the form of a letter, signing off the apprenticeship training standard logbook or by filling the Apprenticeship Completion Form.

You must first obtain a certain number of hours of industry experience in that trade through your apprenticeship. When you complete the required hours, you can apply to challenge the certification exam in your trade.