Essential Skills
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  Student, above, takes part in a pre-apprenticeship program in Manitoba.

Apprenticeship: What's involved?

The 5 steps to becoming an apprentice

Last time we looked at some frequently asked questions about apprenticeship. This time we'll outline the stages involved in the apprenticeship process.

What is the apprenticeship process?
Apprenticeship can be outlined in five major steps:

Step 1: Choosing a trade
Choosing a trade begins by evaluating skills and interests and determining the trade that is most fulfilling.  Apprenticeship Coordinators can help potential apprentices to discover their hidden talents with personality and skill assessments. There are also online assessments that will help determine the best trade for the individual.

Step 2: Education: High school's a good place to start
High school is a good time to start planning for an apprenticeship. High schools offer co-op programs to provide some basic skills and hands-on training in the skilled trades. The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program also offers students a chance to get a jump start on their apprenticeship.

Also most post secondary institutions offer pre-apprenticeship training which offers basic skills essential for trades to individuals who have completed high school but are looking for some training before entering an apprenticeship. It is best to have completed Grade 12, since employers prefer it and apprentices with their Grade 12 have more success in technical training.

Step 3: Employment
In order to enter an apprenticeship individuals must connect with an employer who is willing to sponsor them. Searching for an apprenticeship job is like any other, it’s time to start knocking on doors, making phone calls and sending out resumes. ASETS apprenticeship coordinators can help potential apprentices on their road to employment by connecting them with employers looking for apprentices. In addition to arranging contacts, apprenticeship coordinators can provide advice and tips on making it through the interview and beefing up resumes to make individuals more attractive to potential employers.

It is important to get experience in a trade. People usually work 3-6 months in a trade before getting apprenticed. During this time individuals evaluate their interest in the trade and other tradespeople are gauging their suitability to work in that trade.

Step 4: Registering 
Once an employer agrees to sponsor someone, the individual must register as an apprentice. The ASETS apprenticeship coordinator can arrange the paperwork with the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities (MTCU) to set them up as an apprentice. Through the ASETS, the MTCU will provide the apprentice with a training schedule and arrange for in class training.

Step 5: The Learning Process
Now the apprentice is on the road to a prosperous career.  Throughout the apprenticeship the individual will learn hands-on skills as well as technical skills at an appropriate post secondary institution. The learning process continues until they have completed the requirements needed to receive journeyperson certification.
Over 80% of learning is done on the job. Technical in–class training occurs during the apprenticeship.

Next time we'll look at some of the benefits of becoming an apprentice. And check out our website's Apprenticeship pages.

(Info above from the Aboriginal Apprenticeship Board of Ontario.)

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