Ontario Construction Careers Alliance
Apprenticeship Steps
1. Explore your career options with a trained career counsellor

Career counsellors have information, resources and tools to help you make a decision.
Counsellors are available to meet with students to:

  • Assess your transferable skills, interests, personality, strengths, talents, weaknesses and abilities
  • Match your strengths and weaknesses with a suitable career

Understanding your strengths, abilities and interests are required to make a wise career choice. Skilled trades are not for everyone. Each trade requires specific skills and interests. Start by learning about yourself and discover which trade is best suited for you.

2. Research!

Gather relevant information about the trade or trades that interest you before pursuing an apprenticeship. It is important to your success to do some background research on the following:

  • Education Requirements
  • Training
  • Pre-apprenticeship courses
  • Time required to complete an apprenticeship
  • Wages
  • Educational costs
  • Cost of tools
  • Present and future employability outlook
  • Work environment
  • Challenges of the trade
  • Unionized vs. Non-unionized
  • Life-long learning opportunities

Techniques to help research your trade:

Information Interviews Speak to someone working in a trade, company or career of interest to gain current information and an inside point of view. The goal is to obtain information and advice about the trade and tradesperson’s experience.

Who to contact
Talk to family and friends, our counsellors for names of individuals that you can contact. Look for contacts on your own by using the following resources:

  • Yellow Pages
  • Business Directories
  • Unions/associations
  • Articles in the newspapers
  • Trade magazines
  • Web

What to Ask
First start by explaining who you are, what grade you are in, and what your interests are. Tell your contact that you are interested in finding more information out about full time positions and apprenticeship programs. You want to ask questions about what they do in their position, how they got started in the industry and why. Think of what other questions you would like answers to.

3. Create an action plan:

Your action plan will help you get from point A to point B. Individuals who set specific, realistic and attainable goals generally experience great success. Some Factors to consider while creating your plan:

  • Training timelines
  • Upgrading current education
  • Cost of tools and training
  • Financial and family situation
  • Time required to complete apprenticeship

Items to help assist you with your job search:
  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Networking Card-contains contact information in case you do not have your resume on you
  • Portfolio-is an expanded resume, explaining your strengths, achievements and abilities in a visual format
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Transcripts from courses
  • Pictures of any work you have completed-hobbies, volunteering or work experience
  • Anything else you want to demonstrate your abilities

4. Search for an employer to sponsor you

A complete search for an apprenticeship includes exploring many avenues. The following are some ideas to help you find employment opportunities:

Apprentice Search
Check out the apprentice search website that matches people looking for apprenticeship training and employers offering apprenticeships. You can create a profile, post your resume and apply for apprenticeships all on line.

Cold Calling
Cold calls help you tap into many positions that may go unadvertised. Either call or go in person, cold calls are made to a person who is not expected to hear from you and does not know who you are.

By talking and connecting with people who are involved with the industry/trade you would like to become a part of, you are able to hear about unadvertised opportunities. Well over half of all job opportunities are filled via word of mouth rather than through advertisement. Once you make a contact, make sure to leave your information with them so they can call you regarding an opportunity.

Informal Interviews
Performing an information interview will give you more exposure to the trade and increase the number of contacts you have.

Job postings in local newspapers
Remember that only 3-5% of jobs are ever advertised. Therefore, you need to make sure to check other resources as well.

There are many job search sites on the internet that employers post opportunities. Check out the list below:

5. Ensure both your resume and interview skills are first class

Both your resume and interview create a first impression to an employer. You need to stand apart from others and market your strengths, skills, experience and interests.

Tips for creating a resume:
  • Underline words in a job description that match your skills
  • Place in order the skills that are most important to the job being advertised
  • Remember to include any job or volunteer experience that you have
  • Include an area on your resume that highlights your hobbies and interests

6. Follow up

Remain in touch with the employer by phone, email or person. Many people are afraid of being too forward but this is an important part of job searching and most employers welcome the call. Calling to ensure an employer has received your resume or just to show you are interested can go a long way.

7. Be patient

Looking for an apprenticeship can be a long, difficult process that can take months. Don’t get discouraged if you do not hear back from an employer right away.

8. What’s next when an employer wants to sponsor you?

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities have set up sets for an apprenticeship to follow to continue the process:

  • Either you or the employer must contact the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities at their nearest location
  • An employment and training consultant (ETC) from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities will complete the required training agreement to register you as an apprentice
  • Both you and the employer must sign the apprenticeship training agreement
  • Complete required on the job training

9. Training

While on the job, you will complete the skills outlined in your training standard/schedule of training and or the number of hours set out by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

You will need to:
  • Complete the offer of training letter provided by the MTCU
  • Register at the training facility and pay the classroom fee to attend the in-school training
  • Attend and complete the in-school training-approximately 10% of your time is spent in formal schooling
  • Apply for the completion incentives

10. Certification

In order to become certified, you must:

  • Complete all in-school training hours as outlined and the competencies in your training standard or schedule of training
  • Contact your Employment and Training Consultant and apply for your certification of apprenticeship
  • To obtain journeyperson status, contact MTCU to book the certification of Qualification Exam
  • Certification in a compulsory or restricted trade? You are required to renew your certification every three years. Refer to the back of your wallet card or contact the Employment Ontario Certification Branch at 1-800-448-9656.

Designed by Halton Industry Education Council
Revised by Ontario Construction Careers Alliance