An apprenticeship training program is a combination of 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 rest of the time is spent taking technical training, usually at a college or technical institution.
- While they attend technical training, apprentices may be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) or student grants (based on need). Apprentices may also be eligible for scholarships of up to $1,000 each. Visit tradesecrets.alberta.ca for more information.
From day 1, apprentices earn a salary for their time on the job. Apprenticeship training programs last from 1 to 4 years, depending on the trade.
RAP for high school students
High school students can earn credits toward both an apprenticeship program and a high school diploma through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP). There are 500 annual scholarships of $1,000 each available to RAP apprentices.
For more information, talk to a school counsellor, check out the Apprenticeship and Industry Training publication or visit the nearest Apprenticeship and Industry Training office. You may also call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free in Alberta 1-877-644-9992.
Register for apprenticeship training in Alberta
Follow these 3 easy steps.
1. Choose a trade
Check the list of apprenticeship trades in Alberta at Tradesecrets and narrow your choices down to those trades that interest you. Talk to people who work in these trades and ask them questions. Talk to employers, too. You may be able to job shadow someone to see what their typical day-to-day work is like.
For more information on specific apprenticeship trades, visit OCCinfo.
2. Find an employer
You must be employed to become an apprentice. Thousands of employers hire and train apprentices.
The Canada Job Bank lists apprenticeship job postings in Alberta, as do private job boards like Indeed and Workopolis. You should also check with your local trade union about employment opportunities.
Once you have an employer, apply online at MyTradeSecrets and attach required documentation (certificates, transcripts, etc.).
What you need to know
The apprenticeship application and contract is a legal agreement between you and your employer. It outlines the responsibilities for both of you during your apprenticeship program:
- You commit to completing your technical and on-the-job training requirements.
- Your employer commits to paying you a certain percentage of the journeyperson wage, increasing your pay as you progress through training. Your employer also agrees to train you on-the-job while allowing you time to attend technical training.
Technical training generally involves attending annual classroom sessions that are 4 to 12 weeks long. In some trades, technical training delivery options such as distance learning, weekly apprenticeship training (you attend classes once a week) or on-the-job-site training are available. You'll need to pay tuition fees for your training and purchase course supplies.
As an apprentice, you accumulate hours on the job and advance through technical training until you have mastered your trade. When you have completed your apprenticeship training requirements, you become an Alberta-certified journeyperson.
You may be able to write an Interprovincial Standards Program exam to earn a Red Seal on your journeyperson certificate. This credential is recognized in other Canadian provinces and territories where your trade is designated, without further examinations.