Pathways to ApprenticeshipPathways to Apprenticeship

The following provides a general overview of the paths into an apprenticeship in the construction trades. For specific information on hiring an apprentice in your territory or province, consult the list of Territorial and Provincial Apprenticeship Offices in Section 3.

Youth Apprenticeship

Age requirepment: 16-19 years of age.

Find an employer willing to hire you as a youth apprentice.

Register as a youth apprentice (there must be at lease one certified journeyperson as the workplace to provide direct supervision)

Work part- or full-time in the trade. (High school students may also complete co-op placement during school day.)

Complete Grade 12 or equivalent

Direct entry

Complete a one or two year program

Youth apprentices who were registered prior to Grade 12 receive credit for hours worked and skills acquired.

Registration not required for current youth apprentices.

Must be at lease once certified journeyperson per registered apprentice.

Work continues with current employer (2000 hours)

Find employer willing to hire you as an apprentice.

Register as an apprentice or youth apprentice (depending on age)

Must be at lease one certified journerperson per registered apprentice

Work approx. 2000 hours

Complete a one or two year Trades Program

Find employer willing to hire you as an apprentice

Register as an apprentice

Must be at lease one certified journeyperson per registered apprentice

Graduate of a one year program usually receive Lvel 1 technical training credits and 1000 hours

Graduates of a two year program usually receive Level 1 and 2 technical training credits and 2000 hours

Attend Level 1 technical training Attend Level 1 technical training Work approx. 2000 hours
Work approx. 2000 hours Work approx. 2000 hours
Attend Level 2 technical training (not required for graduates of a two year program)

Work approx 2000 hours

Attend Level 3 technical training

Work approx. 2000 hours

Attend Level 4 technical training (required 8000 hour trades)

Successfully challenge a Certification Qualification Examination to become a certified journeyperson. If the trade is a "Red Seal" trade, you will receive an endorsement on you Certificate of Qualification which is recognized anywhere in Canada.


Apprenticeship is an agreement between a person (an apprentice) who wants to learn a skill and an employer who needs a skilled worker. Apprenticeship combines on-the-job experience with technical classroom training. For some apprentices, especially in Quebec, the classroom training can be taken up front through the secondary school system, followed by on-the-job training.

1. Youth apprenticeship:

Youth apprentices are between the ages of 16 and 19, have already explored a designated skilled trade, and have been hired by an employer who is willing to train them as an apprentice. If an individual becomes a youth apprentice while still in high school, he or she typically works part-time in the trade after school, on the weekends and/or in the summer.

As a youth apprentice, individuals can “earn while they learn” and begin training toward a career in the trades by counting their hours of work experience toward their apprenticeship – all before they even graduate. Youth apprentices can also receive apprenticeship credit from co-op placements in a designated trade.

2. Pre-apprenticeship training:

After high school, an individual can choose to enter directly into an apprenticeship, or first complete a diploma or certificate from a community college. It's important to note that registering as an apprentice is the only way to receive certification as a journeyperson in a trade.

  • How much experience he or she has in a trade. Pre-apprenticeship programs are a great way to build on foundational skills in a trade.
  • Finding an employer to hire the individual as an apprentice. In some of the designated skilled trades, employers prefer to hire graduates of pre-apprenticeship programs.
  • Whether a relevant diploma or certificate is offered in his or her chosen trade.

Once the individual graduates and finds an employer, he or she needs to contact their provincial Apprenticeship Division. (See Section 3 for a list of territorial and provincial apprenticeship offices.) At this point, he or she will begin the apprenticeship. The individual will be accredited with some on-the-job training hours and theory training for the pre-apprenticeship program.

3. Full-time apprenticeship:

If the individual wants to train to become a journeyperson, in most provinces and territories he or she will need to become an apprentice. For most people other than youth apprentices, apprenticeships begin after completing Grade 12 or equivalent. If the individual has not graduated from Grade 12, he or she should contact the provincial or territorial Apprenticeship Division to receive more information about how to build for his or her success as an apprentice.

To become an apprentice, an individual will need to find an employer that will hire him or her, and that is willing and able to train him or her in the trade. The employer will agree to train the individual on the job for approximately 85% of the time with a journeyperson mentor, and release him or her to take theory training for the remaining 15% of the time.

The individual will be paid throughout all of the apprenticeship training. There is a minimal fee that the individual will need to pay to register as an apprentice and for the theory courses. After each set of theory courses is completed and the individual returns to the employer, his or her pay as an apprentice increases. Apprenticeships in the designated skilled trades can last for up to five years.

After the individual has completed all of the requirements in the chosen trade, he or she is eligible to write the journeyperson certification exam. After passing this exam, the individual becomes a journeyperson in the chosen trade.