Test Out A Trade In A Pre-Apprenticeship Program


If you’re considering a career in the skilled trades but aren’t quite ready to dive headfirst into an apprenticeship, consider trying a pre-apprenticeship program first.

These programs are a great way to expose yourself to the trade, gain work experience and earn some basic certifications before committing to being a full-on apprentice.

Benefits of a pre-apprenticeship:

  • Develop your skills and knowledge of the trade
  • Prepare yourself for employment
  • Explore a potential trade you aren’t sure about but have an interest in
  • Upgrade your academics – some programs focus on a specific knowledge area and offer further courses to build up your knowledge before entering a full-time placement

How to get involved:

First and foremost, contact your local apprenticeship office to find out which pre-apprenticeship programs are offered in your area. Information will differ depending on what province you’re situated in.

The following are a few examples of different types of programs offered in Canada:

Employment Ontario

Ontario’s Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program offers programs up to 52 weeks in duration which consist of both in-class training sessions and a work placement.

Who is eligible:

  • High school graduates
  • Unemployed/underemployed youth and adults
  • Aboriginal peoples
  • Newcomers to Canada

How to participate:

This program is run through various organizations in Ontario, including colleges, community agencies and approved apprenticeship deliverers. Applications are to be submitted directly through these organizations.

To find out who is hosting pre-apprenticeship programs in 2013, contact the ministry.

Pre-Apprenticeship Training Institute (Ontario)

This institution emerged in 2006 upon recognition of the need for higher education in the technical field. The Pre-Apprenticeship Training Institute offers training in various trades including Plumbing, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanics, Carpentry and Network Cabling.

Who is eligible:

  • Men and women between the ages of 21-45 who are looking for access to high-paying technical jobs

How to participate:

If you’re interested in beginning the application process, contact Student Services to book an appointment with a Training Consultant. Beyond that, you’ll need to submit a resume, complete three on-site tests and provide two reference letters.

Pre-Apprenticeship/Pre-Employment (Manitoba)

Prospective apprentices may prepare for apprenticeship training by enrolling in an accredited trade program offered at various Manitoba colleges, training centres and high schools.

For example, Assiniboine Community College and Red River College offer Pre-Employment Electrician programs.

These programs only offer technical/in-school training that can be credited towards an apprenticeship program upon completion.

For a full list of accredited programs, visit the Apprenticeship Manitoba website.

Trade Secrets Registered Apprenticeship Program (Alberta)

The Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) is a way for high school students to get apprenticeship experience while simultaneously earning credits toward their high school diploma. Can’t afford it? There are scholarships of up to $1000 available to students participating in RAP.

Who is eligible:

  • High school students
  • Students enrolled in Career and Technology Studies can start out with a more advanced standing in the program

How to participate:

Find an employer willing to take you on as their pre-apprentice, and then submit an application and contract to your new employer.

What comes after a pre-apprenticeship?

Completing a pre-apprenticeship program puts you at a big advantage in terms of landing a long-term apprenticeship with an employer. Knowing you have the hands-on experience, safety training and necessary skill-sets already in place will make your resume that much stronger (and will make you that much more employable)!

Skilled Trades Week on TalentEgg featuring jobs and apprenticeships from Teck Resources, CN, SGS and Molson Coors

Photo credit: U.S. Pacific Fleet

About the author

Leah Ruehlicke works in video production, living in a tiny apartment in Toronto with bad water pressure and an amazing book collection. Follow her on @LeahRuehlicke.