Learn How to Become an Apprentice

What is an apprenticeship? 
What are the apprentice entrance requirements?
How do I become an apprentice?  How do I get started?
Can I become an apprentice if I have a disability?  Are the trades open to everyone?
What are the essential skills I need to be employed as an apprentice?
How can I find an employer to hire me?
How long do apprenticeship training programs last?
How can I get more information on the "in-school component" of apprenticeship training?

Apprenticeship Training

Apprenticeships are regulated by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities as a means of training new workers in skilled trades.  Apprenticeship training offers industry specific education by combining on the job and in-school learning experiences.

Apprenticeship Entrance Requirements

  • Candidates must be at least 16 years of age.
  • A minimum of grade 12 education is recommended with a strong foundation in math, sciences and communications.

Groundwork

  • Talk to a career counsellor; register with an employment agency where counsellors can help you to assess your skills, interests, personality traits, strengths and challenges to find a trade suitable to you. 

Other ways to gather information about the trades are through trade magazines and trade unions and associations and by conducting information interviews with people working in a trade. 

Getting Started

There are various pathways to becoming an apprentice:

  • Find an employer to hire you.  Together you and the employer register a Contract of Apprenticeship with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.  You or the employer can contact the regional office of the Ministry and request that an employment and training consultant visit the workplace.  The consultant will explain the details of the program and the roles of the apprentice and the employer, and both will sign a Contract of Apprenticeship.  After approximately one year, both you and the employer receive an Offer of Training notification for you to attend school at George Brown College.
  • If you are a Secondary School student, you can enrol in an Accelerated Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) which will allow you to start your training while completing Secondary School.  Speak to your guidance counsellor or cooperative education teacher at your secondary school.
  • George Brown College also offers two-semester, three-semester and four-semester post secondary programs which will introduce candidates to various trades.  Follow the links below to learn more about these programs which help prepare you for apprenticeship and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Construction Trades Techniques Program (T126)
Construction Techniques (T176)
Plumbing Techniques Program (T165)
Electrical Techniques Program (T167)
Building Renovation Technician Program (T110)
Carpentry and Renovation Technician (T180)
Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technician Program (T160)

Support for All

At George Brown we embrace differences, welcome everyone and are committed to promoting diversity in the trades.  In the past we have partnered with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Downtown East Community Development Collective – Regent Park, Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment, Georgina Trades Training, St. Stephens House Employment, Toronto Rape Crisis Centre, Nellie’s and Direct Energy to offer support in pre-apprenticeship programs in various trades.  Our students have included women who experienced abuse, new immigrants to Canada, residents of marginalized communities, aboriginal peoples, consumer survivors and residents of rural areas. These pre-apprenticeship programs are funded on a one time basis and are not  currently available. New opportunities will be posted here when they are announced.

George Brown College has a dedicated Disabilities Services Office at each campus.  We provide physical access to people with mobility/functional impairments.  As well, we provide accommodations to those with disabilities, mental health concerns, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Acquired Brain Injury, medical conditions (such as Epilepsy, HIV, Diabetes, Kidney Disease), and to persons who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing or who have low vision or blindness.

Employment Readiness

There are certain skills that are essential for every workplace.  These skills, Essential Employability Skills, are critical components of our programs at George Brown College.   The following list outlines these skills.  Note that at George Brown College the Apprenticeship 'In-school' Training  is offered only in the English language. 

  • Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.
  • Respond to written, spoken or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.
  • Execute mathematical operations accurately.
  • Apply a systematic approach to solve problems.
  • Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.
  • Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.
  • Locate, select, organize and document information using appropriate technology and information sources.
  • Show respect for the diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.
  • Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.
  • Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.
  • Take responsibility for one’s own actions, decisions and consequences.

Searching for Employment

Finding an employer to hire you can be challenging.  Below are a few suggestions to help you secure a job.

  • Register in a George Brown College program which has a field placement, where you can meet potential employers.
  • Talk to Wholesalers to see if they are hiring.  Working with wholesalers allows you the opportunity to meet and connect with people in a variety of different trades. 
  • Attend industry events to meet and network with tradespeople.
  • Visit construction sites to get information about the companies which have been contracted to do the work, and then phone these companies directly.
  • Enrol with an Employment Ontario agency; they offer a wealth of information and advice.
  • Start or acquire a business: work with a person near retirement and negotiate to receive a percentage of the business in lieu of higher wages, working to make it yours.  With your own business you can hire a journeyperson and make yourself the journeyperson’s apprentice as well as the owner!

Be creative! If you are willing, you will find a way.

Learn and Earn

Depending on the trade, an apprenticeship takes two to five years to complete.  The majority of training occurs on the job while being paid by an employer.  During the first year of apprenticeship, apprentices earn a minimum of forty percent of what a journeyperson mentor is paid.

In-school Apprenticeship Training Programs at George Brown College:

  • Baker / Patissier Apprentice
  • General Carpenter Apprentice
  • Construction & Maintenance Electrician Apprentice
  • Construction Millwright Apprentice 
  • Cook Apprentice Download Cook Apprenticeship Brochure (pdf*)
  • Education Assistant Apprentice
  • Industrial Mechanic (Millwright) Apprentice
  • Plumber Apprentice
  • Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Systems Mechanic Apprentice
  • Residential Air Conditioning Systems Mechanic Apprentice 
  • Sheet Metal Worker Apprentice
  • Steamfitter Apprentice

Apprenticeship in-school program scheduling information 2017/2018 PDF icon
Apprenticeship Application for Admission form PDF icon

Learn More

If you are considering an apprenticeship, we invite you to visit George Brown College in person.  By attending one of our information sessions, you can learn about the program, meet the faculty, tour our shops, and get answers to your questions.

Information Sessions

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