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Apprenticeship Overview


Apprenticeship Overview

Apprenticeship training has become very a popular career choice since Academy Canada opened our trades division in 2000.  Today about 50% of our students are studying one of our apprenticeship programs and then going on to amazing careers in the construction sector - locally as well as across Canada and abroad.

Academy Canada currently offers accredited Apprenticeship training in the following trades:

  • Automotive Service Technician (Entry)
  • Baker (Entry)
  • Carpenter (Entry)
  • Construction/Industrial Electrician (Entry)
  • Cook (Entry)
  • Hairstylist
  • Insulator (Heat & Frost) (Entry)
  • Motor Vehicle Body Repairer (Entry)
  • Plumber (Entry)
  • Steamfitter/Pipefitter (Entry)
  • Welder (Entry)

What is Apprenticeship?

The Apprenticeship System is a formalized, industry-based program that is managed by provincial governments but ultimately leads towards a national certification that is recognized across Canada and around the world.  The system relies on an agreement between a person (an apprentice) who wants to learn a skill, a college that can deliver the required education and an employer who needs a skilled worker. Apprenticeship combines technical classroom training with on-the-job experience to create quality, well-prepared tradespeople for the workforce of the future. 

The concept of apprenticeship, as a form of instruction, has existed for thousands of years.  The craft guilds, which developed in the 7th and 8th Centuries, formalized the apprenticeship system and had it recognized as the primary means for people to acquire skills for almost all occupations.  In 19th century Canada, apprenticeship training was primarily carried on by the skilled tradesmen who emigrated from Europe.  Initially, the training was sporadic and not well organized.  As Canada became industrialized, however, it was necessary to develop a formal apprenticeship program that has led to what we enjoy today. 

Apprenticeship is currently managed under provincial legislation and is being practiced in several hundred trades.  The provinces have established a co-operative Interprovincial Standards Program to provide national acceptance of certification.  Apprenticeship is founded on a contractual relationship between an employee and an employer in which the organization agrees to provide opportunities for the apprentice to learn the skills required for a trade under the supervision of someone already qualified in the trade.  This on-the-job training is combined with regular, extensive in-school instruction.

Each trade follows a structured training curriculum/plan.   The majority of the apprenticeship actually takes place in the workplace with important blocks of training completed at career colleges like Academy Canada.  The apprentice’s progress is monitored by the Director of Apprenticeship in each province. This person also certifies the successful completion of the training by issuing a “Certificate of Qualification” (Journeyperson Certificate).

In NL, individuals entering an apprenticeship trade typically begin by completing a 9 month* “Entry-Level” training program at one of 12 provincial colleges (including Academy Canada).  The programs are designed by the provincial government and provide students with the fundamental skills needed to work in the occupation.  Once the Entry-Level program is completed and the student gets their first job working under the supervision of a Journeyperson, they register as an Apprentice and get full credit for the time they spent in school.   Apprentices are generally paid a prescribed percentage of the certified journeyperson’s wage, with regular increases throughout the apprenticeship period

After accumulating the required number of hours of work Apprentices are called back to school for a series of 8 week “Advanced Training Blocks” followed by on-the-job experience.  Once the apprentice has done all blocks of training and work, they are eligible to write their Interprovincial Journeyperson exam.   It typically takes 3-5 years of in-school training plus work experience to become eligible to write the Journeyperson exam. 

When an apprentices successfully completes the Interprovincial exam, they have the legal right to work as a fully-qualified tradesperson (also known as a “Journeyperson”) across Canada and abroad.  This will allow them to earn better employment prospects, higher pay, more independence and greater labor mobility.

The NL Apprenticeship system is managed by the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills, and Labour (AESL) with considerable input from the Provincial Apprenticeship & Certification Board (PACB). This is a government agency that is tasked with certifying programs, developing plans of training (program content), accrediting colleges and administering the overall apprenticeship system.  Their direction is carried out by staff at the Department of AESL based upon the advice of the PACB.    

The PACB relies heavily on input from Occupational Advisory Committees that provide technical guidance and advice.  James Loder (Academy Canada Director) is currently a member of the PACB.  Several Academy Canada Instructors serve as Advisory Committee members. 

*note:  while the majority of programs are 9 months, there are some (ie Insulator (Heat & Frost) that are actually shorter. 

As well, there are alternative ways for a person with considerable experience in a particular trade to proceed through the Apprenticeship program. 

Details on the Trade Qualifier and Direct Entry route are available from the campus or by visiting here.