What you Need to Know About Apprenticeships in Ontario

All the information below can be found on Ontario.ca’s website: https://www.ontario.ca/page/start-apprenticeship

You can talk to any one of our Employment Coaches to help you better understand this process, the benefits, and what your action plan could be.

First of all, what is an apprenticeship?

According to Ontario.ca, this is how apprenticeships work:

“As an apprentice, you learn a skilled trade on the job. You work with and learn from experienced workers, and get paid while you do it.

You also learn in a classroom from instructors who know the trade. This may take place on a college campus or in a union training centre.

For most trades, you work for a year and then switch to studying in class for eight to 12 weeks, either full or part-time. It takes between two to five years to complete an apprenticeship.”

Where do I start?

  1. Find out if you qualify. To qualify for an apprenticeship, you must:
    • be at least 16 years of age
    • have legal permission to work in Canada (for example, have a valid social insurance number)
    • meet the educational requirements for your chosen trade
    • have a sponsor in Ontario
  2. Find an employer or sponsor. A sponsor is someone who provides you with apprenticeship training. A sponsor can be a single employer, individual (for example, a contractor) or a group of employers (for example, unions or non-union consortiums). How to find a sponsor:
    • Guidance counsellor: If you’re in high school, ask your guidance counsellor for advice and referrals for the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and other programs (Specialist High Skills Majordual credit program.)
    • Colleges: Most colleges have a placement office, or can direct students to a career centre to help find apprenticeship opportunities.
    • Online: Visit the job bank to post your resume and availability for an apprenticeship in your chosen trade.
    • Employment Ontario (EO): EO offers employment services and training opportunities, like matching apprentices to sponsors.
    • Unions or trade associations: Many trades have unions or associations with resources to find and match apprentices to sponsors.
    • Local companies: Research local companies in the skilled trades. Try your local online resources, newspapers, or other directories.
    • Your network: ask around to see if anyone you know is in the skilled trades and if they are hiring or know someone who is hiring.
  3. Apply for an apprenticeship if you’re 18 years old or older. You can apply online. You must complete the application in one session. It takes about 10 minutes to complete. Before you begin the application process, make sure you have this information handy:
    • your information
      • social insurance number (SIN)
      • full mailing address
      • email address
        (The ministry will send notices about your apprenticeship training to this email address.)
    • sponsor’s information
      • full legal name (often different than the business name)
      • full mailing address
      • business phone number
    • sponsor contact person’s information
      • first and last name
      • phone number
      • email address
    • work arrangement details
    • save the application to your computer
    • fill out the application
    • print the application and sign it
    • get your parent or guardian and your sponsor to sign it
    • mail (or submit it in-person) the completed, signed application to your local Employment Ontario apprenticeship training office. We will review your application and let your sponsor know whether or not your application was approved. Note: You can change your sponsor later.
  4. Sign a training agreement: If your application is approved, the ministry will:
    • create a training agreement for you and your sponsor to sign
    • approve the signed agreement
    • register your apprenticeship training
  5. Register with the Ontario College of TradesOnce your training agreement has been registered, you have 90 days to apply for membership with the Ontario College of Trades.You must be a member of the College to work as an apprentice.Download the application form and read the application guide for apprentices to learn how to apply (PDF).

How to Earn Your Certificate of Qualification

What is a Certificate of Qualification (C of Q)?

certificate of qualification proves that a person is qualified to work in a certain skilled trade in Canada. This means that they: have passed a certification exam. meet all the requirements to practice their trade in that province or territory (Government of Canada, Eligibility to apply for the Federal Skilled Trades Program, 2021).

What is the Ontario College of Trades? 

The College is responsible for regulating skilled trades across Ontario.

What are regulated professions and trades? 

Some professions and trades are regulated in Canada to protect public health and safety.

In some professions and trades it is illegal to work or even use the title of the profession or trade if you are not registered with the regulatory body. In other professions and trades, you can do the work, but you must register with the regulatory body if you want to use the title of the profession or trade.

In Canada, professions and trades are regulated in each province. There are regulatory bodies – organizations that control licences and certificates – in each province. If you get a licence or certificate, it is valid in 1 province. If you move to another province, you have to apply for a licence or certificate again.

Find more information here.

From the Ontario College of Trades FAQ:

When do I write the C of Q exam?
If your trade requires a C of Q exam, you are eligible to write the exam after you have completed an
Ontario apprenticeship training program, or after you have been approved through the College’s Trade
Equivalency Assessment (TEA) process.

Do I need to pass the C of Q exam to legally work in my trade?
If your trade is designated as compulsory, you must pass the C of Q exam to legally work in the trade. For
exceptions to this rule, please visit the College’s website.
If your trade is designated as voluntary, you are not required to pass the C of Q exam to work in the trade.

Why should I write the C of Q exam if it’s not mandatory?
There are many benefits to obtaining your C of Q, even if it’s not legally required. Obtaining your C of Q
shows you are qualified in your trade by having the skills, knowledge and experience that meet industry
standards in Ontario, and across Canada. In addition, C of Q holders experience better employment
prospects, wages, mobility and advancement opportunities, as well as appear on the College’s Public

What is the C of Q exam format?
C of Q exam questions are multiple-choice. Exams have between 90 to 150 questions with each question
having four answer options to choose from. You will have up to four hours to write you C of Q exam.

What does the C of Q exam test?
Exam questions test your knowledge and competency related to the tasks in the Training Standard for
your trade. For Red Seal trades you are tested on your knowledge and competency related to the National
Occupational Analyses (NOA). Both the Training Standard and the NOA describe trade terminology and
concepts, and why and how a task is done.

What grade do I need to achieve to pass the C of Q exam?
You need to score at least 70 per cent to pass the C of Q exam.

How should I prepare for the C of Q exam?
The College has developed an Exam Preparation Guide to help you prepare for your C of Q exam. The
Exam Preparation Guide contains a wealth of information including specialized supports, exam
preparation resources, information on study plans, exam day tips and requirements, self-assessment
checklists, getting your results and more. Please use and refer to this guide as part of your C of Q exam

How do I schedule my C of Q exam?

  1. Contact the College at 1-855-299-0028 to confirm your eligibility to write the exam and to pay
    your $150+HST exam fee.
  2. Schedule your C of Q exam by contacting your local Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
    Apprenticeship Office.

The Manufacturing Sector Across Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford County

The aforementioned survey responses can lead us to comfortably assume that the manufacturing sector is currently stable and optimistic for job seekers.

The Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board conducts the annual EmployerOne survey for local employers to identify their workforce needs. The EmployerOne 2021 resulted in 63 responses from businesses who identified themselves to be in the manufacturing sector. The majority of manufacturing businesses identified themselves as an established business, meaning they’ve been established for longer than five years.

Chart 1

The manufacturing responses in the EmployerOne2021 would lead us to believe that the manufacturing sector remains active during COVID-19. When asked to assess the impact of telework or remote work on their business, the most common response reported was a “neutral” impact. Given the nature of manufacturing work, we can already assume that manufacturing can rarely be done remotely. Furthermore, when asked what percentage of their workforce did they expect to continue working remotely once the pandemic was over, the majority of manufacturing businesses reported “None.” Out of the 59 manufacturing employers who responded to the question “Did you hire within the last 12 months?”, 55 businesses responded “Yes” (Chart 1). Of the responding manufacturing employers who hired within the last 12 months, 53 of the 55 respondents selected that they hired someone for permanent full-time, averaging at 14 full-time hirees per employer, and 758 total full-time permanent hirees in total (Chart 2). The aforementioned survey responses can lead us to comfortably assume that the manufacturing sector is currently stable and optimistic for job seekers.

Chart 2

But what do job seekers need to be successful? One way to approach this question is to hear what employers identify as their greatest challenges. One of the challenges commonly identified by manufacturing employers was “Recruiting and retaining skilled individuals.” MYFuture intends to bridge this gap through employer informed training with a focus on fulfilling employer needs. 

In a MYFuture meeting with our partnered employers and advisory committee on April 30, 2021, the employers identified that they desire employees with 80% soft skills and 20% hard skills. The employers identified dependability, attitude and verbal communication as the three most important soft skills for their hirees. What are soft skills? Check out our other blog post and 5 minute YouTube video, “Why You Should Care About Soft Skills” here.