What’s an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is a post-secondary pathway that leads to certification in a skilled trade. 80% of an apprentice’s time is spent on-the-job training where aspects of a chosen trade are learned directly from a certified journeyperson. The remaining 20% is spent in technical training which is delivered at a college, vocational school or union training centre.

Earn while you learn!

This is a unique feature of apprenticeship. As a registered apprentice, you are in fact, an employee and will be paid while you are on the job learning. This means, much less student debt and an increase in wages as you move through each level of your apprenticeship.

Common Apprenticeship Terms



An apprentice is a paid employee who works under the supervision of a certified journeyperson to learn the skills of their trade. Approximately 80% of their time is spent on the job and 20% in technical training. An apprentice must be registered with the regional apprenticeship authority and fulfill all requirements established by their province or territory. Apprentices often qualify for financial supports, including Employment Insurance while in school.


A journeyperson has completed all training requirements to be certified and has passed a certification exam. They may act as a mentor to a registered apprentice in addition to working in their trade. As mentors, they provide opportunities for their apprentice to complete the tasks required at each level of the apprenticeship program and will sign-off when these competencies are achieved. They play an important role in developing apprentice skill sets.



Skilled Trades

The skilled trades encompass a broad range of hands-on occupations in four main sectors: construction, manufacturing, motive power and service. There are more than 300 skilled trades occupations recognized across Canada, though not all trades are designated in every province or territory. Contact the apprenticeship authority in your region to learn more about apprentice-able trades in your province or territory.

Apprenticeship Authorities

Each province and territory in Canada has a regulatory system that administers apprenticeship training for the skilled trades. These authorities determine the educational requirements, program length, competencies and processes for undertaking an apprenticeship in their region. Authorities uphold program standards, preside over examinations and issue Certificates of Qualification.



Log Book

A log book is often provided by the apprenticeship authority when an apprentice is registered. The log book outlines the skills associated with the skilled trade. As an apprentice develops new skills, their journeyperson mentor signs to indicate that the competency has been achieved, providing a record of the apprentice’s progress. Hours worked are also recorded. While the log book is traditionally paper-based, electronic versions may be available.

Red Seal Program

The Interprovincial Red Seal Program is a national standard of excellence. Established to ensure certified tradespeople were mobile across Canada, the Red Seal is now recognized by employers as an indication that a journeyperson has met a common standard of knowledge and experience in their trade. The Red Seal is an endorsement to the provincial/territorial certificate of qualification provided upon passing the Red Seal exam with a score of at least 70%.