Why take skilled trades?

Skilled trades represent a wide range of professions that require specialized knowledge and hands-on expertise, offering students abundant opportunities for fulfilling and financially rewarding careers. These trades are integral to society, encompassing tasks from constructing vital infrastructure to providing everyday services like hairstyling and food preparation. With a persistent demand for skilled trades jobs and advancements in technology, individuals can explore various pathways into this field, including high school co-operative education programs and apprenticeships. These programs not only offer hands-on experience but also provide critical industry connections that can lead to permanent employment. Furthermore, as technology continues to evolve, the integration of new tools and techniques in these fields offers continual learning opportunities, keeping the work dynamic and engaging. This adaptability makes skilled trades a promising career choice for those interested in a combination of practical work and innovation.

Ontario faces a looming shortage of skilled trades workers

Apprenticeship programs play a crucial role in preparing individuals for successful careers in the trades by combining practical on-the-job training with classroom instruction. As Ontario faces a looming shortage of skilled trades workers, projected to reach 1.2 million, addressing this gap becomes increasingly urgent. With one in five new jobs expected to be in trades-related occupations, employers are actively seeking skilled individuals to sustain essential infrastructure and services. The skilled trades sector offers a diverse range of opportunities, categorized into compulsory and voluntary trades, allowing individuals to pursue careers aligned with their interests and abilities.

Careers in the Skilled Trades

  • Automotive service technician
  • Carpenter
  • Cook
  • Crane operator
  • Developmental services worker
  • Electrician
  • Elevating device mechanic
  • Hairstylist
  • Heavy equipment operation
  • Horticulture technician
  • Industrial mechanic millwright
  • Plumber
  • Refrigeration and air conditioning systems mechanic
  • Sheet metal worker
  • Steamfitter
  • Welder

There are 9 steps to becoming a skilled trades person from high school:

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).

Apply for an apprenticeship: In high school, contact your Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program Coordinator to arrange  the registration  with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD).

Sign a training agreement: If your application is approved, the ministry (MLTSD) will create a training agreement for you and your sponsor to sign, approve the signed agreement and register your apprenticeship training.

Register with the Provincial Regulatory Body Skilled Trades Ontario: Once your training agreement has been registered, you have 90 days to apply for membership with the Skilled Trades Ontario (formally Ontario College of Trades). You must be a member of the College to work as an apprentice.

Upon graduation from high school, notify the MLTSD if you plan to continue your apprenticeship.

Work and complete the competency booklet specific to the apprenticing trade.

When notified by the MLTSD, attend the college level in-school program. This may be 8-10 weeks in duration or one day per week. The college training may be 2 or 3 sessions, depending on the trade.

Complete the apprenticeship by attending trade school sessions and completing the competency booklet.

When notified, you may challenge the Certificate of Qualifications exam. The exam tests the apprentice's knowledge in the chosen trade. If successful, the apprentice is granted a Certificate of Qualification (C of Q).