Dear Working Wise:
I'm thinking about getting into the trades, but I'm not sure how to do that? How do I find a job as an apprentice? Signed Ready to Trade Jobs
The trades are an excellent career option for many reasons.
First, as an apprentice, you spend about 80 per cent of your time earning a wage while you learn on the job from a qualified tradesperson. First-year apprentices earn about half of a journeyman's wage.
As you take more training and get more experience, your pay increases. You spend the remainder of your time taking technical training at a college or technical institution. Apprenticeship programs can last anywhere from one to four years, depending on the trade.
Second, the trades are rewarding. Tradespeople tend to earn good wages plus they have the opportunity to move up into management roles. Many tradespeople also go on to teach apprentices or open their own businesses.
Third, tradespeople are eligible for grants of $1,000 per year for completing their first and second years. They are also eligible for a $2,000 Apprenticeship Completion Grant plus a $500 per year tools deduction on their tax return.
Fourth, there are so many career options within the trades that you are bound to find something you really like. The trades are not limited to Plumbers and Electricians. In Alberta, there are 50 different trades you can apprentice in from Appliance Service Technician to Chef to Well-testing Services Supervisor. For a complete list, check out: http://tradesecrets.alberta.ca.
How to get started
1. Pick your trade. Get as much information as you can about your choices from the Internet, school career counselors, tradespeople you know, or your nearest Apprenticeship and Industry Training Office.
2. Find an employer who will hire you as an apprentice. Getting a job as an apprentice is no different than finding any other job. You can also contact the local union hall for your chosen trade and they might be able to hire you.
3. Apply. Once you have a job, you and your employer need to complete an Apprenticeship Training Application / Contract and return it to the nearest office of the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Branch.
Tips for finding a job as an Apprentice:
· Prepare a professional-looking resumé and cover letter that explains your career goal.
· Dress your best when you go out to meet employers.
· Be courteous and grateful for any help or advice employers provide.
· Search job postings and job boards like the Canada-Alberta Job Bank http://www.jobbank.gc.ca/intro-eng.aspx using the keyword “apprentice”.
· Check with your local union hall about employment opportunities;
· Attend job fairs and talk to employers who hire tradespeople. You can find out about upcoming job fairs at http://humanservices.alberta.ca/jobfairs.
· Visit your nearest Alberta Works office. You can find the office nearest you by clicking on: http://humanservices.alberta.ca/offices.
To get more information about apprenticeship and careers in the trades, visit http://tradesecrets.alberta.ca.
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at email@example.com. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.