Dear Working Wise:
I keep hearing about Alberta’s looming labour shortage, but I’ve been looking for a job as an apprentice in one of these high-demand occupations for over six weeks and I can’t find anyone who will hire me. I have years of experience working in a car-repair shop plus a university degree. It’s confusing to hear that companies are hurting for workers, but none seem willing to take on apprentices. Do you have any advice? Signed, Frustrated
The hardest part of becoming a tradesperson is finding a company willing and able to hire a first-year apprentice.
Most companies recognize that they must hire and train apprentices today so they will have the journeymen they will need for tomorrow, but they need journeymen today to get the work done and train apprentices.
Here are some tips to help you in your search for an apprentice position.
Search the Canada-Alberta Job Bank using the search terms "apprentice" or "helper". Some companies will hire helpers or labourers first to see if they are a good fit before indenturing them. Employers want apprentices who have a good attitude, follow instructions, enjoy working with their hands, are comfortable working safely around tools, and are eager to learn and contribute.
I found more than 500 jobs when I searched the Job Bank (www.jobbank.gc.ca) using the key word “apprentice”. You can also use the Job Bank’s Job Alert feature to alert you when a new apprentice job is posted.
· Prepare a professional-looking resumé and cover letter that clearly explains your career goal and related training or experience.
· Visit businesses that hire tradespeople, drop off your resumé, and ask to speak to the supervisor. If they are not hiring, ask if they know someone who is hiring.
· Dress your best when you go out to meet employers. Be courteous and grateful for any help or advice employers provide.
· Attend job fairs and talk to employers who hire tradespeople. You can find out about upcoming job fairs at http://employment.alberta.ca/jobfairs.
· LIKE your local Alberta Works Facebook page, which feature employers who are hiring plus upcoming job fairs and career events http://bit.ly/IGmZK4.
· Talk to tradespeople you know and get their advice on finding an apprentice position. They might even know someone who is hiring.
· Check out Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training's website: www.tradesecrets.gov.ab.ca for more tips and information on Alberta’s 50 registered trades and how to become a tradesperson.
Some trades are in higher demand than others. A quick look at the Alberta Career and Industry Outlook http://alis.alberta.ca/pdf/cshop/careerindustry.pdf, and the job postings on the Job Bank, will give you an idea which trades hold the greatest opportunity.
If you would like more help with your job search:
· Call or email the toll-free Career Information Hotline at 1-800-661-3753 (780-422-4266 in Edmonton), email@example.com
· Visit your nearest Alberta Works Centre and ask to speak to a Career & Employment Consultant. You can find the office nearest you at http://employment.alberta.ca/offices.
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.