What is Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is a workplace-based training program for people who want to work in a skilled trade.

  • 90 percent of the apprenticeship is on-the-job under the supervision of skilled tradespeople
  • 10 percent occurs at a post-secondary institution or other approved training organization
  • Apprentices are workers, so they can earn while they learn the trade

Benefits of Apprenticeship Training:


  • Employers gain a skilled workforce that can produce and deliver goods and services to meet customer demand


  • Apprentices earn while they learn a skilled trade
  • Apprenticeships fuel the engine of a strong economy


For the apprentice, achieving certification in a skilled trade means that you have achieved a measure of success and mastery in your chosen field. Your success is recognized and awarded not only by the dollars you earn, but also by the respect of your peers and your industry.

Many of the people who work in the skilled trades can chose to relocate and work in any province in Canada and sometimes abroad (see Red Seal Trades). Some may start and run their own successful businesses.

The Apprenticeship Training & Certification System

NEW Please Note : Apprenticeship Training and Curriculum Standards were developed by the Ministry of Advanced Education & Skills Development. As of April 8th, 2013, the Ontario College of Trades (College) has become responsible for the development and maintenance of these standards.

Because the Apprenticeship Training and Curriculum Standards documents were developed under either the Trades Qualification and Apprenticeship Act (TQAA) or the Apprenticeship and Certification Act, 1998 (ACA), the definitions contained in these documents may no longer be accurate and may not be reflective of the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009(OCTAA) as the new trades legislation in the province. The College will update these definitions in the future.

Meanwhile, please refer to the College’s website (http://www.collegeoftrades.ca) for the most accurate and up-to-date information about these matters. For information on OCTAA and its regulations, please visit : http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/about/legislation-and-regulations

Compulsory in regard to apprenticeship training: the apprentice must train under a journeyperson qualified in the selected trade and a person must be an apprentice to work in that trade. An example of this type of trade is an electrician or hairstylist.

Voluntary in regard to apprenticeship training: the apprentice may train under a person who may otherwise meet the qualifications and the person doesn't have to complete an apprenticeship to work in that trade. An example of this type of trade is an Auto Parts Person or Cook.



Compulsory Trade

To work in a trade licensed under 'compulsory', one must be a registered apprentice or journeyperson

Voluntary Trade

Refers to trades that do not require being a registered apprentice or licensed journeyperson

Contract of Apprenticeship

An agreement registered under which the employer or sponsor agrees to train and instruct the apprentice

Governing Structure - Board of Governors, and Divisional and Trade Boards

Comprised of industry representatives who advise the Minister with respect to apprenticeship programs

There are two basic categories of trades:

1) Regulated

The Province of Ontario has established guidelines surrounding the certification and apprenticeship process of the skilled trades. Many regulated trades are governed by a set of regulations set out by the industry standards for a particular trade.

  • Examples of regulated trades: electrician, tool and die maker

2) Non-regulated

The province of Ontario has worked to establish schedules of training for trades that are non-regulated. These are usually employer-established trade areas that have demonstrated a need for a formalized training program through apprenticeship. Quite often those trade areas that become regulated began as employer based training programs.

  • Examples of non-regulated trades include: Early Childhood Educator, Gemsetter/Goldsmith, and Optics Technician (Lens & Prism Maker)

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