Apprenticeships open doors

Dear Working Wise: I want a good career, but right now I’m stuck in a dead-end job.

Dear Working Wise: I want a good career, but right now I’m stuck in a dead-end job.

I’ve heard tradespeople make good money. How do I become an apprentice in the trades? — Want to Trade Jobs

Dear Want 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, tradespeople tend to earn good wages and have the opportunity to join companies or bargaining units and enjoy benefits like health care and pensions. Many tradespeople also go on to open their own businesses or teach.

And third, 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 well-testing services supervisor. For a complete list, check out

How to get started

Pick your trade. Get as much information as you can about your choices from the Internet, school career counsellors, or your nearest Apprenticeship and Industry Training Office.

Talk to people working in the trades that interest you. Speak to employers — maybe they’ll let you “job-shadow” to see what the day-to-day work is like. Ask lots of questions!

Find an employer. Thousands of employers hire and train apprentices. The hardest part of getting into the trades is finding an employer willing to train you. Send potential employers your resumé and a letter of introduction explaining your intentions.

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.

The apprenticeship contract is an agreement between you and your employer. You are responsible for completing both your technical and on-the-job training. Your employer is responsible for paying you a certain percentage of the journeyman wage rate, increasing your pay as you progress through training, training you on the job and allowing you to attend technical training.

To get more information about apprenticeship and careers in the trades, visit

Working Wise is compiled weekly by Charles Strachey, a regional manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration. Work-related questions can be sent to him at Working Wise is provided for general information only. Help with specific situations is available through Alberta Employment Standards by calling 1-877-427-3731.

Just Posted

Men posing as repo men attempt to steal vehicle in Red Deer County

Two men attempted to steal a utility vehicle from a Red Deer… Continue reading

Red Deerian spreads kindness with one card at a time

One Red Deerian wants to combat bullying by spreading kindness in the… Continue reading

Bowden baby in need of surgery

“Help for Alexis” Go Fund Me account

PHOTO: First Rider bus safety in Red Deer

Central Alberta students learned bus safety in the Notre Dame High School… Continue reading

WATCH: Annual Family Picnic at Central Spray and Play

Blue Grass Sod Farms Ltd. held the Annual Family Picnic at the… Continue reading

Woman has finger ripped off at West Edmonton Mall waterslide

SASKATOON — A Saskatchewan woman says she lost a finger after her… Continue reading

Uncertainty looms over Canada’s cannabis tourism, but ambitions are high

TORONTO — Longtime marijuana advocate Neev Tapiero is ready for the cannabis-driven… Continue reading

Feds mulling safeguards to prevent ‘surge’ of cheap steel imports into Canada

OTTAWA — The federal government extended an olive branch of sorts to… Continue reading

Ontario govt caps off summer session by passing bill to cut Toronto council size

TORONTO — The Ontario government passed a controversial bill to slash the… Continue reading

Updated:Italian bridge collapse sends cars plunging, killing 26

MILAN — A 51-year-old highway bridge in the Italian port city of… Continue reading

Saudi Arabia spat affecting Canadians embarking on hajj, community members say

TORONTO — Members of Canada’s Muslim community say recent tensions between Ottawa… Continue reading

Tug carrying up to 22,000 litres of fuel capsizes in Fraser River off Vancouver

VANCOUVER — The smell of diesel filled the air as crews worked… Continue reading

Nebraska executes first inmate using fentanyl

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska carried out its first execution in more than… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month