Start an apprenticeship
Find out how you qualify and apply to be an apprentice in a skilled trade.
On this page Skip this page navigation
Looking for a sponsor or employer? Visit the job bank
How apprenticeship works
As an apprentice, you learn a skilled trade on the job. You work with and learn from experienced workers, and get paid while you do it.
You also learn in a classroom from instructors who know the trade. This may take place on a college campus or in a union training centre.
For most trades, you work for a year and then switch to studying in class for eight to 12 weeks, either full or part-time. It takes between two to five years to complete an apprenticeship.
Get help and advice
- 1 in 5
Explore the trades
There are different types of trades, including:
- construction trades (for example, construction and maintenance electrician)
- industrial trades (for example, welder)
- motive power trades (for example, automotive service technician)
- service trades (for example, hairstylist)
View the full list of designated trades.
Search trades-related job profiles to see what’s in demand, how much you can earn, education requirements and more.
How to prepare for an apprenticeship
Get free pre-apprenticeship training in eligible trades and take college courses in a skilled trade.
Find more information on how to prepare for apprenticeship.
If you’re in high school
Talk to your teachers and guidance counsellors to help you:
- find an Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) cooperative education placement
- take courses that match your career goals
- start your journey into the skilled trades through the Specialist High Skills Majors and dual credit programs
Find out if you qualify
To qualify for an apprenticeship, you must:
- be at least 16 years of age
- have legal permission to work in Canada (for example, have a valid social insurance number)
- meet the educational requirements for your chosen trade
- have a sponsor in Ontario
Find an employer or sponsor
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).
How to find a sponsor
- Guidance counsellor: If you’re in high school, ask your guidance counsellor for advice and referrals for the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and other programs (Specialist High Skills Major, dual credit program.)
- Colleges: Most colleges have a placement office, or can direct students to a career centre to help find apprenticeship opportunities.
- Online: Visit the job bank to post your resume and availability for an apprenticeship in your chosen trade.
- Employment Ontario (EO): EO offers employment services and training opportunities, like matching apprentices to sponsors.
- Unions or trade associations: Many trades have unions or associations with resources to find and match apprentices to sponsors.
- Local companies: Research local companies in the skilled trades. Try your local online resources, newspapers, or other directories.
- Your network: ask around to see if anyone you know is in the skilled trades and if they are hiring or know someone who is hiring.
Apply for an apprenticeship
If you're 18 years old or older
Before you begin the application process, make sure you have this information handy:
- your personal information:
- Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- full mailing address
- email address (the ministry will send notices about your apprenticeship training to this email address.)
- sponsor’s information:
- full legal name (often different than the business name)
- full mailing address
- business phone number
- sponsor contact person’s information:
- first and last name
- phone number
- email address
- work arrangement details:
- start date with the sponsor
- number of work and training hours per week
If you’re 16 to 17 years old
You must download a paper application.
- save the application to your computer
- fill out the application
- print the application and sign it
- get your parent or guardian and your sponsor to sign it
- mail (or submit it in-person) the completed, signed application to your local Employment Ontario apprenticeship training office
We will review your application and let your sponsor know whether or not your application was approved.
Note: You can change your sponsor later.
- your personal information:
Sign a training agreement
If your application is approved, the ministry will:
- create a training agreement for you and your sponsor to sign
- approve the signed agreement
- register your apprenticeship training
Money for apprentices
There are many provincial and federal supports for apprentices, including:
- up to $4,000 in interest-free federal loans for training in a Red Seal trade
- up to $6,000 in federal grants if you’re out of high school and training in a Red Seal trade
- income support through federal employment insurance to help with full-time technical training costs
- $2,000 once you finish your apprenticeship
A new, non-repayable tools grant is available for apprentices as of August 2020.
As an apprentice, this grant will help you pay for tools and equipment for your trade.
The amount of the grant depends on the type of trade you’re apprenticing in. The grant amounts are as follows:
- $1,000 for motive power trades
- $600 for construction trades
- $600 for industrial trades
- $400 for service trades
View the full list of trades.
To qualify for the grant, you must have:
- completed, or been exempted from, level one in-class training, on or after April 1, 2020
- a registered training agreement
- been registered as an apprentice for at least 12 months
How to apply
We will send an email with an application link to all apprentices who are eligible to apply for this provincial grant.
You can also apply online if you believe you qualify for the grant.
For any questions about the tools grant, contact Employment Ontario.
Grant for full-time study
Most trades require you to do two or three levels of classroom training during an apprenticeship. Each level lasts eight to 12 weeks, depending on the trade. You can take these classes on a part-time or full-time basis.
Some people can get Employment Insurance (EI) for financial support while studying full-time.
Apprentice Development Benefit
The Apprentice Development Benefit provides financial assistance for apprentices while they are attending full-time, in-class training. These costs can include:
- basic living expenses
- dependent care
- commuting and travel
- expenses for living away from home
- special assistance for persons with disabilities
To qualify for the benefit, you must have:
- attended class on a full-time basis
- registered as an apprentice with the ministry
How to apply
When you begin your in-class training, you will be provided with:
- an application package that includes instructions about how to apply
- the application form
If you have started your training and did not receive the package, please contact your local Employment Ontario apprenticeship office to speak with an Employment Training Consultant.
Grant for Apprentice Learning
Starting April 1, 2022, we are merging the Grant for Apprenticeship Learning with the Apprenticeship Development Benefit.
You can still apply for the Grant for Apprentice Learning to receive up to $3,600 if:
- you did not qualify for EI while attending full-time training
- your class started before April 1, 2022
Otherwise, you may apply for the Apprenticeship Development Benefit.
We will send you a grant application when you complete one level of your classroom training. You have 180 days from the last day of class for that particular level to apply. If you did not receive the package, please contact your local Employment Ontario apprenticeship office to speak with an Employment Training Consultant.
How to complete an apprenticeship
When you are finished your training as an apprentice, you will get a Certificate of Apprenticeship.
To obtain the Certificate of Apprenticeship, you and your sponsor have a few tasks to complete.
For certain trades, you will also need to complete an exam to get a Certificate of Qualification.
Find out more about how to finish your apprenticeship, and what comes next.