As the baby boomer generation makes its way into retirement, economists are anticipating a major labour shortage in skilled trades across Canada, increasingly so over the next five years. This means that now more than ever, trade certification can be both a rewarding opportunity for career-minded individuals, as well as a vital contribution to Manitoba’s economy and the Canadian economy as a whole.

One route to certification in a designated trade is through an apprenticeship training program. There are over 50 trade certification programs offered by Apprenticeship Manitoba, the majority providing Red Seal endorsed certification recognized across Canada. The first step to beginning an apprenticeship is to find an employer who is willing to hire an apprentice.

The average apprenticeship program takes about three to four years to complete. An apprentice spends about 80 per cent of that time working on the job under the instruction of a journeyperson or designated trainer. The remaining 20 per cent of the time involves in-class learning through an apprenticeship training partner. This model allows apprentices to earn an income while they learn, and to start an apprenticeship any time throughout the year with no waiting lists and minimal debt loads.

Apprentices may also qualify for various grants and incentives that make apprenticeship an even more cost-effective career training choice:

Apprenticeship Incentive Grant

Apprentices who have successfully completed their first and/or second level in good standing in a Red Seal trade are eligible to apply for this $1,000 taxable grant to help apprentices continue their training.
Apprenticeship Completion Grant

Apprentices who complete their certification in a Red Seal trade after Jan. 1, 2009 are eligible to apply for this $2,000 grant.

Tradesperson’s Tools Deduction

Employed tradespersons can deduct up to $500 annually to help cover the cost of new tools necessary to their trades.

This tax deduction applies to the total cost of eligible tools over $1,000 acquired by an employed tradesperson.
High School Apprenticeship Program (HSAP) Incentive

HSAP apprentices are eligible for help to offset tuition costs for full-time, post-secondary apprenticeship training. For every 220 hours of on-the-job training obtained by a high school apprentice (up to a maximum 880 hours), a tuition exemption for one level of in-class training in Manitoba will be granted, up to a maximum of four levels. High school apprentices may also earn up to eight supplemental academic credits for graduation based on 110 working hours per credit (up to six credits for mature diploma students).

Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate

Apprentice graduates are eligible to receive a 60 per cent income tax rebate on eligible tuition fees. This includes personal tuition fee contributions and tuition fee contributions paid by the provincial government. The Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate helps support recently certified journeypersons who are living and working in Manitoba. Most claimants will receive an annual tax deduction of 10 per cent of the original tuition total (unless the Manitoba tax owed is less than that amount). The maximum annual benefit is $2,500.

Whether you’re building on existing skills or are new to the trades altogether, apprenticeship is a well-respected route to becoming a skilled tradesperson with considerable benefits for both apprentices and their employers. For more information, visit

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