Learning the trade secrets

Apprenticeship has benefits for employers and employees alike.

In today’s labour market, employers need skilled tradespeople. The current high demand for skilled workers means plenty of opportunities to pursue a trade as a viable, rewarding career pathway. Apprenticeship is a way to train in one of over 50 different skilled trades and “earn while you learn”.

Under the apprenticeship model, a journeyperson (someone who is fully certified in a particular trade) provides practical, on-the-job training to an individual who wants to earn a Certificate of Qualification in a skilled trade.

The apprenticeship system is the responsibility of Apprenticeship Manitoba, a branch of the provincial government that oversees the delivery of accredited, workplace-based training along with technical learning in a classroom setting. Currently, 10,000 apprentices working in over 55 trades are registered with Apprenticeship Manitoba.

Jennifer Nguyen speaks about her experience as a truck and transport mechanic apprentice.
Jennifer Nguyen speaks about her experience as a truck and transport mechanic apprentice.

Lasting career
Hiring an apprentice not only benefits the individual being trained, but also the provincial economy as a whole. Jennifer Nguyen, a truck and transport mechanic apprentice, believes the apprenticeship system directly improves the lives of people who want to increase the job opportunities available to them and build lasting careers.

“The apprenticeship system affects all Manitobans in countless positive ways,” says Nguyen. “It means we can walk into an auto body shop and trust that our vehicles will be fixed properly, the roads that we drive those vehicles on will be safe and take us where we need to go, and the buildings and homes those roads take us to will be secure and well built.”

Companies that hire apprentices also benefit by ensuring that their labour needs are met.

“On the job, I’ve seen people who have years of experience going into retirement, only to be replaced by someone who has no experience at all,” says Nguyen. “By hiring apprentices on an ongoing basis, employers can fill those gaps so that there are more skilled workers on staff, and more opportunities for new staff to be trained.”

Truck and transport mechanic
Nguyen is enrolled in the four-year truck and transport mechanic program. Truck and transport mechanics are certified to maintain, service, repair and modify transport trucks and their components. They also service emergency vehicles, farm and gravel trucks, public transport and school buses, public utility vehicles, semi-trailer trucks and truck tractors.

An apprentice training to be a certified truck and transport mechanic learns to:

  • Use sophisticated diagnostic equipment and techniques to service electrical or electronic system faults and perform component replacements.
  • Service basic fuel and fuel injection systems, electrical and suspension systems, air conditioning and emission controls.
  • Service and repair engines, braking systems, air brakes, steering components, drive lines and differentials.
  • Disassemble, align, fit and machine parts with hand or power tools.
  • Assemble, install, repair and maintain equipment including, hydraulics, pneumatics, electronics, heating and refrigeration units.
  • Rebuild, adjust and service a variety of components such as engine pistons and connecting rods, cylinders, cylinder head valves, camshafts, crankshafts and time gears.
  • Repair and replace frames, axles, hubs, tires and wheels and coupling units.
  • Calibrate electrical test equipment.

Training in this trade involves eight weeks of in-school training in each of the first two years, six weeks of training in the third year and four in the final year.

The apprentice spends the rest of the time learning the trade under the guidance of a journeyperson in a workplace setting. This allows the apprentice to earn a good wage while acquiring skills that will last a lifetime and open the door to a future of continued advancement.

For more information about trades training opportunities, contact Apprenticeship Manitoba toll free at 1-877-978-7233, email apprenticeship@gov.mb.ca, or visit our website at manitoba.ca/tradecareers.

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