Apprenticeship programs: a great path to rewarding long-term employment

Ernie Nairn Executive Director of the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce
Ernie Nairn
Executive Director of
the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce

In the most recent federal and provincial budget announcements, both levels of government have continued to maintain programs and financial aid that allow students at both the high school and university level to gain paid on-the-job work experience, as well as obtain grants available through both levels of government.
Apprenticeship programs are usually offered by high schools, colleges, and vocational schools, and help prepare those interested in a career in the trades.
Although most of the learning is on-the-job, there is also an in-class component through the learning institution where an apprentice will spend 80 to 85 per cent of his or her education and training in the actual workplace. At the end of the apprenticeship program, the graduating individual becomes a journeyperson and is certified to work in that trade.
The career opportunities are unlimited and range from construction and roofing to cooking and hairstyling.
Each province has its own list of designated trades that are eligible for this program, and most require you to enter with a formal Certificate of Qualification.
In Manitoba, there are over 50 trades that offer hands-on training, with a choice of trades in four sections that include Construction, Industrial, Transportation and Service trades. Apprenticeship Manitoba will cover your tuition costs when you attend technical training and they will often cover costs of attending technical training out of the province as well.
High School Apprenticeship Program
Manitoba also offers a High School Apprenticeship Program (HSAP) that allows students to start their apprenticeship training while still in school. It combines their regular high school instruction with paid, part-time, on-the-job training.
And the pay, in most cases, may be above average. As an apprentice, in the trade of your choice, your employer pays you as you learn on the job. And if you attend the in-school portion of your training, you can continue to obtain income through Employment Insurance.
With an ever-increasing demand for skilled trades professionals and the services they can provide once trained, many trade professionals earn salaries well above the national average income.
By the way, if you are an apprentice registered in one of the 55 Red Seal interprovincial certification trades programs that are recognized across Canada, you may also be eligible for up to $4,000 in federal government apprenticeship grants that can be used for tuition, travel, tools and other expenses.
Also available federally, is an apprenticeship incentive taxable cash grant of $1,000 per year and level of study, to a maximum of $2,000.
On completion of your apprenticeship, there is also a taxable grant of $2,000 that helps registered apprentices who have completed their training become certified journeypersons in a designated Red Seal trade.
For Manitoba students currently enrolled in high school or attending their first or second year of college or university, more information can be obtained by speaking to your teachers or faculty advisors.
On the Internet, go to the Manitoba government website, http://www.manitoba.ca, and check out the “Apprenticeship” and “Apprenticeship in High School” links. At the federal level, visit SkillsCanada.com.

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