How to Kickstart Your Career in the Skilled Trades

Starting a career can be daunting – but we’re here to help you navigate the process!

With over 140 trades to choose from, training for the skilled trades gives you access to thousands of well-paying jobs. By 2025, it’s projected that 1 in 5 new job openings in Ontario will be in the skilled trades. These rewarding careers allow you to learn on the job as an apprentice while setting you up with an in-demand career for life.

Preparing for an Apprenticeship

Exploring the Trades

With more than 140 different trades to choose from, there’s opportunity for everyone!

Learn about careers in the four different categories of trades:

  • Construction
  • Industrial
  • Motive Power
  • Service

Anyone can be eligible for a career in the skilled trades. It’s never too late to pursue your passion! There are different programs to help you prepare for a career in the skilled trades. Which one you choose depends on whether you are in high school, in college or not currently in school. Read below to learn about program eligibility.

Pre-apprenticeship Training

If you’re interested in working in a trade but don’t have the skills or experience to get a job as an apprentice, you can apply for this training.

You can get training through colleges or community agencies across Ontario. The best part – it’s totally free. Costs for textbooks, safety equipment and tools are also covered. Training can go for up to 52 weeks and can also include a work placement for 8-12 weeks.

Anyone can qualify for pre-apprenticeship training programs. For help finding and applying to an organization, you can contact Employment Ontario.

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP)

If you’re in high school, you can earn co-op education credits through work placements in the skilled trades. To qualify for OYAP, you must be at least 15 years old, be studying in high school and have earned at least 14 credits.

To get started, contact the OYAP coordinator in your school board.

Starting an Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship is formal training for those who want a career in the skilled trades. It combines training on the job and in the classroom.

85-80% of an apprenticeship is paid, on-the-job training. You’ll get paid to work with and learn from experienced workers. It takes between 2-5 years to complete an apprenticeship.

To start an apprenticeship, you’ll need to:

  • Find out if you qualify – You must be at least 16 years of age, have legal permission to work in Canada, meet the educational requirements for your chosen trade and have a sponsor in Ontario.
  • Find an employer or sponsor – A sponsor is someone who provides you with apprenticeship training. Talk to qualified people around you or research online to find opportunities.
  • Apply for an apprenticeship through the Skilled Trades Ontario Portal – you’ll need to have your personal information, sponsor’s information, sponsor contact person’s information and work arrangement details handy.
  • Sign a training agreement – If your application is approved, the ministry will create a training agreement for you and your sponsor to sign.

What’s Next?

Take the next step and apply for an apprenticeship today!

Hear From Past Apprentices

Noan Agtarap


Noan Agtarap is a Chef with over 11 years of experience. For Noan, becoming a chef was about following her passions: “I was just super passionate about food.” Noan first started cooking at an early age, inspired to learn the trade from close relatives. Today, Noan works for Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment, and some of her duties include preparing meals for sports teams and special events.

David Simon

Apprentice Powerline Technician

David Simon is a 3rd-year apprentice Powerline technician at Hydro One. Dave’s journey in the skilled trades started at Durham College, where he studied to be an electrical engineering technician. At Durham he learned the electric basics like theory, knowledge and understanding of electric motors, and wiring. Dave discovered a love for hands-on activity while in high school taking woodwork and auto class. Although he enjoyed the work, Dave was drawn to the more technical side of the trade and decided he would become an electrician.

Samridhi Sharma

Apprentice Automotive Service Technician

In her second semester of grade 12, Samridhi joined the accelerated Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) as an Automotive Service Technician. She wanted to kickstart her career early and see what the trade was all about so it seemed like a good opportunity.
Samridhi recently finished her Level 3 and is waiting to write her Certificate of Qualification (CofQ) exam to get her journeyperson 310S certification and Red Seal.

Thinking about your career? The skilled trades could be perfect for you.

Reasons to consider the skilled trades

The skilled trades provide rewarding, lucrative and purpose-driven career pathways that are in high demand.

What are the skilled trades?

Spanning the construction, industrial, motive power and service sectors, learn about the 140+ skilled trades in Ontario.

Can I pursue a skilled trade?

Find out if you’re eligible to pursue a skilled trade in Ontario. Spoiler: there’s a skilled trade for everyone.

Frequently asked questions

Providing answers to your biggest questions about the skilled trades. Covers everything from the pay to training.