A Secondary School Apprenticeship (SSA) provides Grade 10, 11 and 12 students with a tremendous opportunity to receive a minimum of 480 hours of paid, on-the-job training. An apprenticeship involves a formal agreement between a student, the Industry Training Authority (ITA) and an employer / union whereby the student learns current skills and knowledge associated with a trade or occupation under the supervision of a qualified journey person.
What are the benefits to students?
In addition to starting a career and earning money while in secondary school, students who successfully complete the program receive:
- 16 graduation credits – eight at each of the Grade 11 and Grade 12 levels
- Credit for the Graduation Transitions – 30 hours of work experience graduation requirement
- A wider range and scope of job-specific learning experiences than is available at school
- 480-hours credit toward the work component in the first year of apprenticeship training
- Eligibility for a $1,000 scholarship for those who maintain a C+ or better average in all Grade 12 courses and continue with the apprenticeship after graduation, and have completed 1100+ hours in the work place
- Strengthened employment skills and a network of contacts
- A better sense of opportunities within and related to the chosen trade or occupation
What are the responsibilities of students in the program?
Students participating in the program are responsible for:
- Understanding and committing to apprenticeship training in a specific trade or occupation
- Achieving academically at the level necessary to access the post-secondary training required for certification
- Identifying an appropriate and acceptable employer
- Completing the application process to a standard which demonstrates commitment, motivation and maturity
- Realizing that the program does not guarantee a placement or full-term apprenticeship
- Completing 480 hours of work experience no later than 3 months after graduation in order to be eligible for the $1,000 scholarship
What will be considered for placement in the program?
Placement will be dependent upon:
- Demonstrating the responsibilities described above
- Locating an employer who has a position available, as well as the interest and capacity to provide
- Training required for the trade or occupation in keeping with ITA requirements
- Successful job interview and trial work experience with the employee
To apply to be registered as a secondary school apprentice the student must:
- have an interest in an apprenticeable trade which has been researched
- be in Grade 10, 11 or 12
- be 15 years of age before the workplace-based training begins
- be a mature and responsible student, completes assignments on time and in an organized manner
- have permission of the parent / guardian
- have a social insurance number
- meet academic requirements for entry to technical training at post-secondary institutions by the end of Grade 12
- meet the academic standards required in the selected trade
- have licenses or certificates required for entry into chosen trade or occupation (e.g. driver’s license, WHMIS)
- be responsible for his / her own transportation
- be willing to commit two or more years to completion of the apprenticeship after secondary school graduation
- have identified at least one appropriate and acceptable employer who has agreed in principle to hiring the student as a secondary school apprentice
How can someone apply?
Interested students can obtain a registration package and general information about the apprenticeship program from the Career Programs Advisor in the Career Centre at their school. Two other valuable sources of information are the school counsellor and the ITA web site (www.itabc.ca) Students should discuss the application package with their parent(s) / guardian(s). Completed applications, as well as other documents in the package, should be returned to the Career Program Advisor.
What about finding a willing employer?
Gaining employment is the student’s responsibility. He / she may already be working for an employer able to provide an apprenticeship. Family friends, school and district staff may also be helpful in identifying possible employers. If either the student or the employer is unsure of expectation for each other, a “trial” work experience or interview with the employer will be arranged. Once all parties are agreeable, the student is registered as an apprentice while completing secondary school.
What wages are apprentices paid?
Secondary school apprentices earn minimum wage or slightly better. Following graduation, an apprentice can expect to earn 50% of a journeyperson wage with yearly incremental increases over the duration of the apprenticeship.
Why register as an apprentice?
Apprentices are registered to ensure that all rules governing apprenticeship apply in relation to workplace safety, appropriate training and supervision under qualified journey people, and adherence to the applicable wage scales.
Can an employer hire a student apprentice?
No. The Industry Training Authority assesses the employer to determine if the required on-the-job training can be delivered.
What apprenticeship trades might a student consider?
There are over 150 apprenticeable trades / occupations. While all should be considered available, some are more accessible for secondary school apprentices than others. The more accessible ones include:
- Automotive Technician
- Bench Worker & Joinery
- Painting & Decorating
- Pattern making
- Production Horticulture
- Drywall Finisher
- Electronics Technician
- Security Alarms Installer
- Graphic Arts
- Steel Fabrication
- Tool & Die Making
- Landscape Horticulture