(This story is sponsored by Vancouver Community College.)
Obtaining a degree in liberal arts or psychology isn’t for everybody, which is why Vancouver Community College offers 14 trades apprenticeship programs. In order to provide students with practical training, these programs combine on-the-job training with classroom learning.
If you prefer hands-on learning instead of spending your time at postsecondary buried in a textbook, then apprenticeship training is right for you. Along with gaining invaluable career experience, most apprentices also get paid while they learn.
Isabelle Maheu, a communications advisor at Employment and Social Development Canada, recently told CBC News that there is “still limited awareness about the wide range of opportunities in the skilled trades”.
“Many youths don’t tend to readily view trades as a first-choice career and apprenticeship is not always promoted to youth as a pathway to rewarding and well-paying jobs,” she added.
Apprenticeship programs can be started during high school, after graduation, or at any point in a person’s career.
After finishing an apprenticeship program, graduates will receive their Certificate of Qualification. This designation is otherwise known as a “ticket” and is recognized by employers across B.C. Grads can also challenge the exam to earn a Red Seal Endorsement, which allows their trade credentials to be recognized anywhere in Canada.
According to a recent report put together by Statistics Canada and the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, Canada needs to attract 167,739 new apprentices over the next five years in order to keep up with current demand. Because of the skyrocketing need for trained apprentices, now is the best time to start a program that interests you.
The latest trade to get added to VCC’s apprenticeship list is the Hairstylist Apprenticeship pathway. Students with a passion for hair will learn the latest techniques in cutting, colouring, styling, shaving, chemical treatments, and extensions while earning a B.C. trade certificate. The pathway is made up of two levels and programs start on a regular basis with the next intake on August 2021.
Those applying for a spot in the program must be 16 years of age or older, or a high school graduate. If a student has not yet graduated, marks from the Hairstylist Apprenticeship can be converted into high school grades.
Students must also be registered in the hairstylist trade program and have an active apprenticeship record with the Industry Training Authority.
Other apprenticeship programs at VCC can help students become automotive collision repair technicians, automotive glass technicians, automotive service technicians, bakers, cooks, and more. Click here for a full list.
Most apprenticeships take four years to complete, with students spending about 80 percent of their time on the job, earning an income. Depending on the trade, apprentices must be prepared to attend full-time classes at VCC for four to seven weeks for each apprenticeship level.
Many apprentices are also eligible to receive the Apprenticeship Incentive from the Government of Canada. This can be up to $2,000 for men and $6,000 for women.
VCC also has pre-apprenticeship (foundation) programs in many popular trades for those who want to get a head start while still attending high school classes. For example, VCC now offers a combined Automotive Collision and Refinishing Foundation to give postsecondary or high school students a taste of both trades.