STEPS TO WORKIT - A Comprehensive Model

Workit outlines the steps to developing a career -- and successful future -- in the designated trades. By following these steps, your students can start their career in the designated skilled trades while they are still in high school!

Step 1/ Develop Skilled Trades Awareness
This website and the Designated Skilled Trades Guide, will help you to speak to your students about the range of the designated trades. There are 61 different trades in the construction, industrial/ mechanical, service and motive fields. With the increase in technology, there are probably many trades that you did not know existed. Because the skilled trades are highly technical, many of the trades require not only 'hands on' skills, but also require a proficiency in computer and investigative skills.

If you know any certified journeypeople, talk to them about their career. They will have good knowledge to pass on to your students about the reality and viability of a career in the designated skilled trades. Contact the Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator for information about workshops and presentations for students and educators on opportunities in the designated skilled trades.

Step 2/ Explore a Designated Trade
This is the step that encourages your student to "try out" a designated skilled trade. It could involve a workplace tour (meeting people in an industry), job shadowing (following a tradesperson through a typical work day) and test drives (arranging to see skilled tradespeople instructors and students in action at the Nova Scotia Community College). These "try out" sessions are an excellent way to see what skilled tradespeople do everyday. If you would like further information about setting up exploration sessions for your students, contact your local NSCC or the Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator.

Step 3/ Experience a Designated Skilled Trade
After exploring a couple of designated skilled trades, your students might be interested in a more intense experience to determine if a particular trade suits their interests and skills. The following two options are available to youth 16 and older. Upon successful completion of either option, youth can obtain credit toward their future apprenticeship:

• If your students are in Grade 11 or 12, 16 years of age or older, and enrolled in a Co-operative Education course, hours gained through their work placement may be eligible to count towards an actual apprenticeship if they decide to pursue that career path. Details are available through the Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator.  

• Since its inception in 2006, a select number of high schools across Nova Scotia have been offering the Options and Opportunities (O2) program. O2 offers on-the-job training through work placements and in-school learning through six occupational streams. Students will follow regular core programming and also be able to specialize in : Business,  Trades and Technologies,  Health and Human Services,  Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sports,  Information Technology, or Hospitality and Tourism. If your students are registered in this program they may also be eligible to receive apprenticeship credit for work placements in the designated trades. Contact the Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator for more information.

• If you are in contact with youth who are not in school, there are various community programs available that can match them to an employer in the designated skilled trades.   Encourage them to contact their local Career Resource Centre for more information.

Step 4/ Become a Youth Apprentice....Pathways to Apprenticeship English (PDF);  French (PDF)
If you have students who are between the ages of 16-19, have identified that a particular designated skilled trade suits their skills and interests and has an employer willing to offer them work in a designated trade, they are eligible to become a youth apprentice. Youth apprentices are paid by the employer while they learn the practical aspects of a trade. They are registered with the Department of Labour and Workforce Development's Apprenticeship Training and Skill Development Division and eligible to count their hours toward an apprenticeship. If you have a student who is ready to become a youth apprentice, have him/her fill out the Expression of Interest form. This is the first step toward registration.

Step 5/Decide on Post-Secondary Options....After Graduating High School
Students will be asking you for advice on their post-secondary options as future journeypeople. They have two training options open to them: (1) attend a community college to upgrade their skills and gain more confidence or (2) continue on as an apprentice. There are advantages to both options. If they decide to go to community college, they'll receive some credit for their apprenticeship when they complete their program. If they decide to continue on with their apprenticeship, they will continue to "earn while they learn" and count hours toward their technical training. Which training option is right for your student?

Step 6/ Work Full-time as an Apprentice
If your client or student is over the age of 19 and has an employer willing to offer full-time work in a designated trade, he/she can register as an apprentice. Apprentices earn a salary while they learn the practical aspects of their trade and participate in theory training each year. If you know someone over the age of 19 who is ready to become an apprentice, have them contact an Industrial Training and Certification Officer with Apprenticeship Training and Skill Development in their local area.

Various incentives are also provided to registered apprentices throughout their training, including:

•  HRSDC's Apprenticeship Incentive Grant (AIG) for apprentices who complete their first and second year of training;

•  the Nova Scotia provincial government's Progression Award to apprenticeship who complete their third and fourth your of training;

• HRSDC's Apprenticeship Completion Grant (ACG) for apprentices who successfully complete their apprenticeship training and obtain journeyperson certification in a designated Red Seal trade; and

• the Tradesperson's Tools Deduction - available to employed tradespersons with an annual deduction of up to $500 to help cover the cost of new tools necessary to their trade.

Step 7/ Enjoy Life as a Certified Journeyperson
Due to the technical nature of the work, the designated trades are constantly evolving, and journeypeople must continue to learn in order to remain competitive in their fields.

As certified journeypeople they can:

• Build a viable career as a journeyperson based on continuous learning and training,

• Gain certification in additional designated skilled trades,

• Become self-employed and start their own business,

• Complement their trade-specific education with further post-secondary education,

• Mentor and supervise apprentices in their trade.

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