Professional Mobility Through Apprenticeship Programs

A common obstacle that trade workers face is having a certification that is only valid in a given number of provinces and territories across the country. Ultimately, a limited certification prevents workers from having a level of liberty that comes with career mobility.

Luckily, The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program (RSP) was created over 50 years ago to provide skilled workers a higher level of professional freedom within their trade. In short, those who write and pass the RSP examination are given a special endorsement on their certificate or diploma, thereby allowing them to practice their trade across all Canadian provinces and territories.

In order to write the RSP examination, one must first complete an apprenticeship in a designated trade. To be accepted into the apprenticeship program at a participating college, applicants need to have an employer agree to take them on as an apprentice. Students will complete academic courses while simultaneously working as an apprentice.

The obvious benefit of enrolling in an apprenticeship program is being able to earn a degree while also gaining hands-on experience with a licenced employer. Here are just a few examples of apprenticeship programs, with a peek on what a student would be learning in school, and the potential job positions they would be fill as an apprentice:

Sheet metal worker apprenticeship

Study topics:

    Procedures of designing, building, installing air handling systems
    Manufacturing and gauging of metals, duct construction materials

Apprentice positions:

    Sheet Metal Workers
    Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanics
    Metal Forming, Shaping and Erecting Occupations

Steamfitter apprenticeship

Study topics:

    Plan reading, specifications and building codes in mainly the industrial-commercial-institutional (ICI) sector
    Specifications of hot water boiler systems, process piping, gas, refrigeration and air conditioning piping systems
    The importance of workplace safety, building codes and regulations

Apprentice positions:

    Steamfitters
    Pipefitters
    Certified Journey-persons
    Skilled Trade Workers

Welder apprenticeship

Study topics

    Arc, gas and resistance welding theory
    Reading and interpreting blueprints
    Special processes such as plasma cutting and tig welding

Welder career options:

    Fabrication
    Production
    Construction
    Pressure Vessel

A welder apprenticeship will be very different than a sheet metal worker apprenticeship or a steamfitter apprenticeship. Still, each will expose students to hand-on experience of the trade.

There are dozens more which those striving for a trade-specific career can choose from. With over 50 trades included within those that can be practiced on a national level, RSP-approved apprenticeship trades also include:

    Agricultural Equipment Technician
    Baker
    Carpenter
    Glazier
    Hairstylist
    Industrial Electrician
    Ironworker
    Mechanist
    Rig Technician
    Tower Crane Operator

It is likely that anyone will be able to find an apprenticeship program that focuses on their craft of interest.

Visit Mohawk College for more information on steamfitter and sheet metal worker apprenticeships.

Rima Hammoudi is a Copywriter at Higher Education Marketing, a leading Web marketing firm specializing in Google Analytics, Education Lead Generation, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Mobile SMS Alerts, Social Media Marketing and Pay Per Click Marketing, among other Web marketing services and tools.

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