When I was in high school I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but I knew that I wanted to try new things and explore my options. So, when my uncle, a journeyman electrician, asked if I’d like to work with him the summer before grade 12, I jumped at the opportunity. An apprenticeship education program lasts one to 4 years, depending on the program. It consists of on the job and classroom instruction from industry professionals working in the field.
My uncle explained to me that through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) I could earn credits towards an apprenticeship program while I was earning my high school diploma. I was sold – while the rest of my friends were sleeping in all summer, I was earning apprentice wages (about 60% of the journeyman rate) – better than most summer jobs and I was earning a high school credit for every 25 hours I worked. On top of that, I was earning hours towards my apprenticeship.
I’ll be honest though that summer was a steep learning curve. Having never held a real job before, working with my uncle was a major eye-opener. My first few days were tough; the work was physically demanding, and I knew absolutely nothing. Like any job it took time to get the hang of things, but the guys I worked with were patient and helpful – it was very rewarding. When I finished the day, I had something to be proud of, I helped provide light for a building. It’s important for me to feel fulfilled by the work I do, and RAP provided that for me.
By the end of the summer, I was sad to leave my job. I finally started to feel like I knew what I was doing, and I was improving plus the work started to get easier and more enjoyable. I couldn’t wait to finish my last year of school and get back out into the workforce.
If you’re interested in pursuing RAP in high school connect with your school’s RAP coordinator or guidance counsellor for help getting started.
The Career and Technology Apprenticeship Programs are another way to get ahead in the trades, you may be able to waive fees or take your exams early. Learn more about apprenticeship and industry training, the trades are great start for your career path and you may be eligible for employment insurance during classroom instruction. Scholarships, grants and loans are funding options.
Alberta ran this peer-developed program from 2007 until 2019. Ambassadors blogged and visited classrooms to inspire students to plan their post-secondary journey. These ambassadors are now in the workforce but their stories can still inspire continuous education.
Learn from other ambassadors or watch these videos:
Alberta Learning Information System (ALIS) resources:
Also visit your learning path to post-secondary.
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