A sponsor supports apprentices developing skills through paid, on the job experience and mentorship. Sponsors may be:
- consortias of employers
- labour organization
- non-profit organizations or others
Sponsors will encourage and enable progression and completion of an apprenticeship program. Other responsibilities include:
- Sign apprenticeship education agreements with apprentices.
- Employ or find employment for apprentices.
- Provide or ensure high-quality paid on-the-job instruction through mentorship.
- Work with other sponsors, as needed, to provide apprentices with experience in the full scope of the profession.
- Ensure mentor responsibilities are met, including mentor to apprentice ratios.
- Maintain employment records for apprentices.
- Ensure forms, documents, and records of period completion are submitted.
Mentors support apprentices with on-the-job education through effective communication and guidance. A mentor must have a journeyperson certification or hold a recognized trade certificate.
Mentor responsibilities include:
- providing opportunities for apprentices to develop knowledge and skills
- assessing apprentice competence and providing feedback
- providing a supportive learning environment that fosters continuous development
- incorporating knowledge and skills learned at school with on-the-job education
Apprentice hiring benefits
Employing and training an apprentice is an investment in a company’s future.
The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum found that employers receive a net benefit of $1.47 for every $1 spent on apprenticeship training.
Apprentices learn the most up-to-date standards and practices in their classroom instruction, so hiring apprentices helps keep business on top of new developments in your industry.
A business may also be eligible for a tax credit from the Government of Canada while training an apprentice. Read about the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit.
Steps to sponsor an apprentice
Step 1. Consider sponsoring an apprentice
You may already have a general labourer who is a good candidate for apprenticeship training, or you may want to increase your workforce in a specific trade through apprenticeship.
Apprentices must be supervised by a mentor who is a certified journeyperson or holds a recognized trade certificate. Talk to your journeyperson about the possibility of mentoring an apprentice before starting the application process.
Step 2. Complete the apprenticeship education program application and agreement
Before your apprentice can start on-the-job instruction, you both must complete the application and apprenticeship education agreement.
You start by choosing a designated contact for your business. Your designated contact has the authority to:
- recommend credit for previous work experience
- agree to enter into an apprenticeship education agreement
The apprentice starts the online apprenticeship education application. They will need to have the email address of your designated contact. After the apprentice submits their portion of the application, your designated contact receives an email asking them to complete the sponsor portion. The information you both provide is used to create an apprenticeship education agreement.
You will need a basic Alberta.ca Account to:
- create your designated contact’s account
- complete the application and agreement
- pay the $35 apprenticeship application fee, if you choose
Step 3. On-the-job instruction
When the apprenticeship education agreement is finalized, the apprentice can start working.
Apprentices need to complete a specific number of instruction hours each year. Their work must be:
- supervised by a journeyperson in accordance with the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act
- tracked in a competence portfolio (record book) that is verified and signed by the apprentice and their sponsor
- delivered in accordance with Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety requirements
The apprentice’s competence portfolio must be uploaded to their MyTradesecrets account at the end of each training period to track:
- satisfactory completion
- number of on-the-job instruction hours
Step 4. Classroom instruction
Apprentices need time off and support to attend classroom instruction so they can successfully pass their courses and exams.
Some employers continue to pay their apprentices while they complete their classroom instruction. Apprentices who are not paid during classroom instruction can apply for Employment Insurance or other financial support.
Step 5. Apply apprenticeship benefits to your business
Apprentices are learning up-to-date industry standards and practices. Encouraging your apprentices to apply and share what they learn during their training can benefit Alberta’s entire workforce.
Transferring an apprentice’s sponsorship
To end a sponsorship with an apprentice, complete a Notice of Release form.
To begin a sponsorship of an apprentice who is already registered in an apprenticeship education program, complete a Notice of Acceptance form.
Apprenticeship and Industry Training conducts worksite inspections to monitor compliance with legislation under the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act. Occupational Health and Safety Officers also have limited authority to monitor apprenticeship compliance on the worksite.
These visits are made to industrial and commercial worksites and residential construction sites to:
- monitor apprentice instruction
- provide information about Alberta’s apprenticeship system
- follow-up on cancelled or rejected applications
- ensure tradespersons and companies are complying with the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act
Connect with Apprenticeship and Industry Training:
Find an Apprenticeship and Industry Training Office near you.