Myths and FAQ about the skilled trades



What are you hearing about test driving a career in the skilled trades? There are a lot of myths about the apprenticeship pathway but you need to know the truth.

“The trades are for people who are uneducated and do not perform well academically. People end up in skilled trades because they have no other options.”

Certified tradespersons with their Red Seal train in the classroom and onsite for four years (same time frame as an undergraduate degree) and require a strong foundation of math, reading, and critical thinking skills. The ability to think and react on your feet is mandatory. Intelligence and aptitude are required for all positions in the skilled trades.

“Skilled trades jobs do not pay well.”

We are looking forward to economic growth in our province and with major natural resource and building projects ahead, we are expecting a significant skilled trades shortage – and that means opportunities for skilled workers.

Skilled trade workers already earn competitive salaries. There is also an opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’ that allows people to work off their student debt while enrolled in postsecondary training and education.

“Skilled trades jobs do not offer consistent pay – they are seasonal or contractual.”

Skilled trade workers often take on year-round projects. The weather might change, but skilled trades workers are always on the go. This opportunity represents thousands of high-paying, long-term, and permanent jobs for Ontarians.

“Working in the skilled trades is a dead-end.”

Skilled trades aren’t just jobs, they’re careers. There are plenty of opportunities for advancement within the skilled trades; from supervisory roles, to management roles, to owning your own business! A career in the trades is the farthest thing from a dead end – so get ready and be excited!

“Working in the trades is dangerous.”

Ontario’s health and safety requirements for jobs in the skilled trades are among the highest in the world – especially when it comes to enforcement and diligent reporting.

“Working in the skilled trades is too physically demanding.”

Most positions are hands-on, but jobs in the trades are diverse – there’s something for everyone. Working in the skilled trades results in an active career, but not all positions require tedious physical labour. Lots of careers in the skilled trades break the ‘too physically demanding’ myth, as some include design, planning, project management, and administration careers. 

“Skilled trades work isn’t important.”

Skilled trades workers often tell us they are left with a strong sense of accomplishment; they are masters of their field – no different than a master of a specific academic field.

Their work touches almost every aspect of our daily lives: roads and sidewalks, schools, hospitals, bridges, offices, homes, cars, food from processing plants, water and electricity from Ontario’s growing resource sector and the list goes on. 

“Positions in the skilled trades aren’t flexible.”

There are various careers in the skilled trades that offer you flexible hours, travel and the opportunity to be outdoors! This is especially true for qualified tradespersons who own their own business. There are also plenty of employment opportunities in the skilled and technical trades that are closer to home for those wishing to build a career, settle down, and raise a family.

“There’s no work in Ontario”

Ontario is entering a major natural resource and construction era that will require thousands of skilled trades workers. Ontario’s demand for skilled workers is set to increase, so now is the time to start your training.

“Skilled trades are for men.”

More and more women are choosing the skilled trades.



Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any costs for an employer to take on an OYAP apprentice?

OYAP apprentices are not typically paid by the employer. The Ministry of Education is responsible for covering WSIB benefits. If the student is later hired as an employee and receives a wage, the employer is responsible for providing WSIB coverage.

What do students need to be eligible to participate in OYAP?

  • Must be at least 15 years of age.
  • Must have successfully completed a minimum of 14 credits towards their OSSD.
  • Must be enrolled full-time or part-time in a secondary school at a school board.
  • Must be participating in a cooperative education placement in an apprenticeship trade.

Who is responsible for covering Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits?

The students participating in unpaid work placements will be covered for Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSBI) benefits by the Ministry of Education. The Work Education Agreement (WEA) form must be signed by all parties before the students begin their placement. The school board maintains liability insurance coverage for cooperative education students. Students are covered for third party, bodily injury, and property damage. The student and company are protected against damage arising from the student’s negligence; the student is protected for damage caused accidentally to the property of the employer while such property is in their care, custody, or control.


Will the cooperative education teacher monitor the student’s progress?

The employer can expect regular monitoring by the cooperative education teacher to assess the student’s progress throughout the work placement. Effective monitoring requires ongoing communication between the student, the cooperative education teacher, the special education teacher (where required), and the placement supervisor in order to build a mutually beneficial relationship.

How is attendance monitored?

Students are responsible for calling the placement supervisor and the cooperative education teacher if they will be late or absent from the workplace. The teacher maintains records and verifies the student logs.

Is the student guaranteed employment upon graduation?

No. The placement employer is under no obligation to employ the student beyond the work placement. The employer may hire the student if a position is available. The student can use the experience and references to find permanent employment upon graduation.

Can any employer take on an apprentice?

  • Employers who have certified journeypersons in place (or equivalent) who are willing to provide students with supervision and training may qualify for participation in OYAP.
  • Employers who foresee a need to hire future apprentices are invited to participate in OYAP.

What are “Red Seal” trades?

The Red Seal endorsement on a journeyperson’s Certificate of Qualification confirms that the person has achieved a nationally recognized level of competency in the trade. The Red Seal also means that the journeyperson is licensed to practice their trade in any province or territory of Canada. Many “Red Seal” certificates are also recognized internationally. For all updated information about the Red Seal Program, visit Red Seal or speak to your cooperative education teacher.

Are students paid for their apprenticeship training?

  • Cooperative education students earn credits towards their OSSD. The school board does not require that students be paid for their cooperative education placements.
  • If a student is hired beyond the cooperative education placement, then the employer is responsible for covering Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits.

If you have any further questions concerning OYAP, click below.