Myths and FAQ About the Skilled Trades



What are you hearing about test driving a Skilled Trades career?

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 in academia. People end up in skilled trades because they have no other options."

Certified Red Seal tradespeople 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 skilled trades positions.

“Skilled trades 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-trade labour 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 post-secondary training and education.

“Skilled trades do not offer consistent pay – it is 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-paid, long-term, permanent jobs for Ontarians.

“Skilled trades are a dead-end job.”

There is tons of room for advancement within skilled trades careers. From supervisory roles, to management jobs, to owning your own business! A career in the trades is the farthest thing from 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.

“The skilled trades are too physically demanding.”

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

“Skilled trade work isn’t important.”

Skilled trade 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. 

“Skilled trade positions 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 skilled tradespeople who own their own business. There are also plenty of skilled trade and technical employment opportunities 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 trade 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 entering the skilled trades.



Frequent Asked Questions

Are there costs for an employer to take on an OYAP Apprentice?

OYAP apprentices are not typically paid by the employer. WSIB coverage is paid by the Ministry of Education. If the student is later hired as an employee, the employer is required to cover the WSIB premiums.

What do students need to qualify for OYAP?

  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Be mature, dependable and punctual
  • Be committed to learning a trade
  • Be willing to meet employer and school expectations
  • Demonstrate commitment to education while working towards Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)

Who pays the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Premium?

Unpaid students are covered through a policy paid by the Ministry of Education. The Work Education Agreement Form must be signed by all parties before the student begins work.

The School Board maintains liability insurance coverage for Co-op 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 his or her care, custody or control.

When is the student monitored by the teacher?

The supervisor can expect full support and assistance as the teacher monitors the student’s progress regularly throughout the Co-op placement. The goal is to ensure a mutually beneficial partnership between the training supervisor, the teacher and the student.

How is attendance monitored?

Students are responsible for calling the training supervisor and the Co-op teacher if they will be late or absent from the workplace. The teacher maintains records along with the student logs.

Is the student guaranteed employment upon graduation?

No. The Co-op employer is under no obligation to employ the student beyond the OYAP 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 qualified 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 Certification 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 his/her trade in any province or territory of Canada. Many “Red Seal” certificates are also recognized internationally. For more information about the Red Seal Program, visit or speak to your Co-op teacher.

Are students paid for their apprenticeship training?

  • Cooperative Education students earn credits for work experience related to in-school curriculum. The School Board does not require that students be paid for assigned Co-op placements.
  • If a student is hired beyond the Co-op placement, then the employer assumes responsibility for Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) coverage.

If you don’t see the answer to your question, ask your local coordinator they’ll be glad to help!