Steps to Apprenticeship


General overview for all the other provinces

1. Explore your career options with a trained career counsellor

Career counsellors are equipped with the information, resources and tools to help you:

  • assess your transferable skills, interests, personality, strengths, aptitude, weaknesses and abilities
  • match these important key areas with a suitable career

Without a complete understanding of your key qualities you could be setting yourself up for an unsatisfying career. Not just anyone can pursue a skilled trade, it takes specific aptitude, skills and interest if you are expecting a good career with a great future.

Look at these self-assessment websites

Skilled trades are made up of four sectors; Construction, Service, Industrial and Motive Power. In Motive Power, you are looking for collision damage repairer.

Click here to have a look at what specific types of opportunities exist.

Automotive Painter

Auto Body Collision & Damage Repairer

Collision Repair Training Information

Things to Know about Collision Repair

FAQs - Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Fact Sheet (pdf)

Apprenticeship Information

For a listing of community resources or places to access a career counsellor for free, Click here.

Opportunities to consider

- Local Industry Committee

- Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP)

- Local Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program

- Co-operative Education

- Job Connect

- Apprenticeship Terms

2. Research! Research! Research!

Gather timely and relevant information about your trade of interest before you decide to dedicate yourself to something just because there are opportunities. It’s vital to your success do some background research.

Some things to consider:

  • Educational requirements
  • Training
  • Pre-apprenticeship Courses
  • Time requirements to complete an apprenticeship
  • Wages
  • Educational Costs
  • Cost of Tools
  • Present and future employability outlook
  • Work environment
  • Challenges of the trade
  • Unionized vs. non-unionized work environments
  • Life-long learning

The following are some techniques to help you with your research:

Information interviews
An information interview is arranging to speak with someone working in a trade, company or career you are interested in. The purpose is to gain current information from an "insider" point of view. The goal is not to obtain an apprenticeship but to merely receive information, advice about the trade and the tradeperson's experience.

Who to contact?
Ask family, friends, neighbours, instructors, career counsellors, anyone who may be in the trade or have a contact to refer you to. You can also seek your own contacts to set up an information interview by calling individuals and businesses from:

  • the yellow pages
  • business directories
  • unions/associations eg. HARA at 1-866-309-HARA (4272)
  • articles in the newspapers
  • trade magazines

What to say?
Follow the general guidelines for making a cold call. You simply need to alter your script to suit your request for an information interview. See below for cold call guidelines.

How to prepare?
Treat an information interview like you would a regular job interview. See below to refer to the interview guidelines.

You should also be prepared with a list of questions and topics to discuss. Click here for some suggestions.

Job shadow
Job shadowing allows you the opportunity to accompany a tradesperson during a typical day of work. This may help clarify if you would enjoy this particular trade. Click here for an example of a job shadow experience

Surf the internet The internet has the ability to offer up to date information right at your finger tips. The following sections on may prove helpful:

  • Job seeker news & issues
  • Job seeker links & resources
  • Discussion forum
  • Collision Repair Information

3. Set out a plan of action

A plan is like a map, getting you from point A to point B. It's been proven time and time again, those individuals who set specific, realistic, and attainable goals are much more successful than those who do not. Here are some factors you may need to consider while setting your plan:

  • Training timelines
  • Upgrading current education i.e. obtain high school diploma
  • Cost of tools, training
  • Financial and family situation
  • Time to complete apprenticeship

The SMART guidelines for setting out your action plan may prove helpful. Determine if the goals you set are specific enough. Can you answer the six “W” questions?

Always remember if you are having trouble setting out your plan or goals seek out the assistance of a career counsellor.

4. Ensure your job search tools are in top shape


Consider having the following to assist you in your job search:

A portfolio is like an expanded resume, showcasing your strengths, achievements and abilities in a visual format. It should include information that is relevant only to your trade of interest. It can include:

  • Letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts from courses
  • Pictures of work you have done - pictures could come from hobbies, volunteering or actual paid work experience including before, during and after photos to demonstrate your abilities
  • Anything else that demonstrates your abilities - be creative

5. Search for an employer to sponsor you

A well-rounded search for an apprenticeship involves many methods and techniques not just one or two. The following are some strategies to assist in helping you seek out opportunities:
Is a FREE web site that assists in making a match between people looking for apprenticeship training and employers offering apprenticeship training and jobs. It allows you to create a profile, post your resume, and apply to positions. Click above to visit

There are other websites that can be accessed to give you more information on apprenticeship.

Cold Calling
It is not uncommon for an employer advertising a job in the newspaper to receive an overwhelming response of a few hundred or more resumes at one time. Cold Calling is a proactive method to help avoid that steep competition and tap into the 70%-90% of unadvertised positions. It is usually made to a person who is not expecting to hear from you and doesn't know who you are. This strategy can be used over the phone or in person. Call HARA at 1-866-309-HARA (4272) and check out the employment ads at for shops that are hiring

Who to contact?
To obtain names of businesses, phone numbers or addresses you can use:

  • the yellow pages
  • business directories
  • unions/associations eg. HARA 1-866-309-HARA (4272)
  • articles in the newspapers
  • trade magazines

What to say?
Develop a short 30-40 second script for yourself to help organize your thoughts.
General guidelines for your script:

Introduce yourself
Ask to speak with the person in charge of hiring, be sure to obtain their name Ask if they have time to speak with you, if not ask when is a good time to call back Explain the reason for your call and be sure to market your skills and abilities If they are interested in what they hear be prepared for questions Objective: accept your resume, keep you in mind, obtain other contact names in the trade, keep in touch with them

Click here for a sample script

The term networking means to make connections. By talking and connecting with people you will be able to hear about unadvertised opportunities. It's a valuable method to find an apprenticeship. It is proven 70-90% of opportunities are filled by people who heard about a job through word of mouth. If you have made a contact, leave them with a business/networking card to increase the chances of contacting you if they hear of an opportunity.

Information Interviews
Conducting an information interview will help to increase your network of contacts in the trade.

Classified ads in the Newspaper
Keep in mind only 3-5% of jobs are ever advertised. It is ideal to keep your eye on the classifieds but definitely do not make that your sole focus.

Internet There are many internet based job search sites where employers may post opportunities. Here are a few to try:
Autobody Employment page

6. Ensure your interview skills are top-notch

As someone with little or no trades experience seeking an apprenticeship you need to set yourself apart and accurately market the skills, attitude, experience and abilities you have gained from all areas of your life. These areas could include; hobbies, volunteer opportunities, training or education and your everyday life activities.

Click here for some tips on marketing yourself in an interview.

7. Follow-up!

Follow-up means remaining in touch with the employer either by phone, email or in-person. It is a very important aspect in your job search unfortunately many people choose not to do so because they are afraid of being too forward. In reality many employers look for follow-up from job searchers as it displays interest, initiative, enthusiasm, and dedication. Consider following-up after having submitted your resume to ensure the employer has received it and it gives you the opportunity to market your skills and set yourself apart from the competition.

8. Keep positive and stay motivated!

The reality is, looking for an apprenticeship is hard work it could take months. It is important to keep yourself balanced and not get discouraged when things do not seem to be going the way you hoped. Surround yourself with people who are supportive and continue being involved in activities that you enjoy to keep you motivated. Also, keep open-mined and re-evaluate your job search approach when you find something isn’t working.

9. An employer wants to sponsor you - What next?

Now that you have found an employer to take you on as an apprentice, you must follow the steps set out by The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) to continue the process:

  • You or the employer must contact the MTCU at the nearest office Click here for contact information
  • Complete and sign the apprenticeship training agreement/contract of apprenticeship between you, the employer and the MTCU
  • Achieve the required on the job competencies
  • Complete your in-school training
  • Challenge the Trade Exam