Trades and Apprenticeship

Skilled trade workers are highly sought after by employers in today's job market.

BCIT offers trades training in two main ways: Through foundation training, and through apprenticeship training.

Foundation training

Full time Foundation programs can vary from 13 weeks to 10 months in duration.

Upon successful completion of the Foundation program, the student will be granted credit for the first level (some trades have 2 levels) of apprenticeship training in a specific field by the Industry Training Authority. Upon successful completion of a Foundation program, the student would be hired by a company, work full time and return to BCIT for technical training once a year until the apprenticeship is completed. A student who completes a Foundation program is highly sought after by employers as the student has attained the necessary skills to be immediately productive on the work site.

Foundation training is available in more than 20 trades at BCIT which ladder into apprenticeship training.

Apprenticeship training

An apprenticeship consists of on-the-job training, work experience, and technical training in the classroom. In general, an apprenticeship take from one to five years to complete depending on the trade. There are different ways to become an apprentice, and some options are not available for every trade.

Basic apprenticeship training

This option allows an employee and employer to enter into a contract for apprenticeship. The employee registers as an apprentice with the Industry Training Authority, works full-time, and returns to BCIT for technical training once per year until the apprenticeship is completed. Basic apprenticeship training is available in more than 25 trades at BCIT.

BCIT diploma with co-operative education

In this option students complete a full-time diploma program at BCIT, including a co-operative education component. Co-op is a short-term job placement that provides students with relevant industry work experience. Depending on the co-op program students can receive credit for up to four levels of apprenticeship training. The diploma with co-op option is available in seven apprenticeship programs at BCIT.

Choosing a trade

Students are encouraged to explore their options. Some trades are very well-known and popular, but students should not overlook the lesser-known trades - some of which have extreme shortages of skilled trades people in the workforce. If a student isn't sure which trade is for him or her, contact BCIT Program Advising for help.

BCIT also offers 16-week Trades Discovery and Trades Discovery for Women programs, where students try out 20 different trades to help decide which one is best for them.

Future goals

A student may complete a diploma or ELTT program to be hired as an apprentice and seek apprenticeship training; completion of which will qualify the student as a journeyed trades-person. Afterwards, he or she can pursue other educational options or higher credentials, including a degree.