An apprenticeship consists of on the job training, work experience, and formal classroom technical training. In general, an apprenticeship takes from 1 to 5 years to complete, depending on the trade you select.
There are various ways to become an apprentice, depending on your selected field of study. It’s important to research the options available to you in your area of interest.
The following outlines the options for becoming an apprentice at BCIT:
1. Foundation programs
Enrol in a full-time Foundation program, which can vary from 13 weeks to 10 months in length. Upon successful completion of a Foundation program, you will be granted credit for the first level (some trades have two levels) of apprenticeship training in your field by SkilledTradesBC. After completing a Foundation program, you would be hired by a company, work full time, and then return to BCIT for technical training once a year until your apprenticeship is completed. Students who complete a Foundation program are highly sought after by employers as they have the necessary skills to be immediately productive.
Foundation is available in more than 20 trades at BCIT, which ladder into apprenticeship training.
2. Apprenticeship training
If an employee and employer agree to enter into a contract for an apprenticeship, the employee or employer may contact SkilledTradesBC to register as an apprentice. The apprentice works full time for the employer and attends technical training at BCIT. For example, an Electrical apprentice would attend technical training 10 weeks a year, over a four year period to complete an apprenticeship. When the apprentice is not attending technical training s/he would be working to obtain the practical skills necessary to complete the apprenticeship requirements.
Apprenticeship Training is available in more than 20 trades.
3. BCIT diploma containing a cooperative education (co-op) component
Complete a BCIT full-time diploma program containing a co-op component. Co-op provides relevant industry work experience. Depending on the co-op program you choose, you can receive credit for levels 1, 2, and 3 of apprenticeship technical training if you later choose to pursue an apprenticeship. For some co-op programs, you could receive credit for all 4 levels of apprenticeship training – no further technical training required. All that would be left is to fulfill the practical on-the-job training required to complete their apprenticeship. The amount of required practical training varies according to the specific apprenticeship.
The following three co-op programs are available to apprentices:
- Automotive Service Technician and Operations
- Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
- CNC Machinist Technician
Benefits of apprenticeship training
- Earn while you learn. Eighty per cent (80%) of apprenticeship training is on the job.
- Skilled trade workers/journeypersons are in demand. This demand will increase in the future. Demand is provincial, national, and global.
- Most apprentices are eligible for Employment Insurance benefits while attending classroom technical training.
Choosing a trade
If you are unsure of what trade is for you, visit Program Advising for tips on researching and choosing a trade.
If you prefer a more practical hands-on approach to choosing a trade, find out more about our Trades Discovery or Trades Discovery for Women programs.