How Training Works in the Construction Industry How Training Works in the Construction Industry

Who Provides Training?

Training is offered by the following types of providers:

  • Aboriginal organizations, communities or governments
  • ASET holders and other Aboriginal Trade Centres
  • Government (provincial and federal)
  • Labour groups
  • Educational institutions, and public colleges
  • Construction industry associations - such as those specialized in safety, or a particular trade or category of construction (see here) - industry apprenticeship boards, and large individual employer organizations
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Sector councils, such as Construction and Aboriginal Human Resources
  • Partnerships of any of the above

What Training is available for workers?

Training for workers falls into the following categories:

  • Pre-Apprenticeship
  • Apprenticeship
  • Trades
  • Upgrading
  • Construction skills
  • Trades introduction
  • Trades access
  • Management
  • Dual apprenticeship, certificate/diploma
  • Trades/engineering

The content of training for workers falls into three categories (see examples of each below):

  1. Employment and career awareness
  2. Practical training
  3. Apprenticeship initiatives

1. Examples of employment and career awareness training:

  • An Aboriginal organization training program during which trainees receive counselling and assistance in accessing financial and academic and moral support.
  • A provincial government initiative that works with local employers to find work placements for high school students enrolled in a career awareness program.
  • A provincial government program aimed at high school-aged youth that offers information on skilled trades such as job descriptions, expected salary ranges, and job futures.  They help connect youth to the educational and training facilities in the province to get them started in the skilled trades immediately after high school.
  • An Aboriginal organization program that assists individuals with training, job identification, job coaching and wage subsidies.
  • An Aboriginal organization program that gives people information on the different career paths available to them and guides them through the steps necessary for them to reach their goals; it also finds job placements for them.
  • A provincial government employment benefit program which is designed to encourage employers to hire eligible individuals and provide them with on the job work experience to enhance their skills and employability.
  • An Aboriginal organization program, which partners with a specific sector, to offer a six-week pre-entry strategy to train students with the practical and essential skills, safety training, and communication standards needed to succeed in the field.
  • An Aboriginal organization program that helps participants learn how the construction industry works, and get an inside perspective of what is expected, what they can offer, and what it takes to get a well paying job.  Candidates become safety-certified, making them potentially more attractive to employers and likely to receive greater wages.  Candidates also learn how to connect with employers through job searches, placement and referrals. The training provider provides the initial assessments, screening, safety and essential skills training as well as gear to get the candidates into an apprenticeship as soon as possible.
  • An industry organization, partnering with a provincial apprenticeship commission, offers a program that enables those working in the carpentry sub-trades to indenture as an apprentice and receive the required training to become a certified framer, interior finisher, exterior finisher, and concrete form worker.
  • An industry association program that aims to foster interest in careers in the skilled trades by offering mentoring programs to individuals in the following areas: Interior Finishing, Formwork, Exterior Finishing, and Framing.  Upon successful completion of the program, students are given the opportunity to be placed in jobs in their related field.

2. Examples of practical training:

  • Programs offered by government, labour groups, industry and education institutions that offer a hands-on opportunity to try out various trades.
  • An Aboriginal government program that incorporates Aboriginal cultural components, such as language, traditions and values, into learning about the trade.
  • Specific training for a trade offered by an educational institution – e.g. Level 1 carpentry.
  • An industry organization that trains individuals in the safe operation of transport trucks and helps to prepare them for their Class 1 drivers test.
  • A provincial labour group that offers pre-employment training programs for individuals interested in learning the carpenter and bricklayer trades.

3. Examples of apprenticeship initiatives:

  • A provincial government program that provides information for new and would-be apprentices on everything from basic information about trades, how to become an apprentice, how to apply for scholarships/financial assistance, to information and contacts on where to look for work.
  • A non-profit program that offers information to potential Aboriginal apprentices on how to get started in the trades and where to receive training.
  • A provincial government and industry website that helps to match up new and current apprentices with interested employers through the use of their online database.  They also offer information on the different types of apprenticeship programs in the province and where individuals can go to receive training.
  • A provincial labour group program that provides information on how to become an apprentice, how to become a journeyperson, how to obtain certification, information on getting on hiring waiting lists (e.g., during recessionary periods), information on the Red Seal program and federal apprenticeship grants.
  • A comprehensive 22-week training program from a non-profit organization that offers life skills and workplace safety training; assisted job search; and 20 weeks of paid work in the construction field, which aims to equip participants with enough experience to continue working in construction or begin an apprenticeship in one of the trades areas.

Note that these are examples of what is available nationally; not all of these programs may be available in every province or territory. For a complete list, see

What training or support services are available for employers?

Several programs offer information to employers, service agencies and training providers to assist Aboriginal people in the trades. Here are a few examples:

  • A government program that matches employers with workers who have experience in, or who want to work in, the skilled trades.
  • A provincial industry safety association that provides safety courses for construction firms and their employees.
  • An Aboriginal organization program that provides support and referral services to employers looking for skilled labourers.
  • An Aboriginal organization training program in which the organization meets with industry partners and employers to identify hiring needs, and then works with the local community college to develop a training program that will meet these needs.

Note that these are examples of what is available nationally; not all of these programs may be available in every province or territory. For a complete list, see

What qualifications can be earned?

Training can lead to any of the following qualifications:

  • Certification and provincial certification – for more information, consult the list of Territorial and Provincial Apprenticeship Offices in Section 3 [link].
  • Red Seal: tradespersons who successfully write the Interprovincial Standards Examination for their trade obtain a Red Seal endorsement on their Certificate of Qualification
  • Gold Seal: a national certification program for construction Project Managers, Superintendents, Estimators and Owners’ Project Managers. For more information, visit the Canadian Construction Association website.
  • Safety: for use of specific equipment or machinery, or working with hazardous materials.
  • Industry (AHRI) Certification - heating, ventilation, air conditioning and commercial refrigeration (HVACR) industry's performance certification programs for heating and cooling equipment and components. For more information, see http://www.ahrinet.org/content/ahricertificationprograms_732.aspx
  • Diploma or certification for specific skills and trades: e.g. Electrical Construction & Industrial - Diploma

What are the eligibility criteria for training programs?

Eligibility requirements differ for each training program. Some programs have no requirements at all, while others require students to have previous experience in the construction industry. Following are some of the more common criteria identified:

  • Some are offered only to people at a specific career stage – e.g. high school student, high school graduate.
  • Most apprenticeship programs require the applicant to be 18 years of age.
  • While some are offered only to First Nations persons seeking employment, others are open to any potential construction worker or person with a demonstrated interest in skilled trades, or in the construction industry in general.
  • Most require the applicant to be physically healthy and be living a “healthy lifestyle.”
  • Some require applicants to meet basic industry certification standards.
  • For applicants to apprenticeships, there may be a requirement to have worked in the trade they want to train in.
  • Certain equipment operators must have a driver's licence and pass a comprehension test.
  • If a person is applying to a Red Seal program, the applicant may need to be sponsored by an employer.
  • Many programs are open only to individual applicants, employers or service providers based in a certain region.
  • Some programs base eligibility on the individual's economic status – i.e. unemployed or underemployed.

Funding Opportunities for Training

The vast majority of training programs have a cost involved. Free-of-charge programs are offered, however, by some labour groups to their members, and by some provincial and territorial governments, for residents of that jurisdiction. Funding opportunities change often, so it is best to contact industry or Aboriginal stakeholders, federal/provincial/territorial government representatives, knowledgeable insiders and relevant websites. In addition to the apprenticeship-related funding identified in Section 3 [link], other funding programs available to individuals and employers include the following:

  • The Government of Canada’s apprenticeship incentive grants (link to: http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/workplaceskills/trades_apprenticeship/index.shtml) and other programs provide financial help to apprentices and qualified tradespersons.
  • The Betty Spalton Trust Fund was established in 1999 to provide financial support to individuals obtaining an education in fields associated with the road building and heavy construction industry. As one of the goals of this fund is to encourage diversity in the industry, preference is given to women and/or members of minority groups. The fund honours Betty Spalton, an industry and association leader who died after a brief illness in 1999. The Betty Spalton Trust Fund is a merit-based scholarship, awarding the successful candidate $1,500 for study and living expenses. See http://www.roadbuilders.bc.ca.  
  • The SCA Saskatchewan Youth Apprenticeship Scholarship offers 40 scholarships per year of $1,000 each to apprentices who complete the program. See http://www.scaonline.ca.  
  • Building Trades of Alberta is a labour organization that represents the skilled trades in the province. It offers several scholarships each year for students in skilled trades such as iron working, boiler making, operating engineers, as well as general building trades scholarships. See http://www.buildingtradesalberta.ca/alberta_trade_scholarships.php.
  • Workplace Training is a program to provide financial support to employers in Prince Edward Island to assist in the development and provision of job-specific training. This program will support training initiatives by funding a portion of the salaries of employees while on training and other related training costs. See http://www.skillspei.com/index.php?page=alias-3.
  • ·      The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Aboriginal people in tough economic times through targeted investments to improve their skills development and employability, and to help them secure long-term jobs. For a Fact Sheet on Support for Aboriginal People, see http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/corporate/budget/2009/sap.shtml.
  • The Aboriginal Canada Portal offers an interactive tool to locate different types of funding available specifically for Aboriginal peoples in Canada, including internships and apprenticeships, scholarships and bursaries. See http://www.aboriginalcanada.gc.ca/acp/site.nsf/eng/funding.html.