Building Foundations: Explore Pre-Apprenticeship Programs

Get an early start on your skilled trades career

As with most professions, you can start a skilled trades career at any stage of your life. But if you’re young and already know you want to pursue an exciting and rewarding career in the trades, there are several ways to get an early start.

Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program

Another way to acquire the skills needed to enter a trade: participate in a pre-apprenticeship training program. These programs are geared towards individuals who may not have their Grade 12 (or equivalent), which is typically the academic requirement for most trades in Ontario.

In essence, these programs help you quickly gather the knowledge needed to start an apprenticeship. For individuals who may not have decided on a particular trade while still in high school – such as through the OYAP – a pre-apprenticeship training program can help you get started.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know about these types of programs:

  • Typically, they’re free
  • They’re offered through a variety of organizations, including Ontario colleges and community agencies
  • Training lasts for up to 52 weeks (or one year) and can start at different times throughout the calendar
  • Programs include safety training
  • Many programs focus on helping you develop essential academic skills related to your trade
  • Programs feature a work placement for between eight and 12 weeks


Pre-apprenticeship programs are geared towards individuals looking to earn their grade 12 equivalent, but they remain open to those who have already graduated from high school, as well. They’re also open to those who are unemployed or underemployed, as well as Indigenous peoples, newcomers to Canada, women, Francophones, and at-risk youth.

Getting started

Finding a pre-apprenticeship program typically means doing some searching for opportunities in your community. If you need help, the Government of Ontario has employment counsellors on hand who can point you in the right direction.