Secondary School Apprenticeship Programs

Secondary School Apprenticeship Programs (SSAPs) are offered in most provinces and territories. They let you get a head start on a construction career while you're still in high school. Through on-the-job training, many of these programs allow you to earn credit towards both your certification and your high school diploma. Some of these programs also offer scholarships and awards for eligible students.

Eligibility for these programs depends on the province or territory where you live. In most provinces and territories, you must be at least 16 years old and have completed Grade 10.

SSAPs involve an agreement between you, your employer and your school. Your work hours will depend on the agreement, but the options include:

  • working as an apprentice for one semester and going to school the next
  • working half a day and going to school the other half
  • working during the summer and on holidays and weekends, and attending school during the regular term
  • working one or two days a week and going to school the other days

If you're already working part-time in construction, you may be able to register as a secondary school apprentice. Ask your school's career counsellor if the work you perform qualifies.

If you take Career and Technology Studies (CTS) classes in high school, you may receive credits towards an apprenticeship. The same is true for some post-secondary training. These credits can shorten the time it takes to complete an apprenticeship and become a certified journeyperson.

Alberta Registered Apprenticeship Program

The Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) lets you start apprenticeship training and earn wages while you're completing high school. It also gives you access to other programs, including the Apprenticeship Training Program, Interprovincial Standard (Red Seal) Program, Prior Learning Assessment, and the Qualifications Certificate Program.

The program operates through an agreement between you, your employer and your school. You and your employer must complete an application/contract and send it to the Apprenticeship and Industry Training office to be registered.

Each year, RAP awards 500 Alberta students with $1,000 to help them continue in their apprenticeship programs.

There are also many apprenticeship scholarships available in Alberta that aren't specific to RAP.

Visit Apprenticeship and Industry Training for more information.

Another option for getting a head start on your career while you're still in high school is to visit CAREERS: The Next Generation. CAREERS is dedicated to helping Alberta students explore career options through workplace internships.

British Columbia Secondary School Apprenticeship

The Secondary School Apprenticeship (SSA) offered by the British Columbia Ministry of Education, Career and Applied Programs provides high school students with the chance to enroll in apprenticeship programs while finishing high school. The program offers $1,000 scholarships to eligible students.

You must be at least 15 years of age to qualify. For information on what kind of work qualifies for the program and about how to register, talk to your school's career counsellor or check out the Industry Training Authority's Web site.

Manitoba Senior Years Apprenticeship Option

The Senior Years Apprenticeship Option (SYAO) program lets you start an apprenticeship while you are still in high school. It combines regular Senior Years school instruction with paid, part-time, on-the-job apprenticeship training.

You must be at least 16 years old to qualify. You must be taking core subjects S1-4, have completed S2, and be enrolled in an approved Manitoba S3 or S4 program.

You also need a qualified and insured employer. The SYAO coordinator will work with you, your employer and your school guidance counsellor to ensure that you meet the academic requirements to graduate and to schedule work time when you are not taking classes.

For more information, talk to your school guidance counsellor or click here.

New Brunswick Youth Apprenticeship Program

New Brunswick's Youth Apprenticeship Program (YAP) is open to high school students in Grades 10 or 11. The program gives you the chance to combine high school classes related to your career interests with on-the-job experience in the same field. If you're accepted into the program, you will work two summers for a minimum of 200 hours each and receive a minimum of 100 hours of employability skills training. The training is delivered by professionals in the business community and takes place outside of regular school hours.

YAP provides you with a Record of Achievement that's valuable as proof of your experience when you enter the workforce. Completion of the program also guarantees you a seat at New Brunswick Community College or preferred status at the University of New Brunswick in a program related to your work experience.

For more information, click here.

Northwest Territories Schools North Apprenticeship Program

The Schools North Apprenticeship Program (SNAP) lets high school students become registered apprentices. If you enroll in SNAP, you can earn both credits toward a journeyperson certificate and secondary school credits earned through Career and Technology Studies (CTS).

To qualify for SNAP you must be 16 years of age and be taking courses for a high school diploma.

You must also go through a trial employment period lasting from one to three months before your employer will decide whether to offer you an apprenticeship contract.

For more information on SNAP, talk to your school principal, career counsellor or SNAP coordinator, or contact the Northwest Territories Ministry of Education, Culture and Employment.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is launching a youth apprenticeship program in 2006. The program will be open to high school students who are 16 years of age and older. Through the youth apprenticeship program you will be able to work towards an apprenticeship while you're in high school.

For more information, contact the Nova Scotia Department of Education.

Ontario Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is a year-round co-op work/study program for high school students. OYAP lets you work as a registered apprentice while you complete your Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

To qualify you must:

  • be entering Grade 11 and be at least 16 years of age
  • have completed 16 credits with a minimum of a 70% average
  • maintain a 70% average while you are in the two-year program

For more information, contact the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

Prince Edward Island Accelerated Secondary Apprenticeship Program

The Accelerated Secondary Apprenticeship Program (ASAP) is Prince Edward Island's youth apprenticeship program. It provides high school students with an opportunity to get a head start on their post-secondary apprenticeship training. Through a combination of on-the-job experience and course work, you can make money in the trade of your choice while earning credits toward both your apprenticeship and your high school diploma.

To qualify you must be at least 16 years of age, enrolled in high school, and employed full- or part-time in a designated trade.

For more information and to find out how to apply, click here.


Quebec offers more than 450 vocational and technical education programs, which prepare students for the labour market in 21 sectors.

Vocational and technical education programs operate under the apprenticeship system, which is run jointly by Emploi-Québec and the Quebec Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sport. The programs include at least one session of on-the-job training. Some alternate between classroom and workplace training, while others include workplace experience at the end of in-school training.

Vocational education programs

Vocational education programs are offered in public and private secondary schools.

There are three types of programs:

  1. A Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS)
  2. An Attestation of Vocational Specialization (AVS)
  3. A Vocational Education Certificate (VEC)

To enter a DVS program you must:

  • hold a Secondary School Diploma (SSD) or the equivalent, or
  • be 16 years of age by September 30 of the school year and have completed Secondary III or IV credits, or the equivalent, required for your program.

To enter an AVS program, you must have the prerequisite DVS or equivalent.

To enter a VEC program you must be at least 15 years of age and have passed the basic Secondary II courses in the language of instruction, mathematics and any additional credits required for the program.

Technical education programs

Technical education programs are offered at the college level in CEGEPs and private institutions.

There are two types of programs:

  1. A diploma of college studies or Diplôme d'études collégiales (DEC), or
  2. An attestation of college studies or Attestation d'études collégiales (AEC)

To enter a DEC program you must meet the requirements for pre-university programs that lead to a DEC.

To enter an AEC program you must:

  • have interrupted your studies for two consecutive terms or one academic year, and
  • have completed at least one year of post-secondary studies.

AEC programs are developed by colleges in partnership with government and industry. They are only available for some construction trades. Ask your school counsellor for more information or visit the Quebec Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sport's Inforoute.


Saskatchewan is developing a youth apprenticeship program and will implement it in 2005–06, if resources allow. In the pilot program, which is being run in two high schools in 2005, students receive apprenticeship credit and work experience.

For more information, contact the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission.

Yukon Yukon Secondary School Apprenticeship Program

The Yukon Secondary School Apprenticeship Program (YSSAP) is open to Grade 11 and 12 students who would like to explore a construction career and complete high school at the same time. The program involves a semester of pre-apprenticeship courses and unpaid work placements that will help prepare you for employment as an apprentice.

For more information, talk to your school guidance counsellor or visit the Yukon Territory Department of Education, Advanced Education Branch online.