Earn While You Learn!
/ Author: Kari-Anne March
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Earn While You Learn!

Financial Benefits of a Trades Education

Did you know that students who enter into a Red Seal trade often complete their education with little to no student debt? The apprenticeship system is set up so that students are able to earn while they learn as each academic year is spent with approximately ten months of paid on-the-job training and only two months of in-class training.

In addition to short classroom time, there are several employer, union, and government incentives, loans, and grants offered to apprentices registered in the Red Seal trades, making their technical training even more accessible. Some of these funding options include



In addition to the abundant resources available to attract apprentices to the skilled trades, the overall cost of technical training at a publicly funded college is significantly lower than that of a university program. The University of Alberta estimates the first year of a general arts program will cost $8,673, while the first year in most trades programs in Alberta ranges from $680 to $1,175, plus the cost of books.

In 2017, IPSOS conducted a survey of Canadian graduates under 40 and found that 77 percent of those surveyed regretted taking on so much student debt to complete a degree, diploma, or certificate. By pursuing a career in the skilled trades and taking full advantage of the numerous grants available to apprentices, most people can avoid starting their careers with a pocket full of debt. 

For those who do not want to work on site or in the shops for their entire career, there are also several options for journeypersons to expand their careers such as the Bridge-to-Teacher Certification Program, or Blue Seal Programs, including business management and/or supervisory development specializations. Not only can you earn while you learn, but those who pursue a career in the skilled trades have unlimited career opportunities without the overwhelming burden of student debt.

For more information on student funding or assistance navigating the apprenticeship pathway, please visit clac.ca/Your-work/Apprenticeship or contact your local CLAC Training Team.


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