Apprentices: Don't Procrastinate, Get That Journeyperson Rate!
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Apprentices: Don't Procrastinate, Get That Journeyperson Rate!

Are you an apprentice? Here are the dos and don’ts of advancing your career and getting that journeyperson pay rate.

Don’t delay your school terms (unless absolutely necessary)

It’s never easy to go a few months without a paycheque, even with CLAC apprentice bursaries, EI benefits, and apprenticeship grants. However, a few delays can put you in a spot where you’re nearly done your hours, but you have multiple school terms to complete.

Do keep your paperwork in order

Paperwork isn’t fun, but it’s vital to completing your apprenticeship. So get over the mental hurdles and make copies of and file your registration papers, school transcripts, previous letters of employment, and ministry papers.

Do jump through the bureaucratic hoops

Even if you disagree with them, jump through the required hoops. File what you need to file. Pay what you need to pay. Get signed what you need to get signed.

Do keep track of your hours

In most trades, apprentices are entitled to move up every 1,800 hours. You’re even credited some hours for school terms. Don’t miss out on a raise of hundreds of dollars per month. Some employers may need a reminder when you hit the next threshold. Don’t be afraid to tell your boss, “Heads up, I’ll be a fourth year next week!”

Don’t leave money on the table

CLAC apprenticeship bursaries are available to member apprentices whose employer participates in CLAC’s training fund. Apply as soon as you’ve completed a school term. Government funds are available in each province, and many apprentices qualify for EI while in school. In addition, you may qualify for CLAC’s Frank Kooger Apprenticeship Award, Matthew Manuel Memorial Award, and scholarships

Don’t fear the exam

Test anxiety can get the better of the best of us. Don’t delay writing because of a fear that you may fail. Study hard. There are good test prep books and courses available (also available from CLAC). Once you have your hours, start studying and book your exam. If you don’t pass the first time, try again. Getting the license means a raise of as much as $7 or $8 per hour!

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