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Finding the Right Apprentice

1.  First, have a think about what your company needs.

What occupation or trade do you want an apprentice to fill? What knowledge and skills will they need to develop? What qualifications, interests or abilities should they have already? Just as important, what kind of person should they be to work well with your team? Here’s a tip from Eric Lessard, President and owner of the Petro-Canada Certigard in Sainte-Foy, Quebec:

We can teach them the technical skills they require, but the strong work ethic, positive attitude and ambition needs to come from within the individual. That is why he looks for employees with ‘heart’, who want to do well and have a willingness to learn. These are the qualities that result in productive employees and a successful company.”

2.  Ask your own employees.

Your employees and journeypersons are in a good position to introduce good candidates. So are your current apprentices if you have any. In fact, [Name], who owns a successful landscaping business, told us that his current apprentices have become his best source for new ones. “They’re great recruiters,” he says. “Landscaping isn’t just a job to them – it’s a career choice they’ve made. They’re excited and they want others to get involved.”

The point is, your own employees will often know job seekers, and because they also know your company they have a good feel for who would make a good addition to your team. What’s more, they can give candidates a useful perspective on your company and the opportunities it offers. It all helps toward ensuring the right fit.

3.  Talk to your local high school or community college.

Many high schools run pre-apprenticeship programs for a variety of trades, and their career counsellors will know of students who are looking for work placements. Community colleges also have students and recent grads looking for employer sponsors, and they can help you find a good match. If you have time, you can even attend career fairs at local schools.

4.  Contact your union or trade association.

In some industries, trade unions act as employer sponsors for apprentices, and are looking for employers to provide short term work placements. This is a great way to see if an individual is a good fit with your company without taking on a long term responsibility.

5.  Scan the want ads or advertise online.

Check out LinkedIn Recruiter, ca.indeed.com, workopolis.com and ziprecruiter.com for talented young men and women who are eager to enter the trades.

6. Ask your Apprenticeship Authority

Visit the Red Seal website and connect to your provincial or territorial Apprenticeship Office. If you are unfamiliar with local resources, your local employer association can point you in the right direction.

7. Remember, Apprenticeship Pays

It pays in productivity and profits, customer satisfaction, employer morale and much, much more. Access CAF-FCA’s brochure, Apprenticeship: An Introduction for Employers and our Employer Handbook to get more tips and resources.

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