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Old 11-30-2018, 12:32 PM   #1
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Default IBEW 353 or CUSW apprenticeship ?

Hi I'm trying to start my career as an electrical apprentice but have come to a kind of crossroad. I want to work union as I've been trying to get a non-union apprenticeship and have had no luck. I have found an IBEW contractor who was written me a electrical pre apprenticeship sponsor letter for the low rise residential, it is to my understanding that I still have to wait for a JAC intake and then do a 1800 pre apprenticeship before even beginning my apprenticeship. where as the CUSW is accepting applications all year round and there is no pre apprenticeship required the only down side being the travel.. which I don't mind.

Can you please give me your thoughts, opinions and advice.
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Old 11-30-2018, 12:58 PM   #2
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What is CUSW?

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Old 11-30-2018, 01:25 PM   #3
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Take ANYTHING you can for now without putting out money for training.
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Old 11-30-2018, 01:43 PM   #4
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The CUSW is the canadian skilled workers union
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Old 11-30-2018, 01:47 PM   #5
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Welcome to Electrician Talk.
Please take a few minutes and fill out your profile. Maybe your location and what you do for a living.
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Old 01-03-2019, 09:27 PM   #6
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Depends - is CUSW or IBEW making you pay for anything?

IBEW wanted me to pay $5000 for a pre-apprenticeship program - after I had already graduated from a very similar program at a community college. I thought, **** that. CUSW was going to be my second choice, but I didn't have a car. (I ended up going non-union, fingers crossed it works out for me but that's another story.)

Anyway, if you want to go union, find out if IBEW or CUSW want you to pay for things. Then, go with the one that's cheaper. I can tell you from experience that paying for tools and education yourself isn't very fun.

Apprentices already make so little that, in my opinion, you really don't want to be shelling out the cash for tools and **** unless you either can't find anything else or really hate unions, I guess. Just my $0.02.
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Old 01-05-2019, 07:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by SLaSZT View Post
Depends - is CUSW or IBEW making you pay for anything?

IBEW wanted me to pay $5000 for a pre-apprenticeship program - after I had already graduated from a very similar program at a community college. I thought, **** that. CUSW was going to be my second choice, but I didn't have a car. (I ended up going non-union, fingers crossed it works out for me but that's another story.)

Anyway, if you want to go union, find out if IBEW or CUSW want you to pay for things. Then, go with the one that's cheaper. I can tell you from experience that paying for tools and education yourself isn't very fun.

Apprentices already make so little that, in my opinion, you really don't want to be shelling out the cash for tools and **** unless you either can't find anything else or really hate unions, I guess. Just my $0.02.
I agree with SLaSZT.

SLaSZT, can you get your red seal or whatever licenses they like up there without a formal apprenticeship?
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Old 01-05-2019, 08:01 PM   #8
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Up here everyone goes to the same school, union and non union. It is funded by the government and held at community colleges. There is no union trade school. The unions do have tons of free training for their apprentices and journeymen but you still have to attend trade school at the colleges if you want to write the red seal national license.

You can challenge the red seal test if you can prove you have experience. It is more for electricians coming from other countries.
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Old 01-05-2019, 09:20 PM   #9
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SLaSZT, can you get your red seal or whatever licenses they like up there without a formal apprenticeship?
Basically what eddy said. Everyone goes to the same trade schools, union or non-union, but some IBEW locals (specifically 804 in my case) have decided to implement a mandatory pre-apprenticeship program for all IBEW apprentices during the intake process.

Normally that would be fine, except that prospective apprentices have to pay for it out of pocket, which I think creates a giant barrier for people who are quick learners and willing to work hard but can't afford to apply.

Since I can still get my Red Seal non-union, I decided to go with the option that had fewer up-front costs and less travel, although I do have to pay for all of my own tools and schooling now. Probably almost the same price, honestly, so I don't think I'll regret it.
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Old 01-05-2019, 09:44 PM   #10
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Old 01-05-2019, 09:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by cb879 View Post
Hi I'm trying to start my career as an electrical apprentice but have come to a kind of crossroad. I want to work union as I've been trying to get a non-union apprenticeship and have had no luck. I have found an IBEW contractor who was written me a electrical pre apprenticeship sponsor letter for the low rise residential, it is to my understanding that I still have to wait for a JAC intake and then do a 1800 pre apprenticeship before even beginning my apprenticeship. where as the CUSW is accepting applications all year round and there is no pre apprenticeship required the only down side being the travel.. which I don't mind.

Can you please give me your thoughts, opinions and advice.


I have no regrets working CUSW , but I do work as radiation safety for them in the nukes here in Ontario.


We CUSW, The Canadian Union of skilled Workers is EX local 1788 , we do thing differently, we get rrsp,s instead of a pension, we are Canadian, our moneys stays here. We Basically do all the Hydro Plants and hydro one as well.
We bargain with employers Direct. We share the same list as the Power Workers, for Electricians,
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