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Hi. I am an 29 years old guy who worked as a cook before and want to be an electrician.

I want to ask you whether I can begin my career with IBEW without experience and knowledge. Do most electricians begin in colleges first or union first?

I have trouble in getting the first apprentice job. I applied for IBEW and finished aptitude test 2 months ago but I haven't got any updates until now. They say they are behind because of current pandemic situation. I tried to get a job without union but most of employers didn't even check my applications on indeed. I thought I need different strategy or something cause I didn't think I will be hired like this. It is obvious that it's hard to get a sponsor like that cause I received application update email from indeed and I saw there were 100 to 1000 applicants for an apprentice job.

I asked a Korean Youtuber who works as an electrician in Ontario and his reply was it's better for me to go to college first. However, based on my experience, it's not good to go to college prior to get a job and a sponsor I think. When I was a cook apprentice program in George Brown college, school tuition was amazingly cheap. it was only 680 CAD for a semester. Also, when I first came to Canada in 2013, I applied for automotive service technician program in Centennial college without co-op and most students quit the program after the first semester cause they realized it has no merit for a job at all. If they take apprentice program, tuition is cheaper and also they can save time. Unless they are in programs with co-ops, it is just the waste of money people said and I agree about that.

So is it better to wait for IBEW or to go to college first? If it is better to go to college, 2 years program or 3 years program with co-op?
 

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There are lots of threads on this topic. You cannot start an apprenticeship and go to college without a sponsor. Most colleges offer an “Electrical Techniques” program of some sort, which often mirrors portions of the apprenticeship, but other then that there is no advantage IMHO.

Employers are not hiring apprentices because they need journeymen, they don't need untrained apprentices… catch 22 situation.

Cheers
John
 

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There are lots of threads on this topic. You cannot start an apprenticeship and go to college without a sponsor. Most colleges offer an “Electrical Techniques” program of some sort, which often mirrors portions of the apprenticeship, but other then that there is no advantage IMHO.

Employers are not hiring apprentices because they need journeymen, they don't need untrained apprentices… catch 22 situation.

Cheers
John
It is helpful. Thanks
 

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Here in British Columbia the trade schools have a "Foundation" program. You go to school for~ 6 months and you will be accredited your first year of schooling and 400 hours towards towards you apprenticeship.
Getting that first bit of experience is challenging. For about the first 4-6 months of a green guys work he isn't making the company money because he just doesn't know anything. After that, IMHO, that's an opportunity for a company to make a lot of money because you pay apprenticeship wages but can charge far more.
 

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Man... you guys live in a different world. We hire apprentices like crazy and work their tails off.
 

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From what I've seen and heard in my little corner of southern Ontario (Hour north of TO), the hardest part - by far - of becoming an licensed electrician here is getting someone to sign you on as an apprentice. I was lucky. I got an opportunity for a 442A apprenticeship while working on the production floor of a local factory. And that only came about because the union contract required taking on apprentices before hiring off the street. In a lot of ways, it is still a buyer's market so to speak. Who wants to take the risk/responsibility of an apprentice and then have them leave after getting their license? If you know an electrical contractor well enough to discuss this issue, ask him/her point blank: What would it take for you to hire a "green' electrical apprentice? That might be worth discussing in it's own thread....
 

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that's a bit of a quandary! having the book smarts and certificates may look good on paper But nothing and I mean nothing can beat practical experience and training you will get with an apprenticeship.
the key is you have to apply yourself and dedicate yourself to some serious learning!
this means a few simple rules.
1 pay attention to what your journeyman or master is telling you!
2 take copious notes often and study them every chance you get!
3 do not ever come to work under the influence of any drug or alcohol!
4 do as your told and learn from it,
5 do not be afraid to ask questions no matter how they might sound!
6 do not be late be ready for work when the job day starts.
7 and above all leave the damn cell phone in your locker or in your vehicle!

these rules are for your safety and the safety of others, being careless or complacent can get you a painful shock or death!

my old master told me that electricity is like an old dog as long as you are careful with it you are fine But if you are careless and rough with it, It will bite you hard!
 

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that's a bit of a quandary! having the book smarts and certificates may look good on paper But nothing and I mean nothing can beat practical experience and training you will get with an apprenticeship.
the key is you have to apply yourself and dedicate yourself to some serious learning!
this means a few simple rules.
1 pay attention to what your journeyman or master is telling you!
2 take copious notes often and study them every chance you get!
3 do not ever come to work under the influence of any drug or alcohol!
4 do as your told and learn from it,
5 do not be afraid to ask questions no matter how they might sound!
6 do not be late be ready for work when the job day starts.
7 and above all leave the damn cell phone in your locker or in your vehicle!

these rules are for your safety and the safety of others, being careless or complacent can get you a painful shock or death!

my old master told me that electricity is like an old dog as long as you are careful with it you are fine But if you are careless and rough with it, It will bite you hard!
Had to fire a guy because of #7. He simply could not resist answering his iPhone, and would at times actually go hide and gab for 15 to 30 minutes. :mad:
 

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Man... you guys live in a different world. We hire apprentices like crazy and work their tails off.
The issue for us in Ontario (and I think the rest of the country) is that we have a journeyperson to apprentice ratio of 1:1. If you have your ratio full, you cannot hire another apprentice. There is no such thing as an Electrical Helper or Electrical Labourer, etc. You have to fall into one of three categories, Journeyperson (JP), Apprentice (AP) or Journeyperson Candidate (JC).

Generally speaking there is a limited number of JP in most areas, so they need to hire more JP before they can get an apprentice. Chances are if they are a small shop, they need someone that can work more independently, so likely a JP... they don't have the time or resources to train up some apprentices.

Cheers
John
 

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The issue for us in Ontario (and I think the rest of the country) is that we have a journeyperson to apprentice ratio of 1:1. If you have your ratio full, you cannot hire another apprentice. There is no such thing as an Electrical Helper or Electrical Labourer, etc. You have to fall into one of three categories, Journeyperson (JP), Apprentice (AP) or Journeyperson Candidate (JC).

Generally speaking there is a limited number of JP in most areas, so they need to hire more JP before they can get an apprentice. Chances are if they are a small shop, they need someone that can work more independently, so likely a JP... they don't have the time or resources to train up some apprentices.

Cheers
John
Wouldn’t a 1:1 ratio allow more apprentices? Like a company that has 60 workers could have 30 apprentices and 30 journeymen.
compared to the old 3:1 ratio that same company would have only 15 apprentices and 45 journeymen.
 

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The issue for us in Ontario (and I think the rest of the country) is that we have a journeyperson to apprentice ratio of 1:1. If you have your ratio full, you cannot hire another apprentice. There is no such thing as an Electrical Helper or Electrical Labourer, etc. You have to fall into one of three categories, Journeyperson (JP), Apprentice (AP) or Journeyperson Candidate (JC).

Generally speaking there is a limited number of JP in most areas, so they need to hire more JP before they can get an apprentice. Chances are if they are a small shop, they need someone that can work more independently, so likely a JP... they don't have the time or resources to train up some apprentices.

Cheers
John
Do you have a shortage of electricians in your area?
 

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I would say yes, although I don't have any statistic to show that. I know a number of small LEC are hiring semi-retired or retired guys for a day or two a week, just to get jobs done.

Most younger JP are money hopping from LEC to LEC, so if you can't keep your guys, you lose your apprentices too.

Cheers
John
 

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I would say yes, although I don't have any statistic to show that. I know a number of small LEC are hiring semi-retired or retired guys for a day or two a week, just to get jobs done.

Most younger JP are money hopping from LEC to LEC, so if you can't keep your guys, you lose your apprentices too.

Cheers
John
In addition, just to be fair, I don't think wages have moved with the cost of living; especially as it relates to housing. The issue around here pretty much is that the established residential client(s) can't see past the higher price required to pay your JP a decent wage / a living wage in some cases.

The commercial guys are so cut-throat, or have such poor quality (to make their margins) that they are just eating each other up daily.

There is not much industrial around here any longer since many of the plants (Union Carbide, Atlas Steel, John Deere, Page Hersey, etc) in my area closed up decades ago. A few new ones have popped up (Northern Golden Foods, Innio, VerBio, etc), but they don't even come close to covering off the lost jobs (actual and spin-off) that these former plants created. In addition, these are new plants, so they are not really in the need for construction and maintenance electricians yet for another 5 years or so I suspect.

As you move closer to the larger centres (Hamilton, Toronto) the wage and opportunities are better, but the costs (of living) are rising exponentially. While the costs are not exactly the same in my little area compared to the larger centres, in some ways they are not far off. As an example our property taxes are very expensive, our water and wastewater is probably one of the most expensive in the country along with our electricity rates.

Also keep in mind that 90% of our population lives with 100 Kms of the USA border... people will travel along this corridor, the more you move North the availability of skilled trades become less and less.

Cheers
John
 

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You may want to consider switching to construction labour (for example) as an intermediate step. Or an equipment rental place (manlifts, boomlifts, etc.) Do that well for 6+ months and get a glowing reference. It may well pay better than 1st-term apprentice anyhow. Get a first aid certification (higher the better).

Many employers are weary of folks doing major career changes on the fly. Most are looking for a solid candidates so they're not wasting their time.

Of course it would. But it would not give you as many as a 1:3, where you could have 15 Journeymen and 45 apprentices.
That is (was?) the style in BC.... 1:2? 1:3? Jobs are bid at Jman rate. The more cheap apprentices they can stack on a job (without losing productivity/quality) the more profitable the job can be.
 

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Man... you guys live in a different world. We hire apprentices like crazy and work their tails off.
Could not agree any more. It's a different world in some places.

If you are ready to learn, work hard and show up every day, then there's hundreds of companies that are hiring. Lots of opportunity. Never a better time than the present to make a move. (y)

The union situation may be a little different. Can't speak on their behalf.
 

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I am not sure what to think of this...

Like, most all areas of the US have shortages of Jman, and will for years, if not decades, to come. Well... Where do Jman come from? Apprentices.

Every school in the US (And I would assume Canada??), pushes, pressures, and pracitally forces kids to choose college. Yet at the same time, our Blue Collar trades are struggling to maintain their ranks.

Why the hell is it so hard to find apprentice jobs when we need apprentices to fill the ranks in 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 20, 30.. Etc... years from now?

Damn, I am a very small EC and even I look to hire an apprentice. We have a 1 to 1 or 2 to 1 ratio (depends upon residential vs. commercial) of an apprentice to Jman. I know that if I don't hire, train, develop... I have a pretty slim chance of being in business in the next decade.

The other side of this, is charge accordingly for having to hire apprentices. We as EC's need to make sure we are charging to train and develop the next generation.
 

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True, but here in this province, it is almost impossible to get the apprentices registered without the ratio. I will agree that there is very few people looking at ratios in the field, but when it comes time to sign-off the apprentice's hours, you can't and they are no further ahead then if they did not work at all. In addition you take the risk of violating your training contract with the government... I don't know what the penalty would be; not sure if there is a positive or negative risk: reward result.

Cheers
John
 

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Macmikey went to a trade school for electrical . Then upon graduation he , flew on a plane out to Hawaii on a Friday. On Saturday he made a telephone call to the first electrical contractor he found with the same local telephone number in the local yellow pages and was on the job Monday morning as an apprentice. And now it is 40 years later. The locality was Sunset Beach Hawaii, home of the Banzai Pipeline and forty of the other best surfing breaks you can ever imagine. Can't promise that will work for anybody else , but it worked out for me that way, so Mikey says go with it if it is your dream wherever you are. Learn how to present yourself is the key.
 
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