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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I have been in the electrical industry for a total of 4 weeks doing residential working in the city of Toronto. Even though my careeer so far has been short but I find the work enjoyable. Prior to working, I have visited our local union to get information about becoming an electrician. I must say, I did not get much information there. They kept on saying that if I get a job non union, that there may be a backdoor way into the union. With that being said, I'm that kind of guy that like's to be as direct as possible and I felt like the union member was not being direct with me. Now I have nothing against the guy but I really was there to get some advise and maybe some insight on how to start an apprenticeship the right way. Moving forward, I have attended a couple of seminars to get into the JAC program and tho it sounds very promising, I found out that intake is annual and no way of knowing when these intake will take place. Since I didnt have the time to wait, being a family man, with a wife that doesn't work, I went old school and went to the phone books. I called dozens of shop and to my luck I found a company that took a chance on me. I wanted to make a great first impression to my employer, since first impression means everything. I know that I gave my all and treated the company like it was my own but what I didn't know was the company I was working for was in financial trouble and shortly laid off there entire workforce.

Since i have sometime to reflect on my short experience. i wanted to get a better grasp on the different fields of electrical work. I found that outside line workers make great money and seems to be a rewarding career. On the other hand, I heard that the job is extremely difficult and hard to get into. Regardless, I wanted to see if i can get in, so i contacted a friend of mine who work for hydro one, to see if there was any opportunities there for me.

In the meantime, I am still knocking on doors trying to get another opportunity to start off my career again and emailing and attending JAC meeting in hope that they recognize my commitment to getting into this trade. Do you guy here on the forum have any advice for me, or possibly a lead on an employer looking for a electrical laborer that's looking for an apprenticeship? any and all replies would be greatly appreciated and I thank you guys in advance.
 

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Keep checking the JAC website once a week. The intake should happen any time now. If you get in, you may have to wait up to a year before you'll get sent out to work so hopefully you'll find something to do in the meantime. I applied last year and I waited for 6 months. I replied to a bunch of how to join the union as an apprentice for Toronto before; just click on my profile and look for my earlier postings.

Good luck! The competition is stiff here but once you're in, the union benefit plan and pension is amazing too. Especially for the family man since what you have, your spouse and kid(s) will have too at no extra charge!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks voltjames i will continue checking there website. Since your in already in how do you like it so far?

And what is the starting pay like for a pre apprentice?
 

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Thanks voltjames i will continue checking there website. Since your in already in how do you like it so far?

And what is the starting pay like for a pre apprentice?
So far, the experience is great! I haven't regretted one bit quitting my office job. The first few years will be rough financially and physically since you will be expected to do all the grunt work. If you end up in a large company, you will be cleaning and moving material all day. If you end up in a medium or smaller company, you may be doing some real work. I'm lucky so far doing real work even though I ended up in a larger company. But I will be sent to another team after a year and if it's a large project, I'll end up cleaning too!

It's a trade off if you ask me. If you are in a larger company you might learn less but you may become a permanent fixture in the company vs getting laid off at a smaller company.

You better have some sort of savings already and/or that your wife works. Your starting pay is $13.74 + 10% vacation pay (there will be a raise of some sort next month). By 3rd term (beginning of 4th year) you'll have more food on the table. :)

http://www.ibew353.org/newsletters/WagesMay2013ICI.pdf
 

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Let's be really honest, Ontario has a shaky future, high cost of living and electricians are paid crap money there if they aren't union. If you can get into the JAC by all means go for it, however I think you should know that a large number of people apply and only about 110-150 might be selected. This occurs once or twice a year.

One other way you can get into local 353 which doesn't get talked about a lot is if you go to some union company directly where they hire you and make you a "sponsored" apprentice. There are some drawbacks to this, like having to stay with that company until you become a journeyman, but it's still a path in. If you call and ask them about that I doubt they'll tell you much. The idea is someone who "already works for the company" and now wants to get into the trade has a pathway. So you do some miscellaneous non-electrical work for the company(like around the shop or whatever) for a few weeks or months or whatever and then get set up.

In the mean time I would keep trying wherever possible. I would also think about, as an alternative to electrical, being a refrigeration mechanic. Those guys have a good trade too and even during a recession people cannot have air conditioning or refrigerating equipment fail on them.
 

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I Know where you are coming from. I graduate high school when i was 17 then went straight to the JAC...only to find out i didn't make it. about 800 guys applied (most of them i saw looked about late 20's early 30's) only around 100 were hired. Then i did a two year program with my local community college. Now i'll be starting out as an apprentice this monday. The JAC does not have a certain date when they do intake as it's based on the labour demand. The best bet would be to keep calling around shops or better yet walk into the shops and talk to the owner face to face, that would be better than calling. If all fails, move to alberta, a lot of 1st year electrical apprentices are needed there and are paid well too. just look at the job posting on indeed.com or any other job posting website.
 
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