Have you been laid off?
Although Alberta’s economy is experiencing a downturn, affected apprentices have options to progress in their programs.
Attending Technical Training if You are Unemployed in Your Trade
You can attend technical training if you are not currently employed in your trade. This will help you gain technical expertise, improve your on-the-job skills and allows you to focus on completing your on-the-job hours once you obtain employment.
The following financial assistance programs are available to help apprentices pay for technical training costs:
- The First Period Apprentice Award is a $750 financial award for first time registered apprentices who are entering first period technical training at a public technical training institute in Alberta.
- The Apprentice Training Award is a $1,000 financial award for registered apprentices who are unemployed in their trade and attending second, third or fourth period technical training at an approved technical training provider in Alberta on or after August 1st, 2016.
- The Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Scholarship Program provides more than 370 annual scholarships of $1,000 each.
- Student Aid Alberta and the Government of Canada offer grants and loans for apprentices. Visit the Grants, Loans and Tax Benefits page for more information.
- Employment Insurance can provide income support for eligible apprentices during periods of technical training. Apprentices can call 1-800-206-7218 (in Alberta) or visit the Service Canada website for more information.
If you do not currently have an employer and are not enrolled in technical training, you may still remain registered as an apprentice for a period of time. Contact the AIT Information Line at 1-800-248-4823 to inquire about this option.
Keep Your Information Up-to-date with AIT
- If you are unemployed, bring or mail in your Notice of Release of Contract of Apprenticeship (Release) Card to any AIT office. See AIT office locations. Release Cards can be found in your record book or visit Tradesecrets.
- To verify if your Release Card has been processed by AIT, log onto your MyTradesecrets account. Select the Applications page, and click Details beside your apprenticeship application. Your contract holder will show as Unemployed in the Details section.
- NOTE: Apprentices registered to the Boilermaker or Ironworker Apprenticeship Administration Agencies do not have to submit their Notice of Release of Contract of Apprenticeship card. Unemployment will be confirmed by the administration agency.
- Ensure your contact information is correct and up-to-date by verifying it on the Profile page of your MyTradesecrets account.
- Bring or mail in your record book so your hours are up-to-date. See AIT office locations.
Becoming an Apprentice if You are Unemployed
If you have trouble finding an employer who is hiring, you may consider programs offered by some Alberta post-secondary institutions, such as:
- an apprenticeship preparatory program, referred to as a pre-employment program. These programs are equivalent to the first period of technical training, or
- technician or technology programs recognized by the Provincial Apprenticeship Committee of your trade. Contact the technical training institutes directly for details.
If you complete either of the above program types, you may attempt a Prior Learning Assessment to achieve advanced standing in your apprenticeship program.
You may also consider connecting with trade associations or unions that offer training in your trade.
Questions? We are here to help.