The Company Journey

The Trade Smart Difference

At Trade Smart College we have built our program around precise, company-driven demands, not around a dated model of discrete trades education. Trades companies insist that labourers and pre-apprentices, regardless of trade, possess a strong set of transferable professional skills before learning the technical content of any trade. These skills, and the mindsets to use them efficiently, are the core elements of our curriculum.


Bringing on new apprentices is the only way to alleviate the shortage of journeypersons across the skilled trades. Despite the demand, trades companies cannot afford to train someone to be a good technician unless that person already has the skills to be a good employee and understands the nature of the work they will do.

To help solve this shortage, as a college we need to do more than hand out certificates or diplomas. We need to give students what they need to take The Apprenticeship Pathway from education to employment. This means they need two main things.

Students need the so-called “soft skills” or “professional skills” that every industry is screaming for, and exposure to the nature and cadence of trades work.

1. Our students learn the transferable professional competencies and self-mastery skills that modern labourers and pre-apprentices require, regardless of trade. And they learn these skills while attending class from 7:15AM to 4:05PM Monday to Friday to get used to the schedule of trades work. We do not put students into highly artificial workshops to perform tasks usually reserved for upper-year apprentices, because we don’t build false expectations regarding the work students will do in their internship.

2. Every student must have the opportunity to get signed as an apprentice.
After two months of in-class courses, our students complete an internship with local, pre-approved trades companies. We ask each company to commit to holding one apprenticeship position for every student they take on an internship. Students are explicitly told that the apprenticeship is not guaranteed, but it can be earned during their internship.

What Companies Can Expect From Our Intern Students


The apprenticeship pathway

If your company is feeling the pinch of trying to find good entry-level candidates, we would like to help. Contact us and consider becoming part of our network of Trade Smart certified companies.

Connect with a Trade Smart Team member to learn more about the benefits and obligations of being a Trade Smart certified employer. Our program does not work unless forward-thinking trades employers are willing to onboard and register our students as apprentices.

One of our slogans is “Employees Built By Employers” because we are committed to teaching the skills that employers are looking for in entry-level employees. We also offer assistance in navigating the many grants and incentive programs available to trades employers. Reviewing what Trade Smart has to offer and our requirements is essential to the Trade Smart Certification process.

Every student spends six months on an unpaid internship with our certified employers. It is unpaid because the focus is on learning, and requires that your team of qualified employees provide the on-the-job training. If our student meets your criteria during the internship, the expectation is that they will be signed as an apprentice. It is important that you evaluate how many students you are able to take on an ongoing basis.

In order to take a student on an internship placement, we ask the employer to sign a commitment letter. The letter commits the employer to sign the student as an apprentice if they meet the employer’s criteria. Some employers will take multiple students a year, others may take one student every three years. We are happy to work with you in a manner that suits your organization.

After two months in class learning how to be a great employee, a student will contact you to request their placement. We have a full manual to guide their assigned supervisor through the placement, so you can focus on training them in how your company operates. Students will also check in with our instructional staff each week, to ensure that they are fully supported during their practicum placement.

In our internship manual, we have a full suite of evaluation tools to assess our students. The goal is that we have trained them to be great employees and to learn your company systems so that you will be encouraged to sign them as an apprentice.

Contact the Team

Hamilton Campus

Campus Hours