Overview

The Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission (SATCC) is an industry-led, arms-length government organization dedicated to training apprentices and certifying tradespersons. We are an educational institution—much like a college, university or technical training institution. We are also a certification body responsible for issuing journeyperson credentials.

The key difference between our education system and other education institutions is we don’t train apprentices ourselves on site. Instead, we rely on thousands of individual employers to deliver the bulk of the training to their own apprentice employees in their workplaces under the guidance of skilled journeyperson mentors. We also contract other institutions—Saskatchewan Polytechnic and regional colleges, for instance—to provide theory-based technical training to complement the work-based learning.

There are more than 47 designated trades and sub-trades in Saskatchewan. Most trades are voluntary. This means there are two pathways to certification—through completion of an apprenticeship (available only to residents of Saskatchewan), or as a tradesperson who can demonstrate sufficient on-the-job experience.

Aside from the voluntary trades, four trades are compulsory. Those four trades are:  1) Construction Electrician, 2) Plumber, 3) Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic, and 4) Sheet Metal Worker. This means that to work in those trades, you must be a registered apprentice or journeyperson.

Pathways to Certification

The two pathways to certification in the voluntary trades are: 1) as an apprentice, and 2) as a tradesperson

1. Apprenticeship Pathway

Apprenticeship is perhaps the best known pathway to certification in the skilled trades in Saskatchewan. In order to be an apprentice, you MUST be a resident of Saskatchewan.

In order to apprentice in a voluntary trade, candidates need to secure employment with an employer who is willing to commit to their on-the-job education, and who is able to provide the necessary mentorship.

Depending on the voluntary trade, there are two to four levels of three to ten weeks of technical training sessions that occur in a classroom or online. These technical training periods are relatively short because the bulk of the learning happens on the job. Apprentices learn “how” to perform their work on the job site, and learn “why” they do what they do at the technical training session.

2. Applying for Certification as a Skilled Tradesperson

Tradespersons are skilled workers who work in one of the voluntary trades and have not entered into an apprenticeship agreement. A tradesperson must work a set number of hours in the trade before they can apply to have their skills assessed as a Trade Qualifier (TQ). If their application is approved, they could then challenge the Journeyperson exam.

These are some important definitions to take note of:

Tradesperson:  An individual who is working at one of the non-compulsory designated trades, but is not an apprentice or a journeyperson.

Trade Qualifier (TQ):  A tradesperson is a skilled worker who is not a registered apprentice, but has established eligibility to challenge a certification examination.

Other important definitions are contained in the appendix of any SATCC Annual Report.

Once the application for assessment has been approved, the applicant will be eligible to challenge the Journeyperson exam. However, if the application for assessment results in a rejection to challenge the exam, the assessment process will outline any options to take.

Upgrader Training for Domestic Tradespersons Only

Upgrader training is available for some trade qualifiers in some trades. This training is not mandatory, but may be available to help prepare trade qualifiers for the exam. It is especially useful if a trade qualifier believes they may not have been exposed to the full scope of the trade during their careers. The Trade Qualifier Assessment process will provide affected tradespersons with their upgrading options.

For More Information

To learn more about trade qualifier assessments, visit saskapprenticeship.ca, call us toll-free at 1-877-363-0536, or email us at ATCAssessment@gov.sk.ca.