High School Head-Start in the Trades

Three Ways to get a Head-Start in the Trades While in High School

Students who get involved in trades training while in high school have an advantage over adults, because they can get some or all  of their apprenticeship level one completed in high school. 

There are three options for students who want to enter trades training at the high school level:

1. HSAP (High School Apprenticeship Program)
2. HSAP plus RRTVA Accredited Programming (in-class technical training)
3. RRTVA Accredited Programming Without HSAP

1. HSAP (High School Apprenticeship Program)

HSAP is a school program that helps students with on-the-job work experience hours for their first level of apprenticeship training.  Students can do as little as 1 credit (110) hours or as many as 8 credits (880 hours).  HSAP can be used to help students explore what a trade is like or they can use it to pursue a career in the trade.

Most trades require 1550 -2200 hours of work experience hours to complete a single level.  Keep in mind that an apprenticeship also requires in-class technical training in order to complete the level of apprenticeship training. Students can pursue in-class technical training after high school as an adult apprentice or take an RRTVA Accredited Program.

HSAP offers students opportunities in up to 50 trades in Manitoba.

Students wishing to get involved must meet the following requirements:

1. A student need to get a job in an eligible trade.
2. A student must be 16 years of age (15 in the cook trade).
3. A student must have an apprenticeship agreement with their employer and school.
4. A student must complete a safety course.
5. An employer must have Workers Compensation Insurance.
6. An employer and apprentice must complete HSAP safety requirements.
7. Parent/guardian permission must be granted.

2. HSAP Plus RRTVA Accredited Programming

In some cases, HSAP students can pair their on-the-job work experience hours together with an RRTVA Accredited Program to get their in-class technical training for level one apprenticeship. 

A student would need to meet the program requirements for instructors in an RRTVA Accredited Program to grant level 1 apprenticeship accreditation.  Accreditation means that students have attended training at a school that Apprenticeship Manitoba has approved. Students would have to have a job (with an apprenticeship agreement)  in the same trade as their RRTVA Accredited Program.

In some cases students have been near or even completed the work experience hours and in-class technical training to complete an entire level of apprenticeship training.

The programs that are offered in the RRTVA that work together with HSAP are: 

RRTVAProgram Names

Manitoba Apprenticeship Trade Name


Automotive Painter, Motor Vehicle Body Repair (metal and paint)

Automotive Technology

Automotive Service Technician



Culinary Arts


Electrical Technology

Construction Electrician, Industrial Electrician


Nail Care Technician, Skin Care Technician, Esthetician



Heavy Duty Equipment Technology

Agriculture Equipment Technician, Heavy Duty Equipment Technician, Truck and Transport Mechanic

Piping Trades




Students can register for high school technical training by going RRTVA.ca Registration Forms

3. RRTVA Accredited Programming Without HSAP

In other situations, students are not able to/or chose not to do HSAP to collect on-the-job work experience hours while in high school. Instead, students attend an RRTVA Accredited Program. An RRTVA Accredited Program is a great way for student to gain employability skills and technical learning that makes them more desirable for an employer.

The RRTVA Accredited Programs should be viewed as highly valuable and free pre-employment courses

Students can register for high school technical training by going RRTVA.ca Registration Forms

Students enrolled in RRTVA Accredited Programs are not considered apprentices. In order to have the designation of "apprentice" students have to sign an apprenticeship agreement with an employer and an HSAP teacher. 

Students who meet the program requirements for instructors in an RRTVA Accredited Program may be granted Level 1 Apprenticeship Accreditation. This student, is not yet an apprentice and needs to get a job and an apprenticeship agreement before they may use the in-class training as accreditation.  The RRTVA will grant a student an accreditation number.  The accreditation number has an expiry date, so a student needs to get a job and an apprenticeship agreement before the accreditation expires. 


Differences Between HSAP and Adult Apprenticeship




work experience hours

- part-time
- evenings
- weekends
- school breaks

- full-time (~10 month block)

in-class technical training

- RRTVA (if available)
- or, after graduation

- after graduation (~2 month block)

High School apprentices typically choose to work part-time during school spares, evenings and weekends.  Many HSAP apprentices also work full time in the summer. Sometimes schools are able to open up blocks of time for students to apprentice.  Negotiating school schedules should be done at the school level with school administration or guidance staff. The difference between adult apprentices and HSAP apprentices is that an adult may be able to work full time. In the HSAP, apprentices gain only on-the job work experience hours. 

Adult apprenticeships are based on a full time work schedule.  Unlike college or university courses that have full time classes, apprentices start by fulfilling on-the-job work experience hours before attending in-class technical training. To get an idea of what the adult apprenticeship training schedule looks like, see the image above. 

Click on In-Class Technical Training to learn more.