It’s Time to Act: Restructuring apprenticeships in Ontario


When you decide to enter into a college program with a required apprenticeship component, there is no guarantee that you will be able to secure an apprenticeship. This means that you may be unable to complete your qualifications. You may be an excellent student, passionate about your field, and perform well but for various reasons outside of your control, you may be unable to complete your training. I have known people that this has happened to, where they couldn't secure employment as an apprentice. What a disappointment!

Further to this dilemma, the quality of apprenticeships varies from employer to employer. This means that the quality of training you get can vary quite a bit, with some employers providing great support, while others take a hands-off approach. You may also be subject to various labour law infractions and broken promises. On the other hand, you may land an excellent apprenticeship opportunity that is planned, and organized and that has an experienced track record.

Woman hairPhoto by Tim Mossholder via Unsplash

For the past 20 years or so, there has been no apprenticeship and employer oversight from the government. This was not always the case, when I was an apprentice we had a caseworker/ supervisor that monitored everyone's progress. The advantage to this was that there was some accountability—not enough but some is better than none.

In Ontario, there is an apprentice curriculum but in my experience, it is mostly ignored. There is however a conversation happening between the government and stakeholders like the Ontario Association Of Professional Hair Stylists to overhaul the current system with one that has oversight, mentor training and some new additions, particularly in soft skills training like communication and relationships.

I am currently reviewing this curriculum, which I find exciting and meaningful. We are all too familiar with the challenges that face our industry regarding apprenticeships at our salon, so at La Luma we created our own program that is 18 months or 2000 hours long. In that time we have created our own standards, curriculum and skill development that are specifically designed to support the apprentices in attaining the key growth indicators that not only validate their training but allow for the financial wellness of all involved.

Woman hair dryerPhoto by Adam Winger on Unsplash

I want to expose what is working and what is not in our industry. I believe that we can only change the way things are when we talk straight about it and do not pretend everything is just fine.

This is a call to action. If more people were to start talking openly about what's working and what's not then the government and industry will get into action and make changes for the better. 

Have a look for yourself, and make your own decisions. Either way, make your point known.