3 Learning Task 3: Becoming a Journeyperson – and New Opportunities

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Once you have completed the final level of apprenticeship for your trade, including all of the work hours required on site, you will become a certified journeyperson. If you are completing your apprenticeship in British Columbia in an applicable trade, upon successful completion of the Red Seal exam you will also receive your Red Seal endorsement (RSE).

To take on the role of a journeyperson you may also need further education. This may include individual learning, such as becoming aware of all of the recent changes and trends in the industry and acquiring in-depth knowledge of the apprenticeship’s training program and what needs to be taught in the workplace at each level of the apprenticeship. As a journeyperson, you may also want to acquire additional formal training to become better acquainted with mentoring and coaching of an individual; for example by completing a continuing education course in leadership.

As you will have noted from looking at the Red Seal Occupation Standard (RSOS), all trades require some degree of continual learning to keep up with changes in the industry brought on by new technologies (products or tools), changes in code, or new government legislation. In addition, the use of communication technologies continues to grow rapidly and affect the trades. This includes use of smart phone applications, social media, Web applications, and business-related software and hardware, particularly for individuals who are self-employed or own a small trade-related company. Your ability to keep up with these new demands will ensure that you keep competitive in your field.

Role of the Journeyperson in Training

A journeyperson is knowledgeable about all aspects of their trade. One of the roles of the journeyperson is to assist in the work-based training of new apprentices. The assignment of an apprentice to a journeyperson for mentoring or coaching will be the decision of your employer.

The size of a company will determine the role a journeyperson will have in training a new apprentice. In large companies, the training of an apprentice may be a team approach, with individuals in the firm taking on different orientation and/or training. In smaller companies, this role may fall largely in the hands of the journeyperson and their supervisor.

The duties assigned to a journeyperson may include assistance with or responsibility for:

  • teaching apprentices all aspects of the trade
  • orienting new apprentices to the workplace, including advising on any company policies and procedures that may need to be followed on the job site
  • informing apprentices about the company’s expectations and what they will receive
  • helping apprentices better understand their trade, the tools and equipment they use, and safety standards
  • developing a training plan for the apprentice
  • supervising, mentoring, and/or coaching the apprentice
  • providing constructive feedback in all aspects of the job, including priorities and time management
  • helping apprentices develop strategies to improve in areas where their skills may fall short, and monitoring their progress in these areas
  • providing feedback to the supervisor on the progress of apprentices
  • evaluating apprentices’ roles in the workplace for certification


Mentorship is an important part of being a journeyperson, as you supervise and train apprentices you also take on the role of mentor in their training journey.  Good mentorship is essential to the success of apprentices.  Some of the benefits of mentorship are, higher quality of work, reduced workplace injuries, increased productivity, decreased number of mistakes, improved workplace morale, and higher levels of employee satisfaction.  If you experience good mentorship in your training, you are more likely to pass that experience along to your future apprentices.  Mentorship can exist in many ways in the trades, it can be between a journeyperson and apprentice, between two apprentices of different levels or between two journeypersons of differing levels of experience.  Developing good mentorship skills is deeply rooted in effective communication and listening.

Qualities of a good mentor

  • Promotes safe work, this is important, modeling the safe way to do things has a direct impact on reduction in workplace injuries and near misses.
  • High standards for quality are also important, it shows how important it is to have a sense of pride in your work and that when work is completed it is done to the highest possible standard.
  • Hard working, this models work ethic to apprentices.
  • Positive attitude, helps to engage apprentices, promote learning and keep morale high.
  • Enjoys teaching, one of the most important qualities that a mentor could have, sharing their knowledge and skills with their mentee should be exciting and fun.  Allowing the mentee to see that their mentor is passionate about sharing their knowledge helps to keep the mentee engaged in learning.
  • Good leader, someone who demonstrates calm and composed leadership, can accept feedback and suggestions from others, intervenes when necessary, leads by example, allows others to take initiative, is focused on the goals of the team, praises others for their successes and provides constructive feedback on mistakes.
  • Patient and empathetic, understanding that sometimes it takes longer to learn a skill and identifying and removing barriers to learning with patience along with empathy for systemic, structural or personal barriers that an apprentice may face is crucial to their mental well-being which correlates directly to their long-term success.
  • Takes the time to teach and explain, even with deadlines and performance targets a mentor who is willing to take time to teach new skills and when necessary review and repeat to reinforce learning is much more likely to have successful learning outcomes with an apprentice than someone who is unwilling to take the necessary time to develop a skill with their mentee.  Good communication skills and listening skills are essential to this for a mentor.
  • Targets multiple learning styles, all people learn in slightly different ways, being able to present information to your mentee in a blend of visual, auditory and hands on will help to find their specific learning style.

A good mentor can have a positive impact on an apprentice’s success, just as a bad mentor can have a negative impact on an apprentice’s success.  As a mentee it is important to advocate for good mentorship for yourself during your apprenticeship.  This may mean seeking mentorship outside of your workplace or from a different journeyperson at your workplace.  A mentoring relationship is two sided and while the mentor generally does the teaching, the mentee must also bring their own set of skills to the table to be effectively mentored.

Qualities of a good mentee

  • Dedicated to working safely, a commitment to safety allows others to feel safe in working with you and in your safety.
  • Passionate about the trade, this is directly connected to job satisfaction, if you don’t enjoy the work you’re doing it is hard to be satisfied.  Showing genuine enthusiasm and excitement for the work you do illustrates this passion for your trade.
  • Strong desire to learn, showing interest and initiative in learning new skills shows your mentor that you are committed to learning and growth.
  • Good communication skills, knowing how to communicate and listen effectively goes a long way in ensuring that you get the most out of your mentorship.  Other important communication skills include, problem solving, conflict resolution and engaging in respectful communication.
  • Asks questions frequently, this is crucial, if you do not know something or need clarification you must be confident enough to ask your mentor.  Asking questions should be encouraged by a good mentor, it allows the mentee to feel knowledgeable and confident in the skills they are acquiring and prevents unnecessary mistakes from occurring.
  • Requests feedback, it’s as simple as asking “How did I do?”  This allows the mentee to have an ongoing assessment of their progress and helps to identify areas that may need improvement.
  • Values constructive criticism and views it as a learning opportunity, it’s not personal when a mentor provides constructive criticism of work, the mentor’s goal is to help the continued development of the mentee’s skills and this involves honest critique of work done.  As a mentee constructive criticism should be viewed as a way to continue to improve and grow skill sets in areas that the mentor may identify need additional work.

Remember, mentorships are a two-way street, they require respectful communication, good listening skills, a desire to teach and be taught and a good fit between mentor and mentee.  The basis of the apprenticeship system is founded on the idea of skills taught by mentorship.  Think about it this way, as an apprentice, 95% or more of your training will occur on the job.  The most significant amount of skills and training you will acquire will be from your mentors, and as a journeyperson you will bestow your knowledge and skills upon your future mentees.  This is how information has been passed down for centuries and is important for ensuring knowledge is not lost between generations.

Other Opportunities

As a journeyperson, you will be exposed to many different opportunities that you can pursue related to your trade and career path. The following are just a few that you may wish to explore further:

  • Many journeypersons hold multiple trade credentials and additional certifications. This allows them to perform multiple functions on job sites and increases their marketability. For example, a metal fabricator may hold a welding ticket, allowing for more versatility.
  • Some journeypersons use their credentials to travel and find work in other Canadian provinces or internationally. They may do so by looking for opportunities through employment agencies or by joining large international organizations where travel is one of the expectations of the job.
  • Some journeypersons work as subject matter experts for industry, associations, and unions, including working in the role of safety inspectors.
  • Many journeypersons pursue supervisory or management positions. In order to do so they may need to take formal education in areas related to administration or business.
  • Many journeypersons are entrepreneurial and start their own small businesses.
  • Some journeypersons take on positions related to trades training at public or private institutions. Doing this requires pursuing the appropriate qualifications (see below).

All of the opportunities listed above may necessitate acquiring additional information or formal training. For example, the qualifications for teaching a trade usually include:

  • Red Seal or highest level of certification for a trade
  • five or more years of experience working in that trade in industry
  • previous teaching and/or supervisory experience
  • extensive knowledge about the trade
  • knowledge and skills necessary to instruct curriculum
  • excellent language skills, written and oral
  • effective interpersonal skills
  • provincial instructor’s diploma (completed or in-progress) an asset
  • desire for ongoing professional development
  • ability to work as part of a team
  • computer literacy
  • criminal record check – for positions that include working with vulnerable populations

Completing an apprenticeship can open up many different opportunities. The trades are a rewarding and fulfilling career. It doesn’t matter which trade you enter; the path continues past the journeyperson certification.

Self-test icon.Now complete the Learning Task Self-Test.


Self-Test 3

  1. Once you have completed all of the requirements for your apprenticeship (technical training and hours in the trade), you become a certified journeyperson.
    1. True
    2. False
  2. After you become a journeyperson, you have acquired all of the knowledge needed for the trade and there is no need for additional training.
    1. True
    2. False
  3. One of the roles a journeyperson may take on for an employer is mentoring or coaching new apprentices.
    1. True
    2. False
  4. There are many different employment opportunities for journeypersons and skilled trades workers.
    1. True
    2. False
  5. Which of the following are benefits of mentorship:
    1. Higher quality of work
    2. Reduced workplace injuries.
    3. Increased productivity
    4. Decreased mistakes
    5. Improved workplace morale
    6. Employee satisfaction
    1. A, C, D, F
    2. A, B, C, E, F
    3. A, B, F
    4. All of them
  6. Modeling the safe way to do things has a direct impact on reduction in workplace injuries and near misses.
    1. True
    2. False
  7. As an apprentice, about 50% of your training will occur on the job.
    1. True
    2. False
  8. Which mentorship strategy allows the mentee to have an ongoing assessment of their progress and helps to identify areas that may need improvement?
    1. Promoting safe work
    2. Working hard
    3. Being a good leader
    4. Requesting feedback
  9. Showing interest and initiative in learning new skills is an example of which mentorship strategy?
    1. Working hard
    2. Strong desire to learn
    3. Promoting safe work
    4. Asking questions
  10. It is NOT important to be passionate about the trade you are in to foster success.
    1. True
    2. False

See the Answer Key in the back matter of the textbook for self-test answers.

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