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Pre-Employment Trades - Wabasca

In today’s economy, training is critical. However, training can be expensive. Northern Lakes College offers Pre-Employment Trades programming teaches the theory portion of trades training in advance of obtaining the hands-on experience with an employer. In the trades, a candidate is normally employed (a.k.a. apprenticed) in advance of attending training.

Pre-employment trades offered at NLC include Carpenter, Electrician, Heavy Equipment Technician (Mechanic), Industrial Mechanic, Pipe Trades, and Welder. Each program covers the entire First Period theory of that trade. In essence, students complete the first year of theory required for a trade without leaving home and without incurring the costs associated with post-secondary education! Northern Lakes College sets up Pre-Employment Trades students to challenge the first period apprenticeship exam in their chosen trade.

At NLC, we understand our students need the flexibility to balance work and home. Our Pre-Employment programs are flexible enough to fit into your lifestyle:

  • Programs are 16 weeks
  • Apply as a full-time student

Pre-Employment Trades applications should be submitted at least 3 weeks prior to the start date.

Not sure where to start in your trades’ career? See the Trade Pathways document to help you determine where to begin.

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Program Dates



Pre-Employment Carpenter
February 10, 2025 - June 2, 2025 - Wabasca

Pre-Employment Pipe Trades
September 3, 2024 - Dec 20, 2024 - Wabasca

Areas of Study


Pre-Employment Carpenter

  • Section 1 - Safety and Building Materials
  • Section 2 - Tools
  • Section 3 - Site Preparation, Building Layout, Foundations and Floor Frame Systems
  • Section 4 - Residential Estimating and Drawing Interpretation

Pre-Employment Heavy Equipment Technician (Mechanic)

  • Section 1 - Standard Workplace Safety Materials and Tools
  • Section 2 - Suspensions, Wheels and Systems
  • Section 3 - Hydraulics 1 and Hydraulic Brake Systems
  • Section 4 - Electrical 1 and Electronics 1
  • Section 5 - Air Brakes

Pre-Employment Industrial Mechanic

  • Section 1 - Legislation, Communication and Apprenticeship Development
  • Section 2 - Tools and Fasteners
  • Section 3 - Measurements, Drawings and Layouts
  • Section 4 - Machining
  • Section 5 - Machine Installation and Alignment

Pre-Employment Pipe Trades

  • Section 1: Workplace Safety and Rigging
  • Section 2: Tools, Equipment and Materials
  • Section 3: Metal Fabrication
  • Section 4: Drawings and Specifications
  • Section 5: Calculations and Science

Pre-Employment Welder

  • Section 1 - Workplace Safety and Tools
  • Section 2 - Welding Technology and Properties of Metal
  • Section 3 - GMAW, FCAW, MCAW AND SAW
  • Section 4 - Trade Math

Career Potential


Pre-Employment Carpenter
Most carpenters are employed by general contractors, are self-employed, or do construction or maintenance work for government agencies, utility companies, or manufacturing firms. Employment prospects for carpenters vary considerably depending upon the sector or type of employer. Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $25 to $38 an hour plus benefits. The carpentry trade can be a stepping stone to unlimited possibilities. Carpenters may advance to foreman, subcontractor, construction superintendent, or contractor. They are involved in every phase of construction, and create the base buildings that most trades will follow in the construction cycle. This overall knowledge is an advantage when applying for supervisory positions.

Pre-Employment Heavy Equipment Technician (Mechanic)
Heavy equipment technicians (mechanics) are employed by specialized repair shops and organizations that own or lease heavy equipment used in the construction, mining, forestry, materials handling, landscaping, land clearing, agricultural, and transportation industries. Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $30 to $60 an hour plus benefits. Rates vary depending on the region. Experienced journeypersons may advance to supervisory or service manager positions, or become self-employed.

Pre-Employment Industrial Mechanic
Journeyperson industrial mechanics (millwrights) find employment in construction, maintenance, machine shops, and stock keeping and sales. They are employed by manufacturing, processing, and construction companies as well as amusement parks and ski hills. Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $30 to $45 an hour plus benefits. Industrial mechanics (millwrights) are exposed to the duties involved in a variety of other trades, and therefore can be good candidates for promotion to supervisory and superintendent positions.

Pre-Employment Pipe Trades
Plumbers, Steamfitter-Pipefitters, Gasfitters, and Sprinkler Systems Installers are employed in a variety of residential and commercial settings, such as construction companies, oil and gas extraction, manufacturing, plumbing contractors, and maintenance departments. Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $30 to $60 an hour plus benefits. Rates vary depending on the region. Experienced journeypersons can advance to become supervisors, subcontractors, or contractors or become self-employed.

Pre-Employment Welder
Welders are employed in a variety of industries including vessel or structural steel assembly, pipeline construction, commercial construction, industrial construction, steel fabrication, and heavy equipment repair. Employment prospects for welders change with seasonal and economic climates. Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $25 to $40 an hour plus benefits. Experienced welders may advance to positions such as welding inspector, welding foreman or supervisor, or plant supervisor. Some open their own repair shops, or work as portable rig welders who contract out their services.

Further Educational Opportunities


Pre-Employment Carpenter
Carpenter Apprenticeship Program: First Period, Second Period, Third Period, and Fourth Period.

Pre-Employment Heavy Equipment Technician (Mechanic) 
The term of apprenticeship for a Heavy Equipment Technician is four years. This includes a minimum of 1,500 hours of on-the-job training as an apprentice, and eight weeks of technical training each year. This trade participates in two Red Seal Programs: heavy equipment technician - heavy duty equipment mechanic (off-road) and heavy equipment technician - truck and transport mechanic. 

Pre-Employment Industrial Mechanic
Through the program, tradespersons are able to obtain a Red Seal endorsement on their provincial/territorial certificates by successfully completing an interprovincial Red Seal examination. The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program acknowledges their competence and ensures recognition of their certification throughout Canada without further examination. Industrial mechanics (millwrights) often possess overlapping skills with other trades such as steamfitter/pipefitter, industrial instrument mechanic, welder, machinist, or industrial electrician. They may be certified in these other trades as well. Industrial mechanics (millwrights) may work in specialized areas of the trade such as fluid analysis, vibration analysis, and laser alignment. With experience, they may advance to other positions such as mentor, supervisor, planner, superintendent, or trainer.

Pre-Employment Pipe Trades
Pre-Employment Pipe Trades opens the door to a variety of trades, including Gasfitter, Plumber, Sprinkler Systems Installer, and Steamfitter-Pipefitter. 

Pre-Employment Welder
Welder Apprenticeship Levels include First Period, Second Period, and Third Period. Journeyperson Welders often gain additional expertise. Further education can lead to B-pressure certification, Canadian Welding Bureau Certification, and endorsements for specialty metals and processes.