If you are considering studying a trade in Canada, your post-secondary planning process should begin as early as high school. Trades and apprenticeship schools and programs in Canada can be competitive and are rigorous; therefore, it's important to plan your high school courses accordingly. You should load up on science courses in math, chemistry, physics and computers to ensure that you are well prepared for the schools and programs that make your list. If your current school offers courses in electronics, mechanics or other areas of technology, those are also recommended. Communication skills are always important in technical fields, and you want to make sure that you can meet the minimum English or French proficiency requirements by taking any English or French and communications classes in high school.

There are several additional things that international students can do to prepare and increase their chances of success in the trade of their choice:

  • Undertake to read and study independently. This is a good way for international students to develop interests, expand knowledge and improve the vocabulary and reading comprehension skills needed for school in Canada. This will also help you if admission requirements include a personal essay, since you will be able to impress the committee with the knowledge you have built up of terms and issues specific to your chosen trade.

  • Admissions offices or committees may also be interested in international students' personal qualities, which can be developed through participating in extracurricular activities. Consider joining or even starting school clubs, whether related to your area of interest or not. This is also a good way to develop demonstrated leadership skills, which are an important aspect of any application.

  • Prove your work ethic. Work experience - paid or volunteer - is an achievement often regarded highly by admissions committees in Canada. Any work experience related to your chosen trade is extremely beneficial: trades and apprenticeship programs take a lot of focused work, and you want to be able to show the school committee you are dedicated to the field.