Enter your email below to receive weekly updates from the Ashton College blog straight to your inbox.
The economies of each province and territory in Canada often shift and change and with those changes the jobs in various trades, like plumbing, may find a shift in workload. When construction starts to drop, it’s nice to know there is an option to relocate and find more work in a different region if necessary or desirable. This is possible when you become a Red Seal plumber.
Imagine you’ve been working as a plumber for about 10 years. You’ve already been journeyperson certified through the province and things are going well, but something happens. The company you’ve been working for stops bidding on the townhouse developments that were your bread and butter for the last several years. You’re not in management so you’re not sure what’s up, but you’ve heard that the owner is planning to wind things down with no new owner for the company in sight. You’ve reached out to colleagues, but there’s been a lack of interest. What can you do? You can up the ante of your qualifications and make it possible to relocate – become a red seal plumber.
Red Seal certification is available for 56 different skilled trades throughout Canada, including plumbers. It’s proof of obtaining a level of distinction in a trade and one that is recognized across the country by the trades themselves and to a certain degree, by consumers. Consider the awareness consumers have of Red Seal chefs. That recognition comes with an elevated point of view of a Red Seal trade and the same is true for those who become Red Seal plumber.
In addition to the recognition of a trade’s worth, having Red Seal certification can benefit plumbers in other ways as well:
There are two paths to becoming a Red Seal certified plumber. For those without experience, or just beginning their apprenticeship, there is the process of that initial trade learning, education and experience that will lead them to their exam to earn journeyperson certification and then their Red Seal certification. For those who are already journeypersons, or who have been working at their trade for a significant amount of time without the formal apprenticeship training, there is the option to challenge the exam.
Registering for the exam is done through your provincial or territorial certification body. When you contact them to register for the Red Seal challenge exam, (find your region’s authority at http://www.red-seal.ca/contact/c.4nt.1ct-eng.html) ask what specific criteria is required for a plumber in your region to challenge the exam as they will have the most up-to-date information on what experience and number of applicable work hours are required. They may also have tools you can use to prepare for the exam upon request.
There are also a number of plumber Red Seal exam preparation courses available to help you with the studying required beforehand. These courses tend to be in the evenings and/or based online in order to accommodate the busy schedules of plumbers who work full time in the trade. If you prefer not to take a plumber Red Seal exam preparation course, there are numerous ways to find information about the exam and tools to prepare for it on the red-seal.ca site.
Each trade has a national occupational classification (NOC) and this is used to create the Red Seal exams. A plumber is NOC #7251. Within the NOC are the various tasks a plumber needs to be able to complete. The exam has a total of 125 questions and each section of questions is broken down by the tasks on the NOC:
You know your trade, now is the time to earn the Red Seal certification that proves your level of knowledge and skill. Study for the exam and with passing, you will open more doors than ever before.