Sterling Crane logo

Apprenticeship Information

The Six Steps to Becoming a Journeyman Crane Operator or Mechanic

Everything you need to know and the steps you need to follow to achieve your goal.

  1. Find a position
    • The first and most difficult step to becoming an apprentice is finding a position. And just like any other job search, you have to market yourself to employers who have a good, solid reputation for hiring and training apprentices. For tips on conducting a successful job search, check out
    • Sterling Crane has a pre-apprentice program designed to be an “audition” into the trade – a chance for us (and you!) to see if this is a good fit. The program length of this program is varied (on a case-by-case basis) and could be working in the wash bay, yard labour, parts pick-up and anything in between. The wages depend on the company, but are generally lower than initial apprentice rate.
  2. Register as an apprentice (Get indentured)
    • Now that you have a position, you need to register with your local apprenticeship board to become an indentured apprentice.
    • Your employer will complete their part of the necessary forms and you will be responsible to submit them as soon as possible to avoid any delay in training. You will be required to pay a fee, which differs from province to province (check te links at the bottom to get connected to get information).
    • Sterling Crane also requires all apprentices and journeymen to be members of the International Union of Operating Engineers. Once you are registered, if you are not already a union member, make sure you sign up with your local. Your company will have all the contact information.
  3. Begin on-the-job training
    • Now you get to work. This is where you begin to get experience working in your chosen field, working alongside other apprentices and qualified journeymen.
    • Journeymen are not only there to train you, but to mentor you and prepare you for the tasks at hand. Journeymen trainers should have been identified by your company as having superior skills and knowledge. Use this time to ask questions and to get as much experience as you can.
    • While you are receiving this training, you can work on the next step.
  4. Track your hours & training
    • While Sterling Crane will track your hours through their payroll, it is recommended that you keep track as well. You need a set amount of hours each year of your apprenticeship, and it is your responsibility to let your employer know when you are getting close to those hours.
    • Also, ensure you are recording what you train on. If you are training on any aspect of the job regarding equipment, ensure that you are recording the make, model and type of equipment it is and have your trainer sign off on it.
    • This should continue throughout your apprenticeship; many journeymen continue to track any training they receive throughout their career.
  5. Attend technical training
    • From time to time throughout your apprenticeship, you will be required to attend technical training from an accredited training facility.
    • For a time between four to six weeks, you will attend classes and training. Just like regular schooling, you will be required to pay for the classes, books and supplies. Your employer is not obligated to pay you during this time, however there are several grants and scholarships available to apprentices. Check with your local training institutes or apprenticeship board for more details.
    • Once all your technical training is completed and you have achieved enough on-the-job training, you will be ready for that LAST step toward becoming a journeyman tradesman.
  6. Receive Certification
    • Now you are ready to achieve certification. Your successful completion of schooling and on-the-job training, combined with a written test from the apprenticeship board, will be your final step.
    • Several trades also have an option to write a Red Seal Exam, which certifies you to work in your trade as a journeyman across Canada.
    • Once you receive your final grades and, if successful, you will also receive your Red Seal Journeyman Ticket.

Once you have obtained Journeyman status in your trade, part of your obligation is to help train and mentor new apprentices. Just as your Journeyman was there to help and guide you, you will be expected to do the same for someone new to the trade.

Provincial Apprenticeship Boards

Operating Engineers Locals

Alberta - Alberta (Local 955) -
British Columbia - British Columbia (Local 115) -
Saskatchewan - Saskatchewan (Local 870) -
Manitoba - Manitoba (Local 987) -
Ontario - Ontario (Local 793) -

Trade Profiles

> Crane & Hoisting Equipment Operator - Mobile Crane

> Heavy Equipment Technician (Mechanic)