You are a professional in your trade. You’ve been working at it for a number of years, but you don’t have that Red Seal Exam behind you to give you the Red Seal Endorsement that proves your Canada-wide credibility of skills. Is it time to take the challenger exam? You don’t have to go through the length apprentice program if you have the hours and skills required for your trade to challenge the exam.
Even though you know your trade inside and out, preparing for the exam is different. This is the time to get help from other experts who have been there and Ashton College makes this possible through their Red Seal Trades courses that ready individuals for their Red Seal Challenge Exam. Each prep-course is taught by a trade professional who has also taken the exam and earned their Red Seal, so they know the ins and outs.
If you are an Industrial Electrician, Plumber, Automotive Service Technician, Carpenter, Construction Electrician, Heavy Equipment Operator, Cook, Steamfitter/Pipefitter or Welder, there is a Red Seal exam pre-course available for you through Ashton. Don’t worry about COVID. Most of these courses are delivered in the evenings online to ensure your safety and provide flexibility.
Once you’ve decided to enroll in a prep-course, you’ll want to be sure that you have all the information you need in order to successfully challenge your exam. Regardless of whether you are an Industrial Electrician, Plumber, Automotive Service Technician, Carpenter, Construction Electrician, Heavy Equipment Operator, Cook, Steamfitter/Pipefitter or Welder, the information you need is in the prep course plus here are some additional tips to help:
- Study the trade material with a focus on what you don’t know well. It’s easy to look at the information you’re given in a prep-course and think, “sure, I know that,” and sail through the details. In the Red Seal Challenger Exam, the multiple choice questions will ask you to pick an answer that best fits a process, skill, tool, etc. You won’t be able to show someone what you know. It will be translated into words. Therefore, it’s important to focus on the information you don’t know well. Study and have others help you relay that information back to them. If you’re a plumber, ask your boss for his input. A cook can turn to their head chef with questions about different concepts. A welder can talk to their prep-course instructor about things they need clarity on. Everyone has ways to get more information so that they fully understand the concepts presented in the exam.
- Don’t rush it. It’s going to take time to break down all of the information and you’re probably working a full time job. Block time off in your calendar to study. If you’re taking a prep-course, you’ll already have the class in your schedule, but you’ll want to add a few more hours a week for study to ensure you are well prepared. An industrial electrician may set aside Monday and Wednesday evenings since the prep-course is on Tuesdays. Automotive Service Technicians may go with Tuesdays, Fridays and part of Sundays for their study time. The point is to block it out and stick to it for a few weeks before registering for the Red Seal Challenger Exam so that you are sure you’re ready.
- Share knowledge with others. If you’re in a prep-course and there’s someone who really understands parts of the trade that you’re less clear on, partner up and share study time together. One carpenter in the class may have a clear knowledge of municipal bylaws, whereas another may know trigonometry. Similarly, one steamfitter/pipefitter may have a solid grasp of safety procedures while another is comfortable with understanding daily logs.
- Get more rest than usual. You’re used to working on a job site, you’re not used to adding studying into the mix. For the construction electrician or heavy equipment operator who is used to running on six hours of sleep, now is the time to increase that to seven or eight. You need more rest when you’re absorbing new information. Be sure to also build in time to do things you love outside of your study and class time.
Achieving your Red Seal certification is a big deal and if it’s time to challenge the exam for your trade, look into prep-courses to see if they are the right fit. They might be what allows you to earn the Red Seal Endorsement.
This content is sponsored by Ashton College in collaboration with ConstructConnect® Media. Ashton college offers Red seal exam preparation courses for eight trades: Carpenter, Plumber, Construction Electrician, Industrial Electrician, Automotive Service Technician, Dozer, Cook and Steamfitter/Pipefitter. To learn more about Ashton College, visit www.ashtoncollege.ca.