Not sure how helpful this may be, but I was employed among tradesmen, who registered me as an apprentice with the government. From there, I enrolled in the apprenticeship program at a college. From college you receive a certificate of qualification and from the government you receive a certificate of apprenticeship. They really are two seperate entities that share a common goal. Not one certificate is dependent on the other, though employers like to see that you have both. You will commonly see this as being referred to Red Seal qualification

For your information, I am located in Ontario so this is at least somewhat relevant.
Quote by misfitsramones
thanks bro. how did you go about registering with the government?

It was arranged through my employer. He contacted the Ministry of Training. From there a local representative visited us at work. We had to arrange some paperwork for the rep, including a high school transcript (which seems retarded to me because I went to college with a guy who didn't have his grade 12). They will let you know what you need to have in order. Once you're registered, they will give you a book outlining what skills you need to develop. As you complete the tasks outlined in the book, you and your employer are to sign off on them, showing that you have in fact completed the task.

It is almost certain that you will not work in a place that will provide you with all of the skills you are to obtain while at work, so pay attention in school to fill in the gaps so when you write the test you aren't boned. The ministry rep must cover all apprenticeships in Ontario, so they won't know if you happen to be missing a particular piece of equipment at work.

If you happen to know quite a bit about what you are doing in regard to your apprenticeship topic, I encourage you look into writing exemption exams. You can write an exam for each year of the apprenticeship. Each exam you pass, you skip a year of school. So if you're one of those guys who grew up around his dad fixing cars and you already do all your own repairs, you probably don't need to sit through the first few years of an auto mechanic's apprenticeship. However, even if you pass your exams, it is up to your employer to honour them. Even if you are able to pass theoretic exams, your employer may not be comfortable with your practical knowledge and has the right to prevent you from skipping years in your apprenticeship. I was lucky, my employer honoured my exam results and I only had to do one year of school to complete my apprenticeship, as well as coming up about 1400 hours short of the outlined requirement.