With the right combination of ingredients, training and skill, you can create magic in the kitchen. And your recipe for success can be found in the Cook – Weekly Apprenticeship Training System (WATS) program. From catering special banquets to preparing meals for large institutions to cooking up gourmet delights in an upscale restaurant, your Cook Apprenticeship prepares you for it all.
This three-year apprenticeship takes place with your needs in mind. One day a week is spent here at the college, expanding your expertise and gaining technical training vital to your culinary future. For the rest of the week, you’ll be putting what you’ve learned into practice on the job. It’s the perfect blend that allows you to pursue your education while continuing to earn an income.
Prepare for your Red Seal exam and apply to the Cook Apprenticeship program today!
In just three short years, you’ll be ready to write the Red Seal exam and pursue your career in:
- bases and camps
Weekly Apprenticeship Training System (WATS) programs involve one day of training at Lethbridge College per week throughout the length of the program.
- Butcher shop and cooking proteins
- Management controls and nutritional components
- Cold kitchen
View the full course outline for the Cook – WATS Apprenticeship.
- Successful completion of English 10-2, Math 10-3, or a pass mark in all five Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests, or entrance exam.
- English 30-2, Math 30-3, Physics 20 or Chemistry 20 or Science 20, and related career and technology studies courses are recommended.
Please note: You must be a registered apprentice to apply for this program. Information on how to become a registered apprentice is available on the Alberta Government's website.
Additional information on apprenticeship and industry training is available on Alberta's Tradesecrets website.
You can apply for apprenticeship and industry training through MyTradesecrets.
To arrange a tour, call 403-320-3322 or toll-free 1-800-572-0103.
Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board
Provincial Building, Room 280
200 - 5th Avenue South
Lethbridge AB T1J 4C7
Outside of North America: 1-403-476-9757
Ask about the Alberta Apprenticeship Scholarship Program. You might discover you’re eligible for a financial award!
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The perfect blend
Spend just one day a week on campus gaining technical training vital to your career.
Many apprenticeships require you to be on campus and away from the job for periods of eight weeks at a time. But with the Weekly Apprenticeship Training System, you remain employed on a full-time basis. Just one day a week is spent here on campus gaining technical training vital to your career. It’s what we call the perfect blend.
Hands-on, immersive training
Students serving students
You’ll be serving up culinary creations to the campus community.
Students serving students
Unlike most culinary programs where, for cost-saving purposes, students learn by watching demos and are then expected to somehow survive in the industry, at Lethbridge College you’ll actually prepare food. In fact, you’ll be treated like an employee as you prepare all food on campus from scratch. That food is then used in upcoming menus for our Food Court and Garden Court dining room as well as banquets and special functions. Our Culinary Services experience truly is students serving students.
With the exception of a required amount of theory (based on hours) in a traditional classroom, you’ll spend the majority of your time learning in kitchens and labs that emulate the restaurants, clubs and large scale operations like cruise ships and oil camps that will one day be your workplace.
That’s right. You’ll learn the science behind the food.
Though often referred to as the culinary arts, there is a whole other side to cooking: science. And in our culinary arts programs, we’re bringing that science into the classroom to improve your skills and expertise.
As a student in one of our culinary programs, you’ll tour our Aquaculture Centre of Excellence (ACE) to learn about sustainable growing of produce and food fish. Researchers over at ACE are growing produce with, believe it or not, fish waste. But the research to date indicates that there’s nothing fishy about the food grown in ACE.
Intrigued? You’ll have the opportunity to participate in ongoing organoleptic (sensory) testing led by Chef Rob Sonnenberg. It’s a test you can’t exactly prepare for. You’ll taste a variety of produce that could be from the aquaponics facilities a hundred metres away or from a store that’s a kilometer down the street. And your insights into things like preference, taste, look, smell and texture will help determine just how good the produce grown in our aquaponics facilities is.
Testing the best and brightest in skilled trades and technology.
After a year or two here, you’ll have what it takes to compete with the best of the best in your field on the provincial and national stage at Skills Canada. The Skills Canada National Competition is the only national, multi-trade and technology competition for students and apprentices in the country. It’s an experience of lifetime, with the possibility of being named the nation’s best in your chosen field. That opportunity starts with the exceptional hands-on training you’ll receive at Lethbridge College.
Red Seal designation
The ultimate goal of your apprenticeship is to work towards obtaining a journeyman and Red Seal in Cooking at the end of three years. The Red Seal is the Canadian standard for excellence in skilled trades and is respected nationally and globally, opening up doors for your career.
Our students can be found cooking in kitchens all over the world, competing in the World Culinary Olympics (and winning gold), supporting Culinary Team Alberta and Canada on the international stage, and opening up their own restaurants and establishments.
Upon successful completion of your apprenticeships and exams, you’ll receive a Red Seal endorsement on your provincial trade certification. And with that designation, you’ll be able to go from here to wherever your career takes you.
A taste of what's to come
From here to there: alumni updates
Lethbridge College isn’t just a place to go to school – we’re a community that is here to support you from your initial interest in our program through to the moment you cross the stage at Convocation and beyond. Just take a look at where an LC education has taken some of our grads.
The Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board named Jennifer Cearns the 2016 Top Cooks Apprentice. “In addition to working full-time and taking care of her young family, Jennifer was a student in the Weekly Apprentice Training for Cooks program at the college,” says her instructor, Chef Rob Sonnenberg. “Jennifer was extremely hard-working. She would come to the college two hours before her class started to study (often encouraging others in the course to join her). She was driven to understand the science behind cooking and always wanted to know all the answers.” Cearns works for the Good Samaritans Society at Linden View in Taber.
– From Spring 2017 Wider Horizons
After graduation, Debbie worked in restaurants for a few years and then went to McGill University where she earned a B.Ed. degree. She has been teaching cooking for 22 years now and during that time, she earned a diploma in pastries and desserts and then went back to McGill where she received a Master’s degree in education. She says it’s “been a busy career, and loving it!”
– From Spring 2017 Wider Horizons
Success stories from Wider Horizons
Your classroom is the kitchen
Take a look around at the spaces that could be your classroom with the virtual tour.