Apprentices work alongside skilled workers as full-time employees gaining invaluable hands-on experience. This, along with classroom instruction, prepares apprentices for their long-term career. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 9 out of 10 apprentices are employed after the completion of their program.
Though you won’t have to invest much financially – apprentices earn as they learn – you will be investing your time and energy. It’s important to find a program that offers as much value as possible so you get the most out of your experience and have as many opportunities as possible upon completion.
Now the question is: how do you know which apprenticeship program is right for you?
Consider the following:
Decide what area you’d like to focus on first.
As we shared above, apprentices learn a skilled trade on the job and in the classroom. This specialized training should be tailored to your dream career path.
Take some time to answer the following questions:
- What are some of your strengths? Do you have an engineering mind or are you adept at working with your hands?
- What interests you? Is there a skilled trade that’s especially intriguing?
- What is your long-term career vision? Do you see yourself in a leadership role?
Answering these questions should point you to a specialty. But if it doesn’t – no problem. A general construction laborer apprenticeship is best for those that don’t have a clear direction at the start of their construction journey. No matter what route you take, beginning with an apprenticeship will set you up for lasting success.
Find a reputable apprenticeship program.
Anyone can claim “apprenticeship program” without meeting certain criteria. It’s important to do your research. After all, any program can come up with a flashy website to attract applicants, even if their training is sub-par. Look for state registered and union-sponsored training to ensure you’re getting sufficient training that will meet your future employers’ standards. Registered programs receive the National Apprenticeship Act’s stamp of approval, which means they meet the high standards set for:
- Length of program
- Training and experience offered
- Instructor qualification
- And more
Connect with the program directly.
Before signing up, speak with a representative to learn about the program. Reputable programs should have no problem answering questions like:
- What does an average day of training look like?
- What is the off-jobsite classroom curriculum? When are those classes offered?
- Who will I be working with? Will I have a mentor dedicated to my success?
- All apprentices earn as they learn, but what does that income look like? Is there a graduated pay scale based on experience?
- What sort of job search support can I expect at the end of the training?
Though it can be tempting to choose the first program you find, taking the time to find the right fit is worth it. According to the US Department of Labor, workers who begin their career with an apprenticeship earn $300,000 more over the course of their career than those who don’t.
To begin our apprenticeship search, check out this article for more information.