Julia di Bonaventura’s article “5 Reasons You Should Think about Apprenticeship for Your Child” does a great job of explaining why parents should encourage their children to explore apprenticeship opportunities. A google search “why should parents explore apprenticeships” will return hundreds of results you might also like to check out. While a four-year college may be the right choice for some it isn’t for everyone!
Apprenticeship is a proven model/career pathway. It combines both tactile on-the-job learning supported by formal instruction and is unique in that apprentices earn while the learn! For many apprenticeship provides both an affordable and clear pathway to a productive and fulfilling career all while minimizing student debt and maximizing opportunity.
Following are Julia’s top five reasons to consider an apprenticeship:
1. Financial pay-off
In apprenticeship programs, not only is most of the academic training paid for by employers, but apprentices also earn while they learn. They receive wages from day one and can receive pay increases as they meet benchmarks for mastering skills. Apprentices do not have to forgo an income to pursue education and training. While some apprentices go on to pursue further education, such as a bachelor’s degree (sometimes even partially supported financially by the employer), apprenticeship can be a direct path to high-paying and in-demand jobs in growing industries. For many young people and families who face the crippling worry about the financial burden of college, apprenticeship is a worthwhile option.
2. Relevant and valuable training
Unlike other traditional education systems, apprenticeship programs need businesses and educational institutions to work together. For example, employers tell educators and students exactly what they need their future workforce to know and be able to do, and in turn, training is developed based on national industry standards and customized to meet the employer’s needs. Through on-the-job and hands-on training from an experienced mentor, apprentices have access to the most up-to-date tools, technology, and knowledge. Therefore, apprentices are confident that what they learn and the skills they develop are of value to their future employers.
3. Early exposure to careers and the world of work
Through traditional college programs, career exploration often comes into play too late in the game. Apprenticeship, on the other hand, offers early access to professional environments and career-specific information. Apprentices meaningfully explore careers firsthand and observe and practice professional norms. Apprenticeship is also a job, which means that apprentices are treated like employees and held to the same professional expectations as their full-time and permanent colleagues. Learning about the world of work doesn’t usually happen authentically in a college classroom.
4. Opportunity to build meaningful relationships
Young people can begin to build their social capital through work-based learning experiences. When social and professional networks can open doors, this is an invaluable benefit of apprenticeship. For many young people, the opportunity to build relationships with professionals in their field further engages them in the work and motivates them towards success. If eventually they do transition out of their apprenticeship program, they do so with a deep understanding of the world of work and strong interpersonal ties to a network.
5. Nationally-recognized credentials
Apprentices in state and federal registered apprenticeship programs receive a credential that signals to other employers that the apprentice is fully qualified for the job. The credential incorporates related instruction on the technical and academic competencies that apply to the job. Related instruction can be earned through a community college, a technical school, an apprenticeship training school, or the sponsoring employer. It can be delivered at a school, on the job site, or online. Many apprentices complete an apprenticeship program with job opportunities or prospects from employers, but in the case that they don’t, they will have earned a credential that’s valuable across the industry.
Keeping these reasons in mind, it’s also worth highlighting the new wave of bipartisan support for apprenticeship. Over the past three years, the federal government has invested over $360 million in apprenticeship. This growth has led to innovation in the field and contributed to a changing picture of what apprenticeship looks like.
This significant federal investment has also initiated an expansion of the apprenticeship system into youth apprenticeship and preapprenticeship programs. Many state and local education systems are exploring or piloting youth apprenticeship or preapprenticeship programs for high school students. In line with the apprenticeship model, employers are investing in these programs in partnership with education and workforce systems.
From financial stability to credentials of value, there are clear benefits of apprenticeship for students after graduating high school (and maybe even before). While apprenticeship is one of many education options for young people, it’s worth exploring if it’s the right option for your student.
Questions? Need More Information?
If you have questions about apprenticeships and the career path they provide for young people, please contact us.