Once a popular way for young people to learn a skill or trade, apprenticeships have, until recently, seemingly been on the brink of extinction. However, apprenticeships are back and it’s definitely a good thing.
That said, this sudden resurgence of something that was nearly lost can leave a person wondering about the reasons behind the apprenticeship revival.
Why would a young person choose this path which once seemed to be dying away?
Looking at it from another angle, why would businesses choose apprenticeships as a means of hiring help?
Here are a few of the reasons behind the resurgence of apprenticeships and how you can start down the right path to creating an apprenticeship program of your own.
Why Choose Apprenticeships?
Changing Roles of Work and Higher Education
College debt is a real problem in this country and continues to grow at an exponential rate. Therefore, when graduating high school students are faced with the decision to head to a four-year college or immediately set off into the workforce, the latter often seems to be the more logical of the two.
This is where apprenticeships step in. Because apprenticeships offer both a job and an education, they are a great way to learn a skilled trade without going into significant debt. Therefore, apprenticeship opportunities are becoming more and more sought after by this younger generation of workers.
Increased Demand in Skilled Occupations
In addition to the fact that apprenticeships offer specific job training without the high cost of a university education, we’re also seeing an increased need for skilled occupations. This often refers to work within skilled-craft and construction industries but apprenticeships are no longer confined to these types of careers.
Read more about how the state of South Carolina has improved their job economy with apprenticeship programs.
In fact, as machines begin taking over many of the skilled jobs that were once learned through apprenticeships, we find that different kinds of apprenticeship-based jobs are now emerging: We’re seeing apprenticeship opportunities crop up in such industries as tech, manufacturing, and even healthcare.
Businesses Like Apprenticeships
New workers aren’t the only ones who benefit from apprenticeships. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, businesses also enjoy a number of great benefits from these relationships.
For instance, apprenticeships bring in inexpensive help for the short term while also ensuring well-trained individuals are available to pick up work within the business in the long term. Apprenticeships have been shown to increase employee retention rates which, in turn, lower turnover costs. For example, in its first year, an apprenticeship program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center reported an internal revenue return of 40%.
Finally, some businesses have even found that apprentices are slightly more productive than other employees! Apprentices are motivated by other factors – their desire to learn and, hopefully, the promise of a steady job with the successful completion of their program.
Get Started with Your Apprenticeship Program
Developing Your Apprenticeship Program
To start an apprenticeship program of your own, you must first develop the components of your program. All programs should include the following:
Business Involvement — It’s very important that businesses are active in the development and growth of their apprenticeship program. This ensures the program is beneficial to all involved.
On-the-Job Training — It’s a well-known fact that apprenticeships are, at their core, on-the-job training. This is an important component of any apprenticeship program and the training structure, timing, and progression should be carefully thought out.
Related Instruction — More traditional classroom instruction may also be required in some apprenticeship programs. This instruction is often carried out by a local community college or technical school, though it could also be carried out by the business. The cost of this instruction is, generally, at least partially covered by the business.
Rewards for Skill Gains — Increasing an apprentice’s wages or other benefits as they progress through your program is very important for ensuring they stay motivated.
National Occupational Credential — Every apprentice who completes your program should receive a nationally recognized credential. Of course, this means you must incorporate all necessary job skills into your program in order to ensure your graduates are well trained.
Registered Apprenticeships are apprenticeships that are approved by the U.S. Department of Labor. They offer benefits to both businesses and apprentices, making them uniquely valuable.
Benefits of a Registered Apprenticeship include:
Technical Assistance and Support — If you’re having trouble navigating the process of starting or growing your program, you can receive support from the apprentice network free of charge.
National Credential — The credential we mentioned above is only available to registered apprenticeships. This credential is an important tool for apprenticeship graduates as is its portability – should an apprenticeship graduate ever leave your business, the skills and credentials they earned while working with you are transferable within the industry.
Quality Standards — In order to register your program, you must meet national standards. Therefore, by registering, you show potential apprentices that you take pride in your business and your apprenticeship program.
Tax Credits & Support — The state of Florida provides tuition support to cover the cost of courses and instructors’ salaries for apprenticeship instruction reducing the overall cost of the program.
Federal Resources — Besides the tax credits and support mentioned above, registered apprenticeship programs are entitled to many other federal resources.
Who Can Help
If you’re ready to get started, you may be wondering who to turn to for help.
CareerSource North Central Florida has a history of working with earn-while-you-work programs. We’re looking to the future and want to speak with business owners who are interested in starting such programs of their own. Often, we are able to help subsidize wages and can even work with state colleges to subsidize training costs.
For more information, please contact us today. Together, we can unlock the full potential of our community and give the workforce the opportunity to compete on a global scale.