Apprenticeships have been around for centuries, but they’ve fallen out of favor in recent years. Instead, the focus has shifted to developing specialized skills through college and university programs, which can be significantly more expensive than an apprenticeship program. But increasingly, schools and companies like Edge Factor have been promoting and celebrating the power of apprenticeship programs.
Edge Factor’s new show Benchmark is a business-to-business series featuring industry leaders talking about the power of apprenticeships and offering insights and best practices on how to launch and develop a successful apprenticeship program.
What is an apprenticeship?
A good apprenticeship training program helps you gain valuable skills and experience while you earn a paycheck. It’s a form of training that takes place in an environment where the trainee works with an experienced worker.
Apprenticeships can last anywhere from one to four years depending on the skilled trade, and the apprentice will earn while they learn. This affords students and jobseekers an opportunity to gain hands-on experience and develop real-world skills relevant to their career pathways.
Apprenticeships benefit both people and companies. They provide an opportunity for people who need work experience or who want to learn a new skill but can’t go back to school or can’t fund their own education. Companies can also use apprenticeship programs to help their own employees advance their skill set. They benefit from growing their pool of experienced team members by letting employees learn new skills. Apprenticeships help employers retain talent, which ultimately alleviates the need to hire and train new staff members from scratch every time an employee retires.
“The value added is the long-term employees.” said William Patterson, Operational Maintenance Manager, Ferrero Canada Limited. “I am proud of the mentoring. I am proud of bringing a group into the maintenance world from production so they see the other side of the business as well…and build up their skills.”
More companies are realizing the benefits of offering apprenticeship jobs.
Apprenticeship is a time-tested methodology. The practice of passing knowledge from one person to the next through lived experience and repetition is tried and true. We learn best by doing, and we have to do something many times. If you only do it once, you won’t become an expert. Apprenticeship gives you the chance to learn from an expert and get lots of practice.
Here are just some of the ways apprenticeship programs impact the future workforce:
Apprenticeships bridge the gap between education and work.
Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to gain valuable skills and experience. They help bridge the gap between education and work. Apprenticeships can lead to full-time employment or be used as a stepping stone for training in another industry.
Employers can mentor and train a future workforce.
Employers who hire an apprentice can help to fill the skills gap in their industry, while at the same time developing new talent. By providing on-the-job training and valuable mentorship opportunities, businesses can train new workers and grow their workforce in ways that might not otherwise be possible.
There will always be a need for skilled trades.
If you’re a business owner, there’s no reason to worry about a shortage of skilled trades. There will always be a need for skilled trades, but there aren’t enough workers trained in these fields to fill the gap.
Skilled trades can be lucrative and rewarding careers with long-term job security. Since society relies on the environment and infrastructure skilled trades provide, offering apprenticeship programs is a way to ensure your company has an adequate supply of workers who have been properly trained in their field.
You don’t need to travel to take advantage of apprenticeships.
You don't need to travel to take advantage of apprenticeships, either. They are available across different fields and they aren't just for people who want to work with their hands. And you don’t need a college degree or any previous experience in the field you want to work in.
Apprenticeships are flexible and fit into many different career paths.
Apprenticeships are flexible and fit into many different career paths. Apprenticeships can be done full-time or part-time, so they’re ideal for making room in a busy schedule. Apprenticeships are also open to people of all ages, which means parents who want to continue working while raising their family can take advantage of this opportunity.
Apprentices gain valuable experience from skilled workers.
Apprenticeships offer valuable hands-on experience in a specific field, which can be a great way to get into the industry. Apprenticeship programs also offer apprentices the chance to learn from skilled workers who are already working in that profession.
Apprentice jobs are perfect for people who want to learn about a specific career field, but don't want to commit fully until they've gained some experience. Apprenticeship agreements usually run for one to four years, giving you time to try out your new skills before making a long-term commitment.
An apprenticeship program can secure your company’s future.
If you're looking for ways to secure your company’s future, offering apprenticeship positions is one way that will allow you to advance and grow. Mentorship benefits the mentor as well as the mentee – you provide master tradespeople an opportunity to pass on their knowledge and skills, which is rewarding for them as they witness a new generation of workers learn and grow. Your apprentices will bring a thirst for knowledge along with their own talents, fresh ideas and innovation that can move your company and the industry forward to push back the edge of what’s possible.
“As the aging workforce exits the trade, we need to replenish the workforce with younger people looking to enter the trades. Through our apprenticeship program, we are able to take the knowledge from our senior, highly-skilled staff and pour it into the young people and shape them into the type of people we’d like to hire.” Dean Luttrell, Regional Service Manager, Rush Truck Centres of Canada
New Series inspires business leaders to build and identify strategies to grow apprenticeship opportunities
Edge Factor’s Benchmark series features business leaders in various industries who have successfully launched apprenticeship programs. They share best practices and talk about what makes them most proud of their apprenticeship programs.
The benefits and rewards range from seeing apprentices learn new skills to watching a seasoned apprentice move into the role of a mentor. Be inspired to build the future workforce as you learn how to implement and grow your apprenticeship opportunities.
Werner Bohner, President of Lorik Tool & Automation, shared that he is most proud of the fact that most of their long-term employees started out as apprentices with the company.
“I believe apprenticeship is the way to get more skilled tradespeople.” - Werner Bohner.
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