The Trend of Apprenticeships

Rachel Ludwig
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An apprenticeship is an accessible job training approach that benefits both the employer and the employee. Unlike an internship that lasts a few months, weeks, or a semester, an apprenticeship is usually a full-time, paid position with a focus on on-the-job learning that can last anywhere from one to six years, depending on the trade or industry. Dating back hundreds of years, apprenticeships were once a popular way to learn a craft and provided an entry point into the workforce for young workers. 

Now, apprenticeships look slightly different and appeal to young people and students at the start of their careers as well as experienced job seekers looking to change industries. According to the US Department of Labor, over “150,000 employers in more than 1,000 occupations” are offering apprenticeships and that number is only growing. Apprenticeships can transform your perspective on new employees and if you are in a specialized industry, they can provide a great, in-house way to foster talent. 

In order to examine why apprenticeships are becoming more popular, think about this common hiring scenario: after combing through several resumes and conducting multiple interviews with over half a dozen candidates, you settle on the person who gave the most compelling interview…only to find that they don’t have all of the skills needed and may have oversold their capabilities. Not only did you spend a lot of time in the hiring process, but you’re also now spending additional time in the training process to get them up to speed. 

Unlike the traditional hiring process, apprenticeships focus on the training aspect from the outset. Instead of spending time and resources seeking out the perfect candidate who can hit the ground running, you’re instead investing that time and those resources to train an apprentice in the exact skills needed. By doing so, you’re creating a highly skilled employee and developing a strong foundation of mutual trust that can last several years. 

By hiring an apprentice, you’re ensuring that he or she is trained to your company’s exact specifications, and you can even receive government incentives like tax credits. One DOL study showed that 70% of college graduates in 2016 planned to leave their job within the first three years while registered apprentices had an 89% three-year retention rate, a staggering difference! 

Apprenticeship programs can also diversify your workforce and bring new talent to the table that may not have otherwise applied to your company. Because apprenticeships are “earn as you learn” you can attract a much larger pool of candidates who would normally be unable to participate in an unpaid internship or couldn’t afford the tuition costs of a traditional training or certification program. Apprenticeships are also a great option to attract veterans and other individuals changing industries. 

Adding an apprenticeship program to your company could be a good way to reinvigorate your hiring process and create a long-term relationship with an employee from the ground up. 


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