Apprenticeships have a long history of uniting young or inexperienced workers with masters of a given skill or profession. While formal education and training programs have replaced apprenticeships in some fields, students can still take advantage of the benefits of an apprenticeship where states or employers offer such a program. Apprentices agree to provide labor in exchange for instruction and a modest salary.
Apprentices receive hands-on training that is focused on providing a functional, practical knowledge of the field. Unlike classroom instruction, which can deviate from the practical element of a skill and focus instead on theory and history, apprentices augment their classroom instruction by receiving a large amount of practical training performing the tasks their chosen field requires. They also get to observe experienced workers and see firsthand how jobs are completed.
The financial advantage of an apprenticeship is what draws many apprentice applicants to the program. Instead of paying tuition or course fees as they would in a college or for a training course, apprentices earn a wage as they learn. This eliminates the need for student loans and allows apprentices to complete their training without debt and, in many cases, some savings. This is especially useful for apprentices who want to go into business for themselves as independent contractors and won't have a regular income immediately.
Employers can use apprenticeships to build loyalty among prospective employees. An apprentice learns the employer's particular policies and methods during training while also developing personal relationships with colleagues and supervisors. If an apprentice transitions into a full-time position once his training is complete, it can be the beginning of a long-term career that allows the employer to avoid recruiting a new worker and investing in training.
Apprenticeships are generally more flexible than formal training or education. Instead of meeting a classroom schedule, apprentices can schedule their work and training hours based on the employer's work calendar, which may include weekend hours and the ability to take time off. Apprenticeships also allow for flexible teaching methods through one-on-one relationships. Apprenticeships combine hands-on, verbal and written teaching methods, which allows them to reach all types of learners.