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Top 10 apprenticeship questions and answers

Not every skilled career is best learned by long hours in a classroom, and college isn't the only route to earning a well paid job. Many careers, especially those in hands-on trades, are better learned in the field, working with experts and gathering direct experience. Apprenticeships give you the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills while earning a wage; allowing you to make money whilst learning, rather than falling into debt as can sometimes happen when taking college courses.

However, the path through apprenticeship is perhaps not as well publicised as other routes into work and many people have several questions to be answered before they are ready to commit to a new career. If you are considering an apprenticeship or are simply looking for a college alternative, we're here to answer some of those pressing questions commonly asked about apprenticeship schemes.

1) What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is when someone who wishes to learn a trade takes a job working under experts of the same trade. As an apprentice, you will gain useful industry experience while assisting the company and team members while you undertake your training. Eventually, as your capability grows, you will begin to work independently on industry projects and will later graduate as a new worker in the trade. Unlike interns, apprentices are paid for their time and can be certain of a career in the future.

2) Do apprenticeships lead to rewarding careers?

Absolutely! There are many opportunities to excel as a professional following completion of an apprenticeship. There are dozens of options for apprenticeship trades, from electricians to automation specialists, and you can be one of them. Many apprentices find themselves in a management position within five years of beginning their training.

3) What does an apprentice do?

Apprentices practice their trade of choice and study the necessary knowledge. They often spend a part-time work week with their apprenticing company paired with several hours of coursework in order to learn the academic aspects of the job.

4) What are the benefits of an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships offer a large number of benefits to both the participant and the company offering their training. For you, an apprenticeship means:
• A guaranteed paycheque rather than of college debt
• In-depth, hands on learning experiences
• Years of experience on your resume
• Access to experts in your field

5) How do employers regard apprenticeships?

Employers prefer employees with first-hand job experience, especially when their work requires strict safety protocols to protect everyone involved. When looking for work after completing your apprenticeship, companies in your field will be happy to have you, knowing that you will require less training during your introductory period and that you respect the work they do.

6) Do apprentices stay with the companies that trained them?

Companies are not obligated to hire on an apprentice as an employee after the program is over, but many of them do. Often, they have gotten used to their apprentices and will enjoy having a 'new' employee who understands their team's inner workings.

7) How do you become an apprentice?

There are many programs that can either offer apprenticeships or will help you find companies that do. For most opportunities, you can find them listed online, on the website of companies with apprenticeships and in local community colleges. All you need to do is apply and be ready to both work and study hard.

8) How long will an apprenticeship take?

Apprenticeships vary in length. They must be at least a year long and usually are over by four years. In order to enrol in one, you will need to be between the ages of 16 and 24.

9) Are apprenticeships good for the businesses that offer them?

Yes. By offering apprenticeships, companies gain a great deal. First, they get the apprentice's valuable assistance, followed by the opportunity to train a new expert in exactly the procedures they prefer. By training apprentices, a business almost never has to hire an outsider if they don't want to, because skilled new workers generate within their organisation.

10) How much are apprentices paid?

Besides the excellent opportunity not to accrue debt while learning your trade, apprentice positions come with a reasonable entry-level pay scale. While all apprenticeships are different, you can get an idea of what you might be paid by calculating for 40 to 50 per cent of what fully trained experts are paid in the field.
If you or someone you know is considering joining an apprenticeship program, it's important to know the answers to these questions and more. For additional information, contact the company or school that is offering the specific apprenticeship you are considering.

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