What is apprenticeship?

A complete guide to all apprenticeships dealing with the construction industry can be found at Construction Careers.org.

1. What is apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship training is a formal system of employee training that combines on-the-job training with related technical instruction. It is designed to produce craftworkers who are fully competent in all aspects of an occupation including knowledge, skill and proficiency on the job. With apprenticeship training, there is a written contract between the apprentice and the employer or apprenticeship program sponsor, which is approved by and registered with the State of Minnesota. This agreement specifies the total length of training, number of school hours (related technical instruction) and an outline of the skills of the trade to be learned and the wages the apprentice will receive.

2.  When did the Minnesota Apprenticeship Program begin?

Apprenticeship began in Minnesota in 1939. The federal government, having received the need for states to have trained and skilled workers in craft occupations, subsequently approved the Minnesota Apprenticeship Program submitted in 1939. Upon approval by the Federal Bureau of Apprenticeship, the State of Minnesota conducted its first Apprenticeship Advisory Council meeting on September 18, 1939, chaired by Dr. C. A. Prosser of Dunwoody Institute. Since that date, over 100,000 Minnesotans have been registered as apprentices. Thousands of businesses, both large and small, have trained apprentices to meet industry needs, as well as provide highly skilled, high wage jobs for apprentices.

3. Is there a shortage of skilled workers in Minnesota?

Most of the time there is a shortage of skilled workers and future shortages are anticipated. In many industries and occupations, employers are becoming more and more concerned about the shortage of job candidates with the necessary skills and abilities.

4. What types of industries have apprenticeship programs?

A variety of industries have apprenticeship programs. Construction companies benefit greatly from apprenticeship programs. In fact, without a continuous flow of apprentices becoming journeyworkers in the trades, quality construction standards would be severely affected.

5. How many apprenticeship occupations are there in Minnesota?

There are over 300 apprenticeship occupations in Minnesota.

6. What are the major benefits of apprenticeship?

  • Apprentices gain valuable skills and knowledge, making them more marketable in the future.
  • Apprenticeship can serve as an entry point into a long lasting career.
  • Apprentices have the opportunity to learn a trade, earn a good wage, and have job security.

7. Is a high school diploma necessary for entry into an apprenticeship?

A high school diploma or GED is required for apprentice applicants. Mathematics, science and industrial technical courses are especially helpful in being considered for an apprenticeship.

8. As a student, how do I prepare to qualify for an apprenticeship?

If you are a student, your teachers or counselors will be able to help you select classes to prepare for apprenticeship. With their guidance you can plan course work to obtain the basic skills in mathematics, reading comprehension and basic science. These skills are necessary to be successful in an apprenticing profession. In most instances, a great deal of time and money is required to prepare for your career. In a registered apprenticeship you can actually earn while you learn your chosen occupation.

An apprenticeship can be as valuable to you as a four-year college scholarship.

Points to consider:

  • Study many occupations before choosing one.
  • Plan your course work to support your professional interests.
  • Talk to school or vocational counselors about your interests and abilities.
  • Talk to family, friends, teachers, counselors and union representatives about apprenticeship.
  • Look for part time or summer employment to test your occupational interests.

Remember, your successful search and preparation today can lead to rewarding apprenticeship and, ultimately, a secure and fulfilling career in a highly skilled trade in the future.