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The Meat & Potatoes of Apprenticeships

It's been a minute since our

last blog post. Spring is always a busy time of year. An increase in temps and state testing generally brings a decrease in overall motivation, which means an uptick in the need for our presence and attention. Educators, are you doing okay out there? Do you need coffee? If you're reading this - come see me. I have coffee.

After our brief blog hiatus, it seemed fitting to bring a post about apprenticeships. Apprenticeships were a big part of SAIL's initial creation, and while they still are, they have proven to quite the endeavor. Lots of misconceptions and state roadblocks means it's taken us a bit - but they are worth fighting for.

Apprenticeships were standard practice "back in the day." Then we saw a shift to a focus on college degrees, and as I said before, that's an entirely separate blog post to be had someday. For now though, let's focus on the meat and potatoes of apprenticeships and the benefits - because I can promise you, they are all benefits.

Apprenticeships in a high school setting are an excellent way for students to gain real-world experience and skills while still completing their education. The earn while you learn model allows students to earn a wage while they train, which can help them offset the cost of education and build valuable work experience. In this blog post, we'll talk about the benefits of apprenticeships for both students and employers, common and not so common industries that offer apprenticeships, and the types of education that apprenticeships provide.

Benefits for Students

One of the biggest benefits of apprenticeships for students is the ability to gain valuable work experience while still in school. Apprenticeships allow students to learn skills that can be applied in a real-world setting, which can be more beneficial than theoretical knowledge in a classroom setting. This experience can help students build a resume and solidifies employment post-graduation. An apprenticeship comes with an agreement between the employer and the apprentice. In this agreement, this promise, the employer is is offering a full-time position to that apprentice upon completion of that apprenticeship.In addition to gaining work experience, apprenticeships can also help students earn a wage while they train. This can be especially beneficial for student

s who may not have the financial means to pay for their education outright. By earning a wage, students can offset the cost of education and build financial independence.

As an example, I met a girl at a conference this fall. She apprenticed with a company as a welder in high school. Graduated and was handed her diploma, her welding certification, and an offer of a full-time position with this very well-known company (think a green tractor) at her graduation. They then sent her to college for engineering on their dime, part of her continued apprenticeship package. She has a career with that company, a college degree with no debt, multiple certifications with no debt, and knowledge and experience she could not have received anywhere else.

Benefits for Employers

Employers also benefit from offering apprenticeships in a high school setting. By hiring apprentices, employers can train employees to meet their specific needs and expectations. This can help to reduce the cost of recruitment and improve the quality of new hires. In addition, apprenticeships can help to build loyalty and commitment among employees who have received valuable training from their employer. Companies with an active apprenticeship program see less turnover and a higher return on investment for employees.

Common and Not So Common Industries

Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of industries, from traditional trades like carpentry and plumbing to high-tech fields like cybersecurity and computer programming. Some other industries that offer apprenticeships include:

  • Healthcare: Apprenticeships in healthcare can include positions like nursing assistants and medical assistants.

  • Hospitality: Apprenticeships in hospitality can include positions like cooks, chefs, and hotel managers.

  • Energy: Apprenticeships in the energy sector can include positions like electricians and HVAC technicians.

  • Others of Interest: Beekeepers (I bet you were wondering why I had a beekeeper up there), Arborist, Seaman, Floral Designer

Types of Education

Apprenticeships can provide a variety of educational opportunities, from on-the-job training to formal classroom instruction. Some common types of education include:

  • Certificate programs: Certificate programs offer formal training and education in a specific field or trade.

  • On-the-job training: On-the-job training allows students to learn while they work, gaining practical experience in their chosen field.

  • Classroom instruction: Some apprenticeships offer classroom instruction (both high school and college courses) in addition to on-the-job training. This can help students gain a deeper understanding of the theory behind their chosen field.

Overall, apprenticeships in a high school setting offer numerous benefits for both students and employers. Students can gain valuable work experience while earning a wage, while employers can train employees to meet their specific needs and expectations. Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of industries and can provide various types of education, from on-the-job training to formal classroom instruction. By offering apprenticeships, high schools can help students build practical skills and prepare for a successful future in the workforce.

There are endless roadmaps to a successful future, let's normalize lengthy conversations on all of the possibilities.

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