Apprenticeships develop employees who can do many different tasks. They usually involve several related groups of skills that allow the apprentice to practice a particular trade, and they take place over a long period of time in which the apprentice works for, and with, the senior skilled worker. Apprenticeships are especially appropriate for jobs requiring production skills.
Big companies may be able to glean from this traditional training model, however. While apprenticeships are thought to primarily benefit workers in low-skill trade jobs, experts say the training method has expanded to the information technology and health care fields industries in high demand for top talent.
Unlike common training methods, apprenticeships combine academic education with on-the-job training, said Andrew Hanson, a research analyst for Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. The programs aim to teach both technical and soft skills such as communication, problem solving and teamwork, while the employee earns what is roughly equal to a year of coursework at a community college.
“The main thing that differentiates apprenticeships from internships is that they are highly structured and provide more on-the-job experience and practical, career-relevant learning than internships,” Hanson said. “Apprenticeships are run by many different kinds of firms and organizations, but the most successful ones are those that are highly structured and have a significant amount of employer engagement.