How Apprenticeship Programs Boost Skills & Promote Career Readiness


Apprenticeship programs help educators prepare students for life after graduation

Setting students up for success after they graduate is an enormous responsibility. Educators want to confidently send students into the world with useful skills they need for their careers.

Apprenticeships can be the solution educators are looking for.

Apprenticeship programs can help bridge the gap between a students graduation to their professional careers.

Now more than ever industry professionals are seeking bright young talent to join their teams—and apprenticeship programs are here to answer the call.

What is an apprenticeship program?

Apprenticeship programs are defined as industry-driven, high-quality career pathways where employers develop and prepare their future workforce, and where students benefit from paid work experience, classroom instruction, and mentorship.

Apprenticeship programs are opportunities for high school and postsecondary students to “earn and learn” about specific job sectors. They blend academic and technical instruction with paid work experience.

Some of the most popular apprenticeship programs include these job sectors:

  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Architecture
  • Construction
  • Banking

How do apprenticeships work?

Apprenticeship programs can take many forms but they usually have the following traits:

  1. Business involvement: An employer must be involved in creating and maintaining the program.
  2. Structured on-the-job training: Students spend time learning on the job with a mentor. The training must meet national industry standards that are customized for the workplace.
  3. Related instruction: Students receive classroom training to ensure they meet national-level standards. Community colleges, technical schools, or apprenticeship training schools can provide this instruction.
  4. Benefits for learning skills: As apprentices work through the program and gain more skills, they’re rewarded with higher compensation.

How do apprenticeships differ from internships?

There are a few notable differences between an apprenticeship and a paid internship.

These are the most common differences:

Nationally-recognized credential: Apprentices earn an industry-recognized credential. This is a major key difference between apprenticeships and internships.

  1. Direct experience: Apprentices get to build and demonstrate their skills with hands-on experience in their work throughout the apprenticeship. Interns on the other hand observe and learn through the employees’ experiences.
  2. Career advancement: Apprentices are more likely to transition into full-time employees because the company has invested time and resources in their development. While it’s true that in internships interns can acquire valuable networking connections, there’s no promise that they’ll land a full-time role at the company.
  3. Status of career development: Students may decide to complete an apprenticeship versus pursuing a college degree. Because internships adapt to college semesters and courses, they’re ideal for college students.

How do students benefit from apprenticeship programs?

Apprenticeship programs play a valuable role in preparing students for future careers.

Students gain useful skills, networking opportunities, and can transition from school to careers more quickly. The U.S. Department of Labor found that apprentices who completed apprenticeship programs earn approximately $300,000 more during their careers than their peers.

Here are five ways students benefit from apprenticeships:

  1. Earn & learn: Make money while learning real-world skills.
  2. Free education: Earn an associate degree with no student debt.
  3. Help students make career choices: Get insight into a field of interest.
  4. Get ahead of the curve: Finish high school classes and enroll in college courses faster.
  5. Gain valuable skills: Learn high demand skills.
READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know about Apprenticeship Programs (and Why You Might Want to Start Applying Now)

What can educators do to support apprenticeship programs?

Educators can play an important role in forming successful apprenticeship programs just by being active participants.

Here’s how:

  1. Build a robust program: Assist in developing and organizing apprenticeship programs alongside companies. For example, work with employers by structuring apprenticeships programs around your curriculum or vice versa.
  2. Create a buzz: Build awareness among students & their parents about opportunities. Host Q&A meetings or events so parents and students can connect directly with apprenticeship program leaders.
  3. Career connections: Connect students with employers. Ask participating employers to give a classroom presentation or host an on-campus event on apprenticeship programs to inform and entice students.

How can educators help their students get apprenticeships?

Educators can help their students land apprenticeships in the following ways:

  1. Create a pre-apprenticeship: Give your students introductions to job sectors (e.g., CAD drafter, manufacturer, electrician, etc.) to give them a taste of future career possibilities.
  1. Find opportunities for applied learning: Build curriculum and deliver classroom instruction that provides pathways to apprenticeships your students are interested in.
  2. Start a program: If there aren’t any apprenticeship programs in your community, partner with local employers to manage a program at your school.

How can SolidProfessor help your students excel in apprenticeship programs?

SolidProfessor is the leading online learning platform for engineering, architecture, and manufacturing design. Since SolidProfessor is used by companies to train their employees, you can be confident your students are learning the skills the industry requires.

Including SolidProfessor before or alongside an engineering, architecture, or manufacturing apprenticeship program will help make teaching easier and support your students in achieving their career goals.

Here’s how SolidProfessor strengthens any apprenticeship program:

  1. Develop college and career readiness: Help students earn industry-recognized certifications through SolidProfessors’ online learning platform for engineering, architecture, and manufacturing design.
  2. Develop more advanced skills: Improve your student’s skills with over 400 video courses on SOLIDWORKS, Autodesk, Onshape, and more.
  3. Customized lesson plans: Build and modify lessons around what students are learning alongside mentors in their apprenticeship program.

Stephanie Castillo
About the Author