Many contractors choose to take on apprentices to expand their crews. Not only does this give you someone who can assist with your work, but it also gives you influence on the next generation of contractors and how they will work.
Everything that you teach your apprentices will affect how they approach the job as they grow into more responsible roles, and many of your lessons may eventually be passed down to their future apprentices as well.
So how do you find an apprentice? There are actually a few different options available. Here are some of the best ways to go about finding and training an apprentice, though you may have other options available as well, depending on where you live and work.
State and Union Resources
When looking for an apprentice, there are usually a lot of resources within your state’s department of workforce development and any unions you may be a part of. Both of these organizations exist to build the workforce and ensure fair treatment of employees, so they have a vested interest in programs that train and support people seeking to elevate themselves within the industry. Apprenticeship is a great way for unskilled or semi-skilled laborers to learn contracting as a trade and advance within the industry, so you should be able to find a number of potential candidates through these resources.
Another option for finding an apprentice is to check with trade schools and other trade organizations within your area. These organizations often have men and women who hope to find skilled work and build a career around it, so they already have the motivation and ambition that you want in an apprentice. Talk with administrators or teachers to help you find potential candidates for an apprenticeship since they should have an idea of who’s best suited for that next step.
When it comes to training an apprentice, it’s important to remember that this isn’t just another laborer that you’ve added to your team. An apprenticeship is designed to teach the apprentice the ins and outs of your trade, so you need to make sure that the training you provide actually covers everything that the apprentice needs to know.
Your goal is to train the apprentice so that in a few years he or she will have a strong understanding of contracting as a trade, and that includes day-to-day responsibilities, bid development and a number of other parts of the job that your standard crew member isn’t necessarily going to need to know how to do. Make sure that you cover it all over the course of the apprenticeship period.
The requirements for apprenticeship programs vary from one state to another and in some cases from one organization to another, as well.
At a minimum, there will be a few years of work and study, alongside basic requirements such as a minimum age (typically 18) and minimum educational requirements (typically a high school diploma or GED.)
Make sure that your potential apprentice knows and understands the requirements and how long of a process their apprenticeship can be… in many cases, they’ll be an apprentice for at least 3 to 4 years. Bring this up when talking to potential apprentices, and provide periodic updates during training to help your apprentice see just how far they’ve come with your guidance.