By now, we hope that we’ve made it pretty clear that manufacturing offers a lot of great jobs. And we’ve already given you a few ways–like internships and manufacturing-centered job search sites–to get started with a career in manufacturing.
But you may be pretty surprised to know that there is yet another way to get started with a career in manufacturing: apprenticeships.
What is an apprenticeship?
The Nebraska Department of Labor defines an apprenticeship pretty well:
Apprenticeship is a training program where you earn wages while you learn a skilled profession. Apprentice-able occupations may be found in construction, plumbing, electrical, healthcare, culinary arts and others… Similar to a college education, it takes several years to become fully trained in the occupation you choose. Unlike college, however, as an apprentice, you earn while you learn. In the beginning, you will earn less money than skilled workers, but as you progress, you will receive regular raises. Once you have mastered the craft, you will receive the same wages as the professionals who participated in your training.
So, it’s kind of like an internship–except in this case, you receive highly skilled training and are guaranteed to make money while you do it. And in some cases these days, you can even get a regular education while you do it.
Just recently, Thomasnet (a leading authority in manufacturing logistics) ran a pretty interesting article about apprenticeships. They mentioned a few interesting facts about apprenticeships in this day and age:
- As demand for highly skilled manufacturing talent intensifies, such programs remain a largely untapped source for advanced manufacturers facing a talent shortage.
- Apprentices and journeyworkers earn credentials that are recognized nationally and often globally, not to mention jobs that usually pay higher wages.
- Although apprentices make up only about 0.3 percent of the total U.S. workforce, the upward trajectory of education costs in recent years could make apprenticeships a more viable avenue for people seeking education and professional development.
- For the nation’s advanced manufacturing industry, these programs offer huge potential as a means of training and retaining much-needed talent in skill sets related to the industry’s four major occupational areas: machining; metal-forming; tool, die, and mold making; and machine building and maintenance.
For some time, apprenticeships were a very popular way for manufacturers to train future employees (that’s obviously not the case anymore, as you saw that they make up only about .3 percent of the total workforce here in the U.S.).
But even so, apprenticeships are still a useful, viable option for training people in manufacturing.
Getting an apprenticeship
Because apprenticeships are less common today than they used to be, getting an apprenticeship these days isn’t as easy as, say, getting an internship or a normal job in manufacturing. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.
If you’re legitimately interested in pursuing an apprenticeship, though, the Nebraska Department of Labor has a number of useful resources. We recommend checking out the following:
- The Registered Apprenticeship Job Seeker Request Form, for getting in touch with a state representative who can help you find an apprenticeship
- The List of Officially Recognized Apprenticeable Occupations, for exploring different careers that you can get an apprenticeship in
It may even be worth getting in touch with local manufacturers directly–as even if they don’t offer an apprenticeship program, they may be able to get you lined up with an internship. That would be a win-win either way.
The great thing about manufacturing is that there are so many potential ways into a great career in the industry. They’re all worth a look.
If you’re interested in a career in manufacturing and have questions about where to start looking, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and let us know. We’re always happy to help, and we have a lot of great resources that we can share if you’re looking for advice.