Creating an Apprenticeship Program the Right Way

Apprenticeship programs are a great way to prepare workers to compete in today’s changing economy. It’s a win-win-win situation that benefits employers, employees, and workforce systems by keeping up with advancing technologies, innovations in training, and developments in human resource management. Take a look at what I mean:

  • Employers will have lower turnover rates, lower costs of recruitment, an increase in productivity, and have a safer workplace.
  • Employees are guaranteed a paycheck that will increase as training progresses, will get hands-on training (while simultaneously earning a degree), have a career with a competitive salary, accumulate little educational debt, and will earn an industry-recognized credential.
  • Workforce systems will help businesses thrive by building a skilled and productive workforce.

Apprenticeship programs are usually used in industries like entertainment, construction, and manufacturing. However, they can also be used in growing industries like healthcare, information technology, transportation, and energy. Are you considering creating an apprenticeship program for your business? Read below to make sure you’re creating the best apprenticeship program possible.

The most successful apprenticeships come from collaboration amongst a variety of partners, which are the following:


  • Business partners can identify the job-specific skills and knowledge that apprentices must learn.  They are responsible for on-the-job training.
  • Industry associations, also known as a workforce intermediaries, provide industry-specific expertise to support employers in a particular industry sector. They are business partners with the latest industry news, technologies, and techniques, helping their apprentices to be as successful as possible.
  • Four-year colleges, community colleges, and technical schools develop a curriculum and provide additional instruction to apprentices. As a bonus, apprentices can simultaneously earn a college degree, while working in your apprenticeship program. Similar to an internship, businesses and institutions must communicate with each other to determine what skills an apprentice will learn on the job, as well as the school requirements that must be met while on the job.
  • Public workforce systems are job centers that recruit and screen candidates for apprenticeships.
  • To provide technical assistance and support to new business partners, the apprenticeship system answers questions about how the apprenticeship model operates.  They can guide businesses through the steps to properly develop and register a program.

Now that you’re aware of the variety of partners businesses must work with to start and maintain an apprenticeship program, there are a few main components that businesses must provide to their apprentices to ensure success.

  • Businesses need to be active with their apprenticeship program by shaping the expectations, providing guidance to apprentices, and establishing clear guidelines about what to expect from the experience.
  • Businesses need to provide on-the-job training by listing the skills and knowledge that the apprentice must learn over the course of the program in order to be fully proficient at the job.
  • Businesses should provide their apprentices with rewards. An apprentice’s skills and knowledge will increase over time. Their pay should reflect this learning curve by increasing over time, as well. A business should determine an entry wage and an ending wage, then determine benchmark wage-increases as skills increase. With a little encouragement, the student will become the master in no time.

With collaboration from partners and efforts put forth by you, the business, your company and apprentices will be prepared to tackle the industry together, the right way.