Taking on apprentices is a great way to expand your crew. Obviously, it’s handy to have an additional hand around for menial tasks, but more importantly, it gives you an opportunity to influence the next generation of contractors in your field.
All the knowledge that you impart an apprentice will affect how they approach jobs in the future and many of your lessons may eventually be passed down to their apprentice, too. So it’s important to find the best apprentice and train him up right. Here are our tips to do just that.
Let’s start with where to find your new apprentice. Some unskilled or semi-skilled laborers will seek out apprenticeships in order to get into the trades.
You should start with your state’s Department of Labor and/or Workforce Development. Many states offer resources for employers seeking apprentices. You can find a list of qualified apprentices online and interview and select someone at your leisure.
You can also look for apprentices through a union you may be a part of. Providing on the job training through an apprenticeship is a great way to pass on your knowledge and keep your union strong for years to come.
Alternatively, you can consider actively recruiting for yourself from a trade school or other organizations in your area. There are tons of men and women hoping to find skilled work and build a career around it, so they come pre-motivated to work hard for you. You can consult with administrators and teachers to find the right person for you.
When it comes to training the apprentice you have found, keep in mind the differences between an apprentice and an experienced laborer you may bring in. Apprenticeship is still part of the learning period for a new tradesperson. It’s designed to teach them the ins and outs of their new field.
Of course, this means it’s up to you to prepare them. You need to teach them everything from day-to-day responsibilities to bid development to client management. You’re not just training a tradesperson; you’re teaching a future leader, a future you.
Your goal should be to teach the apprentice not just skills they need to be able to work successfully in your field, but also your values and standards relating to work ethic and treatment of others on site.
Requirements for apprenticeship programs vary from one state to another and in some cases from one organization to another.
Usually, apprentices are required to do a few years study before they start on the job training. Make sure that your apprentice understands the requirements and how long an apprenticeship can take. Someone looking to rush through is not going to do you or themselves any favors. Be sure that both you and your apprentice understand the commitment and what is expected of them by the end of their apprenticeship.