The Pros and Cons of Apprenticeship
Deciding on an Apprenticeship in the Trades
Going to college or university isn’t for everyone. You may not be interested in living the student life, or you may prefer working with your hands rather than textbooks.
Many students decide to go straight into the working world after high school to start their career, and apprenticeships are a great way to do that.
Apprenticeships let students learn a job while working and earning money. The experience gained will help you move forward in your career. But before deciding to pursue an apprenticeship, make sure you do your research so you can make an informed decision by knowing both the pros and cons of working as an apprentice straight out of high school.
While all jobs have some downsides, just as apprenticeships are a different kind of employment, they also have their own specific set of considerations.
While one of the advantages to apprenticeship is being paid while you learn, you’re not necessarily going to be paid very much. Minimum wage is common, and you can expect to invest significant time and effort if you want to earn a raise.
Apprentices, especially when just starting out, may not be acknowledged as a part of the team in the beginning. This is more likely to come from clients and customers, or professionals from other fields or companies. You will have to work hard to prove yourself and win them over into appreciating your work.
The relative lack of experience possessed by apprentices means you will likely get the grunt work, boring or repetitive tasks, and messy jobs. But proving you can perform these tasks well will earn you more interesting and challenging work in the future.
Certain career paths later in life may not be accessible with only an apprenticeship background. Luckily, a university or college degree is always an option you can pursue later in your career.
Many social experiences only come with attending a college or university, such as living in a big communal residence, studying with your friends, meeting tons of new people or taking spring break vacations. You will have to decide if you are okay with missing these aspects of young adult life.
Apprenticeship can be overwhelming at first. There is a very steep learning curve, with clients, bosses and coworkers all relying on you to perform your work. Until you learn the basics, this can feel like a daunting task.
Of course, there are many significant advantages to pursuing an apprenticeship as the start to your career.
Although you start at the bottom, you will get a wide variety of practical experience performing many activities on the job. You will develop a solid grounding in every task, tool and process, which will be the key to your future success.
Showing your willingness to do the dirty grunt work lets your employer know that you are dedicated and willing to work hard to succeed. This increases your chances of being hired on permanently when your apprenticeship period is over. It also means you will receive a great reference from your workplace if and when you decide to apply for future jobs.
Though you may make less than a university or college graduate over the course of your entire career, you will also be starting out earning money immediately after high school, and without being burdened by student debts. Chances are you will be able to save more money for retirement, afford to buy a house or car, or start a family much sooner and easier than many people who pay for post-secondary education.
Work in the trades will always be needed. Tradesmen and tradeswomen build, repair and maintain nearly all the infrastructure our homes, cities and country depend on.
These are just some basic considerations to think about when deciding on working as an apprentice. As long as you do your research, you can make an informed decision, and get started on a promising career!