Have you ever reached a stage in your life or career when you thought it would be nice to take a young person under your wing? Maybe you were, or are, proud enough of your craft that you want to share it with someone else or have some wisdom and knowledge you want to pass down to the next generation. Internships are an option, but students are growing frustrated with the unpaid variety (which are sometimes illegal).
There are still jobs, however, that require learning not taught in schools, so they still need some sort of position that doubles as a learning experience. In this case, apprenticeships are excellent opportunities. They are paid, so young workers are drawn to them, but they also do not have the same expectations as regular employees. Apprenticeships offer benefits to both you and students, so here are a few reasons to consider hiring one (or more).
Recruit fresh talent
Young people are full of new ideas and perspectives, but not every older member of the workforce gives them the chance to share. When you hire young talent, you have more opportunity to prevent your business from becoming stagnant and increase your diversity. Listen to their ideas: do they think of solutions that have not occurred to you? Do they broaden your horizons across the board, including elements such as payment methods and tools like eChecks? It’s possible that their passion for the job may even renew your own and liven up your office.
Several industries are also coping with significant skills gaps. Instead of searching far and wide for someone who meets specific criteria for a job description, you can bring apprentices in at the bottom and train them to work up the ladder. Teach them the skills your workforce is missing (along with what you wish you knew at their ages). If you want, you can customize this training to your business’s particular needs, but you can also set your apprentices for life with the knowledge they will carry with them throughout their careers.
When you train apprentices, you are the first source they will look to when applying for staff positions. Why not hire them? Not only will it save you time from further searching, but you are also already well acquainted with their personalities and performances. “Home-grown” employees are also familiar with how your business operates, so they fit in smoothly with the culture and processes.
Help apprentices grow
Learning on the job is necessary and constant, but it can be stressful. Having a mentor to turn to that will not judge them is an invaluable resource for young workers (and they will be more productive employees). Washington State founded the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee, which trains aspiring engineers and technicians to meet rising industry demand. One apprentice said:
“Within my first year of the program, my path in the industry became more defined than ever… Over the course of the year, I learned more about math than I ever did throughout high school and my instructor designated an entire quarter to shop procedures—both made job planning at work much smoother. The AJAC program has kept me interested in this trade. I plan on becoming a tool and tie maker, a ship foreman, or a teacher. My career has become more of a hobby to me than work.”
Apprenticeships are your chance to encourage rising talent and foster interest in your industry. You are not merely training young workers how to become effective employees; you are teaching them how to approach the concept of work itself. When students feel well prepared to advance in your business or field, they do so with confidence and insight for innovation.
It’s good for business
The Economics & Statistics Administration conducted a study to see how apprenticeship programs benefit businesses financially. A company named Dartmouth-Hitchcock in New Hampshire found that apprenticeships were necessary for expanding and reorganizing how it provided medical services. $7,000 per apprentice in increased revenue (from appointment bookings) and a $48,000 per student reduction in overtime costs offset the per apprentice program cost of $59,700. The program almost paid for itself within one year and reduced staff turnover and burnout.
What should you look for in an apprentice?
When hiring an apprentice, you are looking for potential, not pre-existing knowledge. A national Careers Service adviser, Julie Taylor, notes that “employers are commonly looking for similar traits and characteristics in apprentices, regardless of the job role, including punctuality, reliability and having a real interest in the job, coupled with a willingness to learn.”
You are becoming a mentor, not hiring for a position and setting the poor soul free. Mentorship requires time and effort, so take care to look for young people that will be receptive to constructive criticism and have positive work ethics.
An apprenticeship may or may not be your hiree’s first taste of work, but you are in an opportune position to shape their education and influence your industry. Will you consider hiring an apprentice?