As Baby Boomers retire from the workforce, the need for experienced, skilled and ready employees to take their place is greater than ever – a perfect opportunity for apprenticeships to step into the spotlight.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of apprentices in the workforce has grown 42 percent since 2013. While apprenticeships are most commonly associated with skilled trades, post-graduate apprenticeships in white-collar disciplines can help fill that labor pipeline.
While apprentices may fill a labor need within a company, this relationship is anything but one-sided. Under the guise of “gaining experience,” apprenticeships offer an opportunity to grow beyond just learning a job. By giving apprentices an opportunity to apply their learned skills, hone their craft and connect with experienced mentors, management-style apprenticeships, like Designship, are leading the charge in nurturing today’s budding professionals into the next generation of leaders.
According to members of the Forbes Coaches Council, an invitation-only organization for business and career coaches, here are a few things young professionals can get from apprenticeships that they’d miss out on with classroom work alone:
A Head Start
It’s no secret that the experience an apprenticeship can give you is a big advantage when entering the workforce. Apprenticeships provide an opportunity to put the theory learned in a classroom into real-world application. Combining your prior learning with structured work activities and leadership training, it’s the kind of job experience that will set you apart from other entry-level workers and give you a competitive edge in building your career.
A Trial Career
Growth comes in a lot of forms. While the goal of an apprenticeship is to gain exposure and develop your strengths, it’s also an opportunity to try new things, make mistakes, and, most importantly, learn about yourself. You can test your skills, explore your interests and get a picture of what your life will look like down your chosen career path. In this way, your apprenticeship is as much a career auditioning for a large part of your life as it is you working to get a foot in the door.
A School for Soft Skills
There are some things that can’t be read in a book or taught in a classroom. A recent study from Adecco found that 44% of surveyed executives think those entering the workforce lack soft skills like communication, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, etc. There’s a lot more that goes into building a career than just job proficiency. Having the soft skills to navigate office politics, manage expectations, and support your opinions are what will get you ahead in life.
An Example to Follow
In your apprenticeship, you’ll meet a lot of people. People who have been in your shoes. People who have made mistakes and still seen success. People whose roads to where they are have taken so many twists and turns it looks more like a roller coaster than a career path. Unlike an internship, apprentices are paired up with a mentor who oversees, evaluates, and guides their growth. Mentors’ firsthand knowledge, expertise and real-time feedback are priceless as you learn from their successes and failures, saving you time, money and resources –
because the best way to learn how to get where you want to go is to follow in the footsteps of someone who’s been there.
A Success to Build On
Companies don’t hire apprentices to watch them fail. They want to help you build the competencies needed to become the next generation of leaders and innovators. A study from Talent Works found that 61 percent of entry-level jobs required three or more years of experience. For those just starting out in their careers, that’s one heck of a Catch-22. Apprenticeships, especially management-style programs like Designship, offer a chance to gain the experience for an entry-level position as well as the skills, connections, and insight to take the next step in your career.