Apprenticeship Frequently Asked Questions

People interested in apprenticeship for the construction, industrial and service trades should apply to the prospective employer who has the responsibility of selection. Those interested in the construction trades should apply to the local joint apprenticeship committee so that personal interviews can be scheduled.

The applicant enters into an agreement with the employer, known as an apprenticeship contract, in which the employer assumes the responsibility of teaching the apprentice the trade. The contract defines the length and type of training, the total hours of required classroom instruction and the scale of pay during the training period.

A person must enter into a contract with an employer before enrolling in the related instruction program. Classroom instruction usually involves one day a week or one day every two weeks for three years or more.

Frequently asked questions for:

Student/Employee Questions

    • Apprenticeship is a program that combines structured on-the-job training with related instruction often at the technical college.
    • It is sponsored by employers, employer associations, or labor/management groups that can hire and train in a working situation.
    • The employment opportunity is the basis of an apprenticeship. Without a job there is no "on-the-job" training, which represents about 90% of the program.
    • The technical college and training centers work in partnership with the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards and employers.
    • Apprenticeship is a career opportunity.
    • It is occupational training that combines supervised on-the-job training with classroom instruction.
    • Apprentices learn a skilled trade while earning a good wage and receive pay increases as they learn and perform more complex tasks.
    • When apprentices complete the program and become journey workers, they increase their employability in industry and may become supervisors or go into business for themselves.
    • These skills are transferable from one employer to another and usually from one part of the country to another.
    • Upon completion of apprenticeships, individuals receive a portable credential which is nationally recognized.
  • Application procedures vary from trade to trade, geographically, and in the construction, industrial/manufacturing or service sectors.

    Construction

    • The application process is generally governed by a trade committee equally composed of employees and employers in that trade.
    • Each committee develops its own policies and practices, which are approved by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development - Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards.
    • Local committees review applications and may require an aptitude test, interview, high school transcript, proof of graduation or equivalent, birth certificate, valid drivers license, and a substance abuse test.
    • The interested applicant should contact the committee or trade organization for further direction.
    Industrial/Manufacturing

    • Contact the employer or company that sponsors the apprenticeship program.
    • The employer may need to hire you in another capacity before apprenticeship opportunities become available.
    • The employer determines the criteria to place applicants into the program, either through collective bargaining agreements or other criteria.

    Service

    • Apply directly to the employer or company that sponsors the apprenticeship program.
    • Sometimes you must be hired by the employer in another capacity before apprenticeship opportunities become available.
    • The employer determines the criteria to place applicants into the program, sometimes through collective bargaining agreements or other criteria.
    Contact the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards contact in your area for assistance.
    • Getting into an apprenticeship program requires both physical and mental readiness.
    • Most trades require that applicants are high school graduates or equivalent.
    • Many of the trades require a strong math background in such areas as algebra and geometry.
    • In addition, some employers require that apprentices have technical training (such as a technical college degree or certificate) before entering an apprenticeship program.
    • Written tests are often used as part of the application process and these may cover areas such as: math, reading, science, spatial ability, manual dexterity and other areas relevant to the trade or occupation.
    • The waiting period to get into the program varies from trade to trade and whether employers have current openings.
    • Once eligible for the program, applicants may wait several weeks or over a year, depending on current economic conditions and employment opportunities.
  • Apprenticeships are offered in a wide variety of trades and/or occupations. The three main occupational categories are Construction, Industrial/Manufacturing and Service.
  • It is up to the individual to find the employer/sponsor.
    • Applicants should continue to seek employment using Wisconsin Job Centers or other independent employment agencies.
    • Take courses at a local technical college in the related field or find unskilled work where the experience may lead to an apprenticeship.
    • Contact trade committees and job placement agencies to find out about employers who are hiring.
    • You will be required to sign a legal document called an apprentice contract.
    • An apprentice contract identifies responsibilities and obligations of each party to the contract.
    • The parties to the contract are you, your apprenticeship sponsor and the State of Wisconsin.
    • Apprentices and employers must comply with the provisions of the apprentice contract.
  • Normal costs are tuition and books required for the course of instruction. Some employers cover these costs. The method of payment used varies from employer to employer and committee to committee.
  • Yes, providing your employer meets all eligibility requirements. The basic requirement of a sponsor is to be in business at least one year and have a skilled employee to train the apprentice. The Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards encourages employers to consider apprenticeship training for all of their skilled occupations. The most common limit would be the occupation and if it meets "apprenticeable" requirements.
    • Experience in getting into entry-level jobs.
    • Maintain good working/reliability history.
    • Have strong interest and knowledge of trade.
    • If you don't have any of the above, consider getting an entry-level job.
  • Your best source of information for your area is your local apprenticeship field representative. Names and locations of representatives are available on the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards Contacts web page.
  • Yes. If you qualify for veteran’s educational benefits, you can collect those benefits while training in an apprenticeship program approved by the Bureau. To determine if you qualify, contact your County Veteran’s Service Office (CVSO). They are usually located in your county’s courthouse.
  • No. Not all are union.

Employer/Sponsor Questions

    • Apprenticeship is a program that combines structured on-the-job training with related instruction often at the technical college.
    • It is sponsored by employers, employer associations, or labor/management groups that can hire and train in a working situation.
    • The employment opportunity is the basis of an apprenticeship. Without a job there is no "on-the-job" training, which represents about 90% of the program.
    • The technical college and training centers work in partnership with the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards and employers.
    • Apprenticeship training reduces turnover.
    • Provides long-term training with measurable results.
    • Apprentices are usually the most productive workers and the most technologically advanced.
    • The program provides a pool of skilled workers who are highly skilled from which future managers may be selected.
    • The structured training of the program promotes and fosters quality and teamwork.
    • The training gives workers a path for upward mobility.
    • An employer’s costs in starting a program are minimal.
    • Allows employers to provide career advancement opportunities to employees who wish to advance.
    • Apprenticeship provides both state and national recognition for the apprentices and the sponsors of the program.
    • Primary responsibility of a trainer is to provide the on-the-job training to the apprentice under the supervision of skilled workers.
    • Pay the apprentice wages for work performed and for hours of related instruction required of the program as outlined in the apprentice contract.
    • Release the apprentice from work to attend related instruction.
  • Paperwork is minimal. Information for the application will require the completion of some paperwork and the maintenance of on-going training records. Assistance is available from the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards field representatives with the application process and to understand the selection process or procedures or policies.
  • Although you pay for the apprenticeship training, the actual cost to you is affordable. The program includes both classroom and on-the-job training, so the apprentices will be producing for you while they learn. In addition, you must pay the apprentice’s wages for time spent in related classroom instruction. The number of hours required vary from occupation to occupation. Normally 144 hours per year are required. Apprentices are responsible for their books, tuition and travel costs.
  • In order for an occupation to be determined apprenticeable, the occupation:

    • must involve manual, mechanical or technical skills;
    • must require that there be related instruction to supplement the on-the-job training; and
    • is clearly identified and recognized throughout the industry
  • Local field representatives are available to provide technical support. They will assist you in securing the information you desire. Names and locations of representatives are available on the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards Contacts web page.

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