Apprenticeship includes supervised, structured, on-the-job training and classroom based learning. Workers learn both the practical and theory aspects of a highly-skilled occupation in two to five years.
The purpose of apprenticeship is to prepare Wisconsin's skilled trades people (journey workers) to the workforce for the State of Wisconsin. Apprenticeship is an earn-while-you-learn program of on-the-job training combined with trade-related classroom instruction.
Apprentices work and train under a contract or written training agreement. This contract is between the apprentice, the employer, and the State of Wisconsin. While under contract, the employer agrees to teach the student the skills of the trade and the apprentice agrees to learn the skills involved. Other conditions of the contract, such as the length of training, amount of pay, the rate of periodic pay increases, and the related classroom hours are also covered.
The potential apprentice must have an employment opportunity as the most basic requirement for any apprenticeship. Apprentices are paid (at an average) at least 60% of the wage of a skilled worker over the term of their contract. The employment opportunity is the first and foremost requirement for any apprenticeship.
Apprentices are paid an hourly wage to attend related instruction sponsored by employers, employer associations or labor/management groups with the ability to hire and train in a working environment.
The related instruction is theoretical and technical, and is usually provided by the Wisconsin Technical College System. Related instruction is a key part of each apprenticeship and is required by the Wisconsin apprenticeship law. If the apprenticeship is for two years or less, the related instruction is at least 144 hours per year. If the apprenticeship is for more than two years, then the school provision must be for no less than 400 hours during the term of the apprenticeship.