An apprenticeship is on-the-job training. The apprentice (person in training) works with a journeyman (the skilled craftsman) for a specified number of years in order to become a skilled worker.

Apprenticeship programs combine work-based learning with related classroom instruction. They allow you to grow into your profession while learning the skills needed to succeed in a high-demand career. Depending on the trade, an apprenticeship can take two to five years to complete.

In apprenticeship, you earn a salary from day one with guaranteed raises over time as you learn new skills. You receive an education and the potential to earn college credit, which in many cases is paid for by your employer. Because of that, when you complete your apprenticeship you’ll be well on your way to a successful life-long career and competitive salary, with little or no college debt.

Anyone wishing to participate in an apprenticeship program must complete the application process. Apprenticeships in the Construction trades work with the appropriate apprenticeship committee or the Apprenticeship Coordinator at NTC. Apprenticeships in the Industrial trades work with their employer on the application process.

Who’s Involved With Your Apprenticeship

A State of Wisconsin Apprenticeship Program involves five major groups working hand-in-hand.

  • The employer, who offers on-the-job training
  • The apprentice, who agrees to work for the employer
  • The local technical college, which offers the paid related instruction/theory training
  • The State of Wisconsin, Department of Workforce Development, Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards
  • Joint Apprenticeship Committee (Construction trades only)

Employer Must:

  • Indenture you as an apprentice
  • Provide adequate and safe facilities for your on-the-job training
  • Assign qualified personnel to teach you the job
  • Supervise you during your indenture
  • Pay you wages for the time spent in paid related instruction

Apprentice Must:

  • Sign a contract indenture
  • Be a reliable and responsible employee
  • Work diligently throughout your apprenticeship and carefully complete assignments from your supervisor
  • Promptly complete all paid related instruction assignments, lessons and tests as required by your classroom instructor

Technical College Must:

  • Provide adequate facilities and professional instructors to teach a well-rounded understanding of trade theories and techniques
  • Cooperate and work with the Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards and the respective advisory committees

How Does Your Apprenticeship Work?

Entrance procedures and requirements vary by trade, occupation and geographic area.

For construction trades, each committee develops its own policies and practices, which are approved by the Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards. Applying for an apprenticeship in the industrial and service sectors requires applying directly to the employer or company that sponsors the apprenticeship program.

After you secure an employer, you become indentured through the Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards. An indenture is similar to a contract, which both the apprentice and employer sign. As an apprentice, you agree to work for the employer and the employer agrees to train you in various aspects of the trade.

When indenture, you begin working for the employer on a full-time basis. Employers must release apprentices from the work site on each scheduled date that paid related instruction classes are in session. Typically, apprentices attend school once every two weeks for an eight (8) hour session. This works out to you spending 90% of your time learning on the job, with the remaining 10% spent in the classroom.

You receive an hourly wage during the training program, which is based on a percentage of the journey level skilled wage rate. As you progress through the apprenticeship program, the salary tends to be increased at six (6) month intervals.

The recruitment, selection, employment, and training of apprentices during their apprenticeship shall be without discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, age, creed, handicap, marital status, ancestry, sexual orientation, arrest record, conviction record, or membership in the military forces of the United States or this state. The sponsor will take affirmative action to provide equal employment opportunity in apprenticeship and will operate the apprenticeship program as required under Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulation of the State of Wisconsin.