Join Bridget Quinn for an in-depth discussion in this video Applying to an apprenticeship program, part of Skilled Trades: Construction Apprenticeship Foundations.
- Now, let's talk about putting together a competitive application. Before applying to an apprenticeship program, identify any barriers that may prevent you from showing up for on work on time and completing your required schoolwork. Barriers might include child or eldercare, reliable transportation, uncertain living conditions, or shaky math skills. Take some time to work on solutions to anything that may impeded your success. Once hired on, you will be expected to be at work, on time, every day. Construction is a team-oriented occupation and your crew will be relying on you. Take advantage of any programs or support networks that are offered through your local community office or community organizations. Take the time to put together a trade-related resume and portfolio. This is going to demonstrate your commitment to the trade and will also allow the interview committee to see what skills and experiences you are bringing to the table. A trade resume is a little different than a typical job resume. You should include any tools you are competent in, and any trade experience you have. Now, this trade experience does not necessarily have to be paid experience, it could be any experience obtained through work, school, DIY projects, or hobbies. This experience does not need to be specific to the trade. It just needs to show that you can work with your hands and that you're familiar with tools, tool safety, project planning, and project completion. Photographs of projects are an excellent addition to your portfolio. Just be sure to include captions of what tools and trade skills you used to complete the project. If you don't have any experience under your belt, it's a good idea to acquire some. This can be achieved through education, trade-related work, construction-related volunteer work, and pre-apprenticeship training. If you're still in high school, talk with your career counselor about what CTE or industrial arts classes are offered, as well as any after-school or summer programs. Post-high school, consider trade classes that are offered at many community colleges. Look for classes such as basic carpentry, welding, blueprint reading, or electrical theory. Volunteer work is a good way to gain some trade skills while at the same time, supporting your community. Volunteermatch.org is a great hub. It connects people to volunteer jobs based on location and type of work. Are you a hobbyist? You like to build things, fix things, figure out how stuff works, work on your car? Document these. Put them on your resume. They don't need to be specific to the trade. It simply shows that you're the hands on kind of person who enjoys physical work. These are qualities of someone who will complete the apprenticeship and stay in the workforce. Now, if at all possible, gaining some trade employment is one of the best additions to a resume, accompanied by letters of recommendation from your employer. This will provide a good indication to the interview committee that you have a strong work ethic, that you show up on time, have a positive attitude, and are productive. Now, some trades have entry level positions such as material handlers, or support techs. Inquire at the apprenticeship office. Your local employment office, as well as the apprenticeship division of your local government labor office should have information about what is available in your area.