Apprentice Qualifications:

Now that you’ve put shape to your program, it’s time to start recruiting, hiring, and training apprentices. In Section Two (Developing a Program), you learned about the Standards of Apprenticeship, which includes determining the minimum qualifications for applicants and the selection procedure. In this section, we will discuss the importance of setting the right minimums to ensure the success of your program. Keep in mind that the apprenticeship selection process is not intended to replace your company’s human resources and on-boarding policies, but rather to complement them in order to maximize the apprenticeship’s results.

The Network recommends the following minimum qualifications based on best practice research:

  • Apprentices must be at least 18 years of age
  • Apprentices must have a high school diploma or GED
  • Apprentices must be physically able to complete tasks associated with the job
  • Apprentices must have demonstrated a strong work ethic through prior education and/or employment
  • Apprentices must be able to pass a drug test

In addition to these minimum requirements, companies may choose to require additional qualifications for applicants. One qualification some companies choose to implement is that all potential apprentices be current employees of the company.  This practice ensures that apprentices are a good fit for the company culture and allows both parties to demonstrate the potential for loyalty. Other companies are comfortable with new hires entering an apprenticeship program directly as a way to begin equipping them with the skills needed to succeed and grow on the job from day one.

It’s important to keep in mind that an apprenticeship is designed to offer individuals an opportunity to enter into a career pathway and to learn the necessary job skills while earning a wage. This requires a careful balance between attracting strong candidates and hiring individuals with the potential to learn. As you set your minimum qualifications, keep this in mind. You may want to develop an apprentice profile that highlights some of the skills and attributes your most successful new hires possess so that you can attract similar applicants to the program.


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