Technical college education and apprenticeships are two effective ways being used to recruit and train skilled workers for construction jobs. Apprenticeships continue to grow in popularity across the nation because of the benefits they can provide to both employers and employees. From a business standpoint, these programs can lead to a safer workplace, reduced turnover, and a systematic approach to training. Most candidates are quicker to accept apprenticeships over internships because they get paid while receiving hands-on-training. But COVID has made it more difficult for some organizations to offer this type of training. Let’s take a look at how apprenticeships are changing, along with what some companies are doing to improve their programs.

Virtual Apprenticeships

COVID has forced many organizations to shift from offering traditional in-person apprenticeships to remote experiences. Even though virtual programs might broaden the access to online educational resources, and even keep employees from being laid off, some experts have expressed concerns about the key aspects that are being lost without in-person interaction. For instance, traditional apprenticeships can help employees learn how to operate machinery and work in teams, or skills that are difficult to learn in virtual settings. But good construction leadership can overcome this by holding virtual apprenticeships to the same standards as traditional ones.

Partnering With Educators

It’s next to impossible to create a successful apprenticeship if employers fail to partner with educational institutions. It starts with firms being clear regarding what skills are required for certain construction careers, and then promoting collaborative partnerships with nonprofits or other industry associations. Plus, organizations really need to focus on fixing some of the barriers that prevent more candidates from considering apprenticeships, like transportation issues and childcare responsibilities.

Registered Apprenticeship Program

Employers are encouraged to invest in Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs). There are even federal workforce development funds available to help offset the costs that are associated with sponsoring RAPs. Sponsors can range from a consortium of businesses to local community colleges. RAPs are considered to be such wise investments because they are renowned for their structure and have been validated by the Department of Labor. This leads to recruiting a highly-skilled workforce.

Apprenticeships are still a popular training strategy, but they may look different for the foreseeable future due to COVID. Remote training is one of the strategies being used by different employers to keep workers engaged and productive. Educators still play a significant role when it comes to apprenticeships, and don’t overlook the benefits associated with RAPs.



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