entry level http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4790/all en-US The Benefits of Apprenticeships http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-of-apprenticeships <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-benefits-of-apprenticeships" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6841319562_80ee3f73b6_z.jpg" alt="apprentices" title="apprentices" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An apprenticeship sounds old-fashioned &mdash; something young people did a few hundred years ago in order to learn crafts before there were community colleges and entry-level jobs. But the reality is that there are still apprenticeships being offered today, and they provide a valuable level of experience that new workers are unable to find anywhere else. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-wait-to-go-to-college">Should You&nbsp;Wait to Go to College?</a>)</p> <p>Today, an apprenticeship takes a recognizable form &mdash; an apprentice will start out doing basic work for an employer while learning the specific skills needed for her trade. In many companies, apprenticeships include both on-the-job training and theoretical education at a local school. After training is complete, it&rsquo;s expected that the apprentice will continue working with her employer for a certain period of time. The deal is great; the apprentice gets both education and a guaranteed job after her training, while the employer gets a trained employee who will stay with the company for the long-term.</p> <p>Ryan Thewes, an <a href="http://www.ryanthewes.com">architect based in Nashville</a>, completed an architecture degree in 2000 and followed it up with an apprenticeship. Thewes found an opportunity to learn from a former apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright. That connection has lead Thewes down a path of working with different architects: &ldquo;I think it is the combination of my two apprenticeships, one with Don Erickson and one with Bart Prince, that has allowed me to forge my own path and style within the profession and have given me the tools needed to execute it and make it a reality.&rdquo;</p> <p>The experience that Thewes gathered during his apprenticeship differed from that of his fellow graduates. &ldquo;Many graduates go straight to work in big offices and rarely deal with clients or builders. They spend the first few years of their careers drafting details and staring at computer screens,&rdquo; notes Thewes, who was able to learn how to actually deal with both clients and builders. &ldquo;In class, it is easy to design interesting and creative buildings. In reality, budget drives most design decisions, so buildings begin to look the same and fall into a rut. This especially holds true for residential architecture. Most builders are only interested in knowing what they already know. It is safe and comfortable for them and not much risk. When something unusual comes up, prices go up. One valuable thing my apprenticeship was able to teach me was the way to work with clients and with builders in a way to ease the fear of &lsquo;different.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p>Many companies, big and small, are using apprenticeships to ensure that they have the workforce they need. Companies like Siemens operate local apprenticeship programs in partnership with community colleges, like the <a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/07/26/157033600/bypassing-college-dreams-a-different-road-to-work">Apprenticeship 2000 program</a>.</p> <p>Such programs have made it easier to find apprenticeships, but in most career paths, it&rsquo;s up to you to find the right fit. Thewes knew he wanted to work with architects with a certain style, and he <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-outdated-job-search-techniques-to-avoid">sent resumes</a> to a whole list of them. He made phone calls and arranged meetings just to find out more about well-known architects, and he jumped on the opportunities that resulted. Thewes describes how he landed his apprenticeship: &ldquo;During my final year of school, I received a magazine that featured the work of Don Erickson. Mr. Erickson was with Wright from 1948 to 1951. I was fascinated with his work as it was organic in design, but didn't directly copy Wright. I immediately called him up to ask if I could go up to Chicago to meet him. My intention was just a visit, and not an interview. Once I got there, we hit it off. I was in awe of his approach to architecture and he was smitten by my enthusiasm. He asked what I was doing after graduation next year and asked if I would like to come work for him for the summer. I immediately accepted. Long story short, one summer turned into a couple of years.&rdquo;</p> <p>Employers do look for different characteristics in apprentices than in entry-level employees. A commitment to a specific craft is key. Nicholas Yeager ran a specialty bookbinding business in New York City, where he <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1995/06/07/nyregion/about-new-york-scenic-route-on-the-calligraphy-superhighway.html">trained five apprentices</a> over six years. His apprentices all expressed interest in the craft, beyond just looking for a job: &ldquo;Some were graduates of book arts programs, others had craft skill and an interest in bookbinding...I tried hiring people that didn't have the commitment and interest, and they didn't work out well. When I focused on a different class of worker, my results were improved quite a bit because they were fully engaged with the craft, not the paycheck.&rdquo;</p> <p>Yeager had learned his trade through an apprenticeship as well. The value of the apprenticeship system made itself clear. &ldquo;I paid for my training in classes at night and had short-term work situations where I assisted my instructors. This slow method of learning wasn't conducive to building craft skills, as I didn't have a space to work all the time. I spent six years doing binding part time. Then I got work at a library followed by a specialty production shop where I did repetitive work and built up my skill set. The importance of doing an action a few thousand times cannot be taught in a class setting. It can only be assimilated at the workbench.&rdquo;</p> <p>The apprentices who passed through Yeager&rsquo;s shop have gone on to have a variety of careers. While several have gone on to work in book binderies and library preservation departments, at least one has built a career as an artist, pulling her knowledge of bookbinding into such projects as a series of woven books.</p> <p>No career training program is guaranteed to turn students into successes, but the in-depth training that apprentices receive, from the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them"> actual skills</a> of their crafts to how to deal with clients and how to run a shop, certainly improves the rate of success.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-of-apprenticeships" class="sharethis-link" title="The Benefits of Apprenticeships" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training apprenticeship career training entry level Thu, 30 Aug 2012 10:24:41 +0000 Thursday Bram 952405 at http://www.wisebread.com What you need to know about getting what you want at work http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-getting-what-you-want-at-work <p><img height="240" width="180" title="Forward?" alt="Forward?" src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/forward__0.jpg" /></p> <p>Yesterday, I had a one-on-one with my boss. The first time I had one of these (and the last, until yesterday), I was, quite frankly, intimidated. Then, I didn't know what to expect and I knew that I was getting my yearly review, so I basically nodded and smiled at everything my boss said. Now, it was almost all positive so it wasn't like I was letting him run me over. But I wasn't proactive in getting what I wanted, either.</p> <p>Yesterday was different. I knew the meeting was coming up, and I also knew that my job had changed recently and <a href="http://Somewhere, sometime in life, everyone has a job they hate. Whether the hours are terrible, the pay is awful, the coworkers are wretched, or the boss is horrid, hated jobs are very much a thing of the present. We work them for different reasons, for different lengths of time, and with different levels of satisfaction, but almost all of us work them at some point. For many people, these jobs are a drag that make them feel like hollow shells of their former selves. However, there are a few people who manage to survive and thrive in jobs they really don't like. Here are a few of their secrets for making that hated job easier." title="&quot;I Hate My Job&quot; Guide">I wasn't thrilled</a> with those changes. So I did some thinking and wrote out a list of things I wanted to say, in an order that made sense to me, and took that list to the meeting. When he asked me how it was going, I started in.</p> <p>I told him that I feel under-utilized, that I was brought in to make some changes and now was supposed to simply function within the processes I'd set up. That's when the conversation changed. He started talking about this new position that he's creating, and how people had told him to merge it with mine but he wasn't sure, and what did I think about doing it. I was astonished. The new position is managerial, making it a huge promotion from where I've been. It involves a lot more responsibility and decision-making. It involves working with people instead of mostly with machines. I was flattered, but also able to give him some good feedback as to what it would take for that to be possible.</p> <p>Now, I don't have the new job yet. The job description isn't even written. But his willingness to address my concerns on that level makes me confident that it will be something i'll be interested in when it does come out. Now, I chose my company, and my department within my company, as carefully as possible. <a title="10 Things" href="/10-important-signs-your-job-might-be-worth-staying-at">That list I made yesterday?</a> All things that I have in my job. But, unless your company <a title="10 More things" href="/10-important-signs-that-your-job-sucks">is as bad as some of Troy's former employers,</a> here are some things that worked for me and should work for you.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Be intentional</strong>. Sit down and think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Dress in a way that will impress your boss and not make him wonder exactly how much you care. </li> <li><strong>Be specific</strong>. While I didn't get through my entire list (his openness to what I did say generated such a discussion that our meeting went almost an hour over and I ran out of time), it included specific items that I would like changed. When I told him I felt under-utilized, I had a list of things I thought I could do for our department that would help. I was going to ask about working from home, and I had a list of the tasks I would do there and what would have to be taken care of for the plan to work.</li> <li><strong>Don't be afraid to share how something makes you feel</strong>. This one can be dangerous. DO NOT emote all over your boss. DO NOT give him your feelings and make him do something with them. But, after you've processed your feelings somewhere else, do give him your emotional feedback. &quot;I know that my job doesn't require a laptop, but I feel awkward sitting in meetings where I'm the only woman and the only person not issued one because it makes people tend to look to me as the secretary and not for what my job really is&quot; is better than &quot;I felt like crying last week when Mr. X asked me to make copies in the middle of the meeting because he thought I was your secretary and not your colleague...please give me a laptop so things like that don't happen!&quot; While this issue is quite possibly specific to my company, such things do come up and it's ok to share them.h</li> <li><strong>Have in mind what is realistic for now</strong>. I was going to talk to my boss about working from home, but I didn't expect him to approve it in this meeting. I wanted to bring it to his attention and talk specifically about it as something I think is realistic, so that someday I will get to work from home. A boss isn't going to change the department in one fell swoop over something you ask for, but bringing it up over and over, in non-threatening ways, can open him gradually to a new idea.</li> <li><strong>Visualize what you want from the meeting</strong>. I tend to chicken out in situations like this. I get all ready, and then I freeze up and don't ask for anything. So yesterday, I took a few minutes and talked through my points in my head. I saw myself looking confident and sure, ready for his response. I visualized him responding positively and negatively, and me not losing my cool or getting intimidated, but proceeding down my list calmly and professionally. Though the actual meeting was very different, I went in ready to say what I wanted to say.</li> <li><strong>Don't be afraid of wanting something unusual</strong>. Will a tea kettle in your cube cause you to make fewer trips to the water cooler and get less distracted? Ask for it. Would it be easier to work if the people counting change next door did it somewhere else, as the noise interferes with your creative processes? See if it's possible for them to move (extra credit if you find another place where they could work!). You usually know what will make a good work environment for you, and it doesn't hurt to ask.</li> <li><strong>Know when to stop</strong>. I had a lot more to say than I got to say, and I was ready to say it. But the conversation went somewhere else and that ended up being very, very good for me. When we'd gone an hour over and my boss mentioned how hungry he was, I knew that it wasn't the time to ask for anything else. I didn't get everything I wanted and I didn't even get to say it all, but I feel like the meeting was a success. Why? Because we had constructive conversation that made both of us excited about the future. What more could I ask?</li> </ul> <p>These tips won't work for everyone. Some jobs just suck, and that's the truth. But if you're not sure, or you just want to try anyway, give it a go. Using these ideas will mean, at least, that your presentation is good, even if your boss's reaction isn't.</p> <p>Photo by <a title="CrouchingBadger" href="http://flickr.com/photos/crouchingbadger/">crouchingbadger</a>.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-getting-what-you-want-at-work" class="sharethis-link" title="What you need to know about getting what you want at work" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building dream job entry level first job getting what you want job work Wed, 02 May 2007 17:44:18 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 588 at http://www.wisebread.com