Parents: Guiding your teens to career options
What happens after your teen graduates from high school? As a parent, you have a key role in providing guidance as your teen looks at career options. There may be more choices than you realize. If you’re the parent of an exceptionally active type of child who enjoys moving, being outside and working with his or her hands, you may want to consider career possibilities in the building construction trades.
Skilled craftspeople built this beautiful state. In cooperation with state-registered apprenticeship programs, highly-skilled carpenters, pipefitters and many others are prepared to train the next generation in their respective crafts. For beginners who want to or need to earn while they learn, a solid way to start is in a state-registered, apprenticeship program.
In these programs, on-the-job training comes from skilled journeymen (a term which includes women). Supplemental classroom instruction is provided by local adult education or community colleges. The apprentice, while earning a living, attends related classes part-time. At completion, the apprentice has an industry education and is certified as a journeyman, all without down time or money lost. (Many apprenticeship programs in addition to wages pay additional benefits and some apprenticeship programs give college credits for their classes.)
Besides training and education, apprentices working and learning together become like family, with camaraderie gained from shared experiences and working together as a team. Just as the name of the campaign, I Built It implies, the apprentice feels a sense of pride each time he or she looks at the work completed. In realizing, “I built that,” the apprentice knows they have made a lasting contribution to themselves, their families and to society. The buildings, bridges and schools they build often become legacies and historical landmarks honored for their quality and beauty.
As you look at the grand buildings and bridges in your hometown, you see that the builders were bright and skilled. Craftsmanship comes from talent and learned skills, developed over time. Apprenticeship offers a unique route to learn and refine real skills useful to the apprentice, his family and his community for an entire lifetime. Some of the craft programs lead to an associate in art’s degree from a community college. (One California apprenticeship program offers the chance to earn a bachelor’s degree in construction management.)
The career path for an apprentice can take many forms. It might spiral through apprentice, journeyman, foreman, superintendent, upper management, contractor or general contractor. The opportunities to grow are countless, and many find deep satisfaction in the art of the trade itself. Journeymen carry the confidence of their trade wherever they go.
Construction work is challenging. The apprentice needs to arrive on time and go with the rigors of the program. A solid base in English skills and rudimentary math is essential. And basic life skills like setting an alarm clock to be on time are necessary. A good entry point for some might be a pre-apprenticeship program to expose the young person to a number of trades before they choose one.
If you want to find out more about programs in your area, visit the Division of Apprenticeship Standards database at http://www.dir/ibuiltit/opportunities.asp. You can also visit the following link to the Department of Labor to see guides of the various trades: www.careervoyages.gov/construction-videos.cfm.