Some jobs are more appropriate for apprenticeships than others. The metal working industry is a prime example of new workers learning best by shadowing experienced workers as well as receiving significant feedback and instruction from one or more mentors. This practice was more widespread in the past and then fell out of favor as more people pursued traditional college degrees.
The soaring cost of tuition, years of paying off student loans, and stiff competition for limited jobs have caused both young adults and employers to reconsider the value of an apprenticeship. Increasing numbers of employers, especially those in the metalworking industry, have started offering apprenticeship opportunities to entice more young people of high school and college age into the building trades.
What Do Typical Metalworking Apprenticeships Look Like?
Metalworking apprenticeships are typically a four or five-year training program that provides at least 9,000 hours of on-the-job training. Strict rules exist regarding paid and unpaid hours during the apprenticeship experience. Apprentices must complete a first aid safety course administered by the Red Cross. They are also required to complete a course called Transition-to-Trainer during their last year.
Applicants for metalworking apprenticeships in the metalworking industry typically need to be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or equivalent. Additionally, they need a valid driver’s license, the physical ability to perform all duties, and must pass an aptitude test. It’s a good idea for those who know they want to pursue this career to complete high school courses in algebra and geometry. If available, completing vocational courses in welding, mechanical drawing, and reading of blueprints is also helpful.
Apprentices will learn many technical skills during the on-the-job training portion of their program. Some of these include:
- Safety and first aid
- Building code requirements
- Blueprint reading
After successful completion of an apprenticeship, sheet metal workers transition to journey workers. They are now fully qualified to complete tasks on their own with little or no supervision.
What Companies Look for in a Potential Apprentice
Bringing on qualified apprentices is something the industry as a whole has recently recommitted itself to doing. This ultimately benefits as the customer because you receive higher-quality metal stamping, precision machinery services, EDM, design build, and maintenance performed by people that have had extensive training, supervision, and feedback. People who already possess the following characteristics typically do well as an apprentice in the metal working industry:
- Ability to meet physical requirements of the job such as lifting, bending, and possessing stamina
- Ability to read and understand technical information
- Ability to recognize and respond appropriately to problems
- Active listening skills
- Clean and professional appearance
- Comprehension skills to understand spoken instructions
- Critical thinking skills
- Good near vision skills to see fine details at a close range
- Knowledge of the methods, materials, and tools used in building and construction
- Manual dexterity
- Maturity and dependability
- Professional communication skills with customers and co-workers
- Strong mathematical aptitude, especially in algebra and geometry
- Willingness to change course when necessary and initiative to seek new opportunities
- Visualization skills to picture how a project will look after construction of all its parts or when it’s necessary to move some of its parts
Velocity Metalworks has become recognized as a valued partner in the metal stamping industry for our strong Tool Design and Build competency. This combined with our metal stamping capacity, precision machining services and EDM capability make us a full service provider that can deliver value in your tooling and stamping needs. Contact us today to see how we can help you work even better.