How to run a successful IT apprenticeship program

Running an effective IT apprenticeship programs can help your company diversify your talent pipeline, fill skills gaps and upskill and retain workers on the latest technology.

How to run a successful IT apprenticeship program
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The word apprenticeship typically conjures up images of trade jobs — where plumbers, electricians and craft laborers learn skills on the job as they progress in their field. But apprenticeships have also found a place in IT, connecting companies with qualified talent who can be trained and upskilled for in-demand IT jobs. And as the pace of technology only increases, apprenticeships are an effective way to quickly address IT skills gaps by bringing on talented workers who are eager to get up to speed on the latest in-demand IT skills.

Formal apprenticeship programs can be registered with the U.S. Department of Labor. To be recognized by the DOL, an apprenticeship must offer business involvement, structured on-the-job training, job-related instruction in collaboration with education partners, rewards for skill gains and a national-recognized credential. But you can run an apprenticeship program that aligns with these standards, even if it’s not registered. For example, Year Up is a nonprofit organization dedicated to upskilling and reskilling underrepresented IT talent that operates very similar to an apprenticeship program.

Ultimately, a successful IT apprenticeship program combines real-life work experience with highly tailored training and education. Unlike internships that are typically unpaid or offer only college credit, apprentices are paid minimum wage while working and training. Companies pay to sponsor apprentices with the expectation that their wages will increase as they gain experience. No matter how you decide to bring on apprentices — partnering with a third party or designing your own program — there are certain steps you can take to ensure it’s a successful endeavor.

Diversify your IT talent pipeline through apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are an effective way to diversify your IT talent pipeline — especially if your company has stuck to traditional recruitment strategies that focus mainly on hiring recent college graduates. As education becomes more expensive than ever, it’s important to remember that not everyone can afford an undergraduate degree — only hiring college graduates limits diversity and your talent pool.

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