An apprenticeship is a system that is used to teach new generations of young people a set of skills. Often referred to as an internship, this is a great way for employers and unskilled workers to benefit. There are many entrepreneurs that may have benefited from an apprenticeship, of sorts, by watching and learning, from a mentor, teacher, or family member. A disturbing trend, today, is washing across the country with young people that lack direction, even after pouring thousands of dollars into advanced education.

There are students that cannot even think about college as an option, with college costs soaring more each year. This can be a disheartening feeling for teenagers that feel they have no future. The focus of America is changing toward self-starters, the unique, and over-achievers. Industries offer little future for advancement and many are even reducing hours, compared to long hours of learning a skill. Entrepreneurs that are gifted in the business world and have knowledge to share, seem the perfect option for bright, creative students.

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Evolving Back to Simplicity

Apprenticeships were first introduced during the Middle Ages when teaching a craft to younger individuals, only made sense. By watching and learning at an entry-level capacity, the work became second nature to a blossoming generation. Everything from carpentry and accounting, to becoming a seamstress or baker, was learned by following the guidance of a master. Pay was small, but room and board were often provided, in exchange for work. There was no time for loafing, or the apprenticeship was ended. It was an opportunity that was given to only those that had the zest for learning.

Modern Apprenticeship

The UK offers modern apprenticeships to anyone over the age of 16 and not full-time students. Not all kids are built to be in a structured, and often political, environment. Sometimes, those students that think outside the box do not fit in easily with other ‘follow the crowd' individuals of their own age. This does not mean that they are not bright and talented, just that they need a different type of learning process. Some look at an apprenticeship as private tutoring, which, according to any in the education field, works very well.

Australia also offers apprenticeship programs in over 500 different categories. Some of these include telecommunications, food, finance services, tourism, energy, and transportation. These programs help students to fore go most formal education for a certification in any selected field. An apprentice certification is often as important as a college degree, proving an intense desire to practice a passion.

Apprenticeship Programs in the United States

There are over 21,000 apprenticeship programs currently offered in the US. In 2012 alone, more than 1,700 new programs were designed. Around 59,000 apprentices completed specific programs, during this time period, and the numbers appear to be growing. There are over 1,000 areas of expertise available to non-skilled young people. Some of these areas include construction, dental and optical, law enforcement, work at sea, and food preparation. Registered Apprenticeship programs have been in place since 1937 and is sponsored by private employers and labor management organizations. There are also state-specific apprenticeship tax credits available to small businesses that utilize the role of sponsored apprenticeship programs.

Different is Good

Every day, entrepreneurs prove that having a different outlook on business and life, can be rewarding and beneficial. Not only by teaching like-minded individuals that there is more than one path in life, but how being different, is a very special gift. For example, Henry Ford was not content in school, or on his family's farm. At the age of 17, he left home in search of his passion of machines. He spend two years as an apprentice machinist and used this knowledge to later invent the Model T.
A Case Study

Jake Stutzman never anticipated being a mentor to an apprentice, but thinking about his past as a teenage wanderer, gave him an idea. Jake is the creative director of Elevate, a strategy and design shop located in Nebraska. Offering the apprenticeship opportunity to a teenage home schooled boy, seemed a good place to start. Adam Jahnke would come by Jake's shop for two hours a day and look over Stutzman's shoulder while he worked. Incentive and a hunger for knowledge gave Adam just the right influence that he needed to pursue his dream of becoming a website developer. Adam was able to bypass a four-year college program, plus had the experience to push ahead with his passion.

Granted, taking a student under your wing, as an entrepreneur, is not as simple as it was in the Middle Ages, but is a great way to find a beginning assistant, and share your skills with those wanting to learn your specific area of expertise. It can also reduce the headaches of keeping employees, just to avoid interference and penalties from a government run Labor Board. You don't have to register with any agency to be a mentor to a young adult, but it could be beneficial if your company has growth potential. Try advertising for an apprentice and discover the possibilities that can be afforded to both you, and young people of a future generation.


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