Apprenticeships: A Trend for the Ages

There’s been a lot of talk lately around apprenticeships, almost as if it is a brand new concept. But of course, apprenticeships have been around for centuries.

Ever since the Middle Ages, apprenticeships have trained new generations of workers in crafts like seamstressing, blacksmithing and baking.

Back then, apprentices would start training at fifteen, and their labor was given in exchange for food, lodging and formal training.

But when it comes to apprenticeships today, things look much different.

They are still a great opportunity for employees to gain the right skills to succeed, but room and board is not typically part of the deal anymore (though it would be fun to live at the LaunchPad office, what with our ping pong table and kegerator).

Today, companies large and small have jumped on board the apprenticeship bandwagon, creating programs to strengthen their workforce, increase productivity and improve employee retention.

Giant companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield, UPS and Ford are doing it with great success, and smaller companies, even startups, are getting in on the apprenticeship action.

We are proud of our very successful apprenticeship program, and companies like Trunk Club, Jellyvision and Groupon each have successful efforts, as well.

Our new-styled apprenticeship program has been a critical and integral part of our success. In fact, the majority of our team started at LaunchPad as apprentices.

We believe in the value of apprenticeships for two reasons:

Education Alone Falls Short: The curriculum of computer science programs and developer bootcamps (h/t Starter League) do a great job of laying foundational skills, but that foundation doesn’t necessarily prepare students with the knowledge and real world experience needed to release products.

There’s Enormous Value in Mentorship: There are very few opportunities in a developer’s career to get unlimited access to mentorship from a senior developer. There is no better way to learn than working on real projects under the guidance of a senior developer. A successful apprenticeship program will put mentorship at the center.

Over the next several weeks we will post additional articles about our apprenticeship program, taking a closer look at how and why we have it, with actionable advice on how to start your own program and weave it into your daily business.

In the meantime, if you want to ask me any questions, get in touch!