Rediscovering Apprenticeships

By Nicole West, Executive Director for Departmental Affairs

Apprenticeships are experiencing a renaissance, but they don’t look the way they used to.

Apprenticeships have been around for a long time—since the Middle Ages. That might be why the topic of apprenticeships has some people imagining a set from Game of Thrones. But those people are thinking about the old model of apprenticeship, where an apprentice would train for seven-to-ten years—with no income and no formal education. Fortunately, the apprenticeship model has changed, and modern apprenticeships are way better.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a form of job training that combines paid on-the-job learning with classroom instruction.

What makes modern apprenticeships so great?

Several things.

  1. Paid learning
    That’s right—you’ll earn while you learn. There’s even a set wage progression, so your pay will increase as you develop new skills.
  2. Real work experience – before you graduate
    You won’t have to wait until you graduate to discover how to apply the skills you learned in the classroom. You’ll get to put those skills into practice as you’re learning them.
  3. Support
    Throughout your apprenticeship, you’ll always have a helping hand. You’ll have both the support of your classroom instructor as well as the support of your workplace mentor, so you’ll always have someone on-hand to show you how things are done.
  4. Qualifications
    When you complete your apprenticeship, you’ll receive a portable, nationally-recognized credential—a guarantee to employers that you’re fully qualified for the job. You’ll also receive college credit towards a degree or diploma.
  5. Career Advancement
    After an employer has trained, developed, and invested in an apprentice, they have an interest in retaining that apprentice after the apprenticeship is complete. Since apprenticeships are tailored to meet a business’s needs, an apprentice will quickly become valuable to a company. The more valuable that apprentice is, the more opportunities he/she will have for advancement.

Who are apprenticeships for?

Anyone looking for a career. It’s true—whether you’re still in high school, changing careers, reentering the workforce, or looking to upskill in your current job, apprenticeships are open to you. Apprentices come from diverse backgrounds, and there are no set qualities required to be an apprentice.

This article was written by Nicole West, Executive Director for Departmental Affairs. For more information on apprenticeship opportunities through Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, contact Nicole West at 229-333-2100 ext. 4837 or

Photo caption: Wiregrass student and apprentice Marc Hughes recently was presented with a nationally recognized U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship Certificate of Completion along with his Networking Specialist diploma and Electrical Maintenance Technology Technical Certificate of Credit from Wiregrass.  ) Pictured seated l-r: Wiregrass Graduate and Apprentice Marc Hughes, and Wiregrass Interim President DeAnnia Clements. Standing l-r: Ace Technologies Research and Development Manager Jason O’Brien,  Wiregrass Computer Information Systems Instructor Sean Strickland, Ace Technologies Human Resources Generalist Kaylah Scott, Ace Technologies Vice President Jammie Stalvey, and Wiregrass Dean for Technical and Industrial Programs Michael Williams.

Published by Wiregrass-GA-Tech

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College is a public community college in Valdosta, Georgia. It is part of the Technical College System of Georgia and provides education for an eleven-county service area in south-central Georgia.

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