What is Apprenticeship?
Apprenticeship is a relationship between an employer and an employee during which the worker, or apprentice, learns a trade. The training lasts a specified length of time. An apprenticeship program covers all aspects of the trade and includes both on-the-job training and related instruction. For example, apprentice auto mechanics learn how to repair automotive equipment, how the various systems are designed, how to diagnose malfunctions, how to use the principal tools and test equipment found in an automotive shop, pertinent safety precautions, and cleanup of tools and work areas. Related instruction generally takes place in a classroom. The teaching covers the techniques of the trade and also the theory behind the techniques. It includes detailed discussion of how typical tasks are preformed and the safety precautions that must be taken. Classes, which are taught by experienced craft-workers and other skilled persons, require the study of trade manuals and educational materials. Classes can be scheduled during the day or in the evening.
Apprenticeship usually lasts about (4) four years depending on the trade you select, but range from one to five years. During this time apprentices work under experienced workers known as journey workers, the status they will attain after successfully completing their apprenticeships. Under the journey worker's guidance, the apprentice gradually learns the mechanics of the trade and performs the work under less and less supervision. Apprentices are employees. An apprentice's pay starts out at about 45% to 50% of a journey workers' wages and increases periodically throughout the apprenticeship. Many programs are cosponsored by trade unions that offer apprentices union membership.
The sponsor of the apprenticeship program plans, administers, and pays for the program. Sponsors can be employers or employer associations and sometimes involve a union. When an apprentice is accepted into a program, he or she and the sponsor sign an apprenticeship agreement. The apprentice agrees to perform the work faithfully and complete the related study. The sponsor agrees to make every effort to keep the apprentice employed and to comply with standards established for the program. The National Apprenticeship Act of 1937 (also called the Fitzgerald Act) authorized the Secretary of Labor to work with the State apprenticeship agencies, the Department of Education, and the representatives of labor and management for the welfare of the apprentices. This Act also promotes the establishment of apprenticeship programs.
Apprenticeship programs are registered with the Federal Government or a federally approved state agency. Registered programs meet federally approved standards relating to job duties, related instruction (a minimum of 144 hours), wages, and safety and health conditions. Apprentices who successfully complete registered programs receive certificates of completion from the State Apprenticeship Council. Registered programs offer apprenticeships in over 850 occupations.
Apprentices are in registered programs sponsored jointly by employers and labor unions or operated by employer/employer associations. The administrative body in such programs is called an Apprenticeship and Training Committee. Representing the union and management, the Apprenticeship Committee reviews applications for apprenticeships and interviews applicants. The Committee also consults with the State Apprenticeship Council, reviews applications for apprenticeship, and works with the regional representative of Federal Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (BAT) concerning apprenticeship standards, equal employment opportunity, safety and similar duties.
Registered apprenticeship programs meet standards approved by the U.S. Department of Labor. Graduates of registered programs increase their potential job mobility because employers have greater confidence in the quality of the training received in registered programs.
Click here to see a list of programs in New Mexico
Apprenticeship Regulations - PDF file
Written Comments submitted at Public hearing - PDF file
Memo: response to comments made at public hearing - PDF file
Bulletin 2011-07 Completion Rates - PDF file
State Apprenticeship Policy Manual - PDF file
State Apprenticeship Policy Manual - Final Copy - PDF file
State Apprenticeship Policy Manual - Revisions - PDF file
If you are interested call (505) 841-8565 and (505) 841-8491 or e-mail