You might have figured out by now that we’re big believers in the power of apprenticeships in #ChangingTheAmericanWorkforce. Every day we see how apprenticeships can not only change workforces, but change lives. “I don’t know where I would be without this apprenticeship,” says a recent note we received from a candidate, and we hear similar sentiments all the time.

Having said that, there are a few areas where the tech apprenticeship model may seem to come up short in comparison to traditional routes to employment like college and/or working with recruiters. Let’s take a look.

Committing to an apprenticeship track.

When you sign on as an apprentice, you might be making a bigger commitment than you ever have before. You’re agreeing to a training and education program, coupled with full-time employment, for a period of (typically) 12 to 18 months. That can be a little scary. What if after a few months you feel you’ve made the wrong choice?

This is one of many reasons each apprentice works with a Personal Success Coach. You’ll have a mentor to check in with you every single week to see how you’re doing, and to coach you not only on the required technical skills, but the ‘soft’ skills you may not have needed before, like how to work effectively with your other team members. And if you really feel that the particular career track you chose is not the one for you, there are other options.

Apprentices are paid less.

This is a fact: you will earn less in your first year as an apprentice than the ‘real’ employee sitting next to you who’s doing the same job. Why would anyone agree to that?

Because your employer is making a commitment to your future, that’s why. They’re investing in the belief that once you’re fully trained you’ll be a great – and permanent – team member. More significantly, they’re agreeing to allow you to complete that training, and your certifications, during work hours. With the classroom training paid for, often worth thousands of dollars. No more night school, no more extra time away from your family. And once you’ve completed your training you’ll be compensated at the full market value for that position.

New accountability.

There’s a certain degree of pressure in stepping into an apprenticeship role. You and your progress will be closely monitored by your employer, who will want to see that you’re progressing through your certifications on the expected schedule. If this is your first venture into the full-time workforce, you may not have encountered expectations like these before.

Once again, your Success Coach is your ally and companion, a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen. We’ve guided many others through similar journeys, and in the course of those weekly check-ins we’ll teach you how to manage your own actions to meet or exceed those expectations. In short, you won’t go it alone.

Yes, there are a few potential drawbacks to the apprenticeship model. But when you understand the bigger picture you can see why we’re still such big believers in the power of apprenticeships to change lives and workplaces for the better.