Apprenticeships are a terrific alternative to a standard college education.  The major cost for your education during an apprenticeship is time.  Often, you'll have to work for free; yes, you'll need to volunteer your time.  Doing so shows an owner that you're serious about your education.  You can work out terms of payment later after a period of several weeks to a few months or a year.  Remember that the skills and knowledge that you're gaining from an expert in your chosen field is worth a lot of money. Your mentor is not charging you except for your time, your ability to learn and perform quickly, and ultimately to see if you apply what he teaches you. You'll want to prove yourself early.  Give him signals and proof that you're learning.  Ask to take on projects independent of his help.  Performing these projects independently will definitely impress him and make him feel that his time commitment with you has been valuable and worth his time and effort.  Do this and you may never need to look for work ever in your life.  You will receive recommendation after recommendation.  Also, apprenticeships are not just for kids fresh out of high school.  They're for anyone of any age. Regardless, you have to prove yourself to the mentor.  

In an apprenticeship, the owner of the business is your teacher.  If an owner has been in business for only two years, that brief experience can be worth a lot.  But imagine working for owner who has been in an industry for five, ten, or twenty years. Imagine what kind of an education you'd get from a master who has survived all the regulation and changes in an industry for the last ten to twenty years. Think of the value of that experience.  Do not worry about money during your apprenticeship.  If need be, go out and get a part-time job.  But do not blow your relationship with your mentor.  Apprenticeships allow you to learn practical, on-hands knowledge from an expert in your chosen industry.  You won't be learning theoretical and irrelevant material from a college professor who's never risked his own capital, time, and resources or who has had to be sensitive to market forces to perform successfully in business.  College professors can be smart, but an owner is smarter.  It is important to count the costs of decisions early in your life when you're 18, 20 and 24. If you go to college, you can set yourself up with years of debt at an age when you're starting out your young life, maybe with a marriage, a house, and a tiny family.  That is not smart.  Plan it smarter.  Get an apprenticeship.  Contact a company that you really love and with whom you'd really take pride in working.  Then write letters explaining your wishes to learn the business.

Computer Apprenticeship with Development Bootcamp.

Electrician Apprenticeships with CalApprenticeships.

1. Apprenticeships are structured training programmes which give you a chance to work (literally) towards a qualification. They help you gain the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in your chosen industry. Getting into employment earlier means there’s lots of potential for you to progress in your career quickly. You can also begin to earn a good salary much earlier on in your life.

2. Apprenticeships give you fantastic experience in the working world and show employers that you can ‘hit the ground running’. Hands-on training gives you a real chance to put your skills into practice and helps you to gain more confidence in a working environment.

3. You earn while you learn. That’s right! No student loans, no tuition fees, and, hopefully, no debt. You’ll be paid a salary by your employer, and the government tends to cover the cost of the training for most young people.

4. Choice. There are over 200 different types of apprenticeships. So whether you’re hankering after a career in business, sport, marketing or construction, there’s something for everyone.

5. Apprenticeships offer a varied learning experience. You won’t have to spend all of your days studying; most of the time you’ll be working at a company. It’s all about learning while doing, and learning from others in your industry. You can even gain higher qualifications through apprenticeships, such as HNCs, HNDs, foundation degrees or honors degrees.

I can think of only one, and that one is conditional.  One of the disadvantages of an apprenticeship is that you're not earning a college degree; however, you can earn certification.  And if you're worried that you won't be able to compete against candidates with BAs in science or an MA in finance, don't be fooled or worried by not having a degree or a similar type of education.  Apprentices have market-specific experience.  Candidates with a college degree, not so much.  Further, a lot of owners do not necessarily want to pay for valueless degrees or "college experiences" or for the debt that a recent graduate comes into the market with.  With an apprenticeship under your belt, you enter the job market with a lot more flexibility.  For one, you're not $25,000 in debt.  You're not operating on desperation; instead, you're operating on confidence and specific know-how.  The employer knows your specific skills.  A degreed candidate still has to be trained; that costs the employer money.  Unless you're getting into the medical or legal field or you want to be a salaried professional that requires a license, then I would definitely go the way of an apprenticeship.  If there is a subject that you're interested in, like history, English literature, or philosophy you can develop your expertise on these subjects on your own or at night classes.

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