Hey Richard! I started as an apprentice at 28- 7 years ago, I learned completly on the job with very little classroom time, good and bad way to learn. I've been working as a journeyman for 2 years. Here are somethings to be prepared for: 1.)Sometimes your journeyman will be younger than you, this is a problem for some guys. Dont't let your ego interfere with learning. I recently had an apprentice who was 40(used to work in the grocery bussiness)-all he did was argue with me about everything, he went to tech school and acted more like an engineer than a 1st. year apprentice, very annoying and dangerous, lesson know your place and listen. I had 2 Bachelor degrees when I sarted and I usually didnt even mention it as it was not relevant, it also comes of as "1-uping".
2.) everyone has something to teach even people you dont get along with. Keep your teeth together and pay attention. try to pick up anything that works discard what does not. Most important" No one knows it all, no one!!!
3.) Your first year will be rough. I spent mine in the shop most of the time, parts handling(great way to learn the part names, get ready theres a lot to learn just regarding names)), bending, cutting, threading GRC (rigid conduit), on job-sites I'd organize matieral do all the "go-for" work, heavy-lifting, treching by hand, caught a lot of sarcasm/practical jokes from the more expierienced guys(it's a faternity type thing dont let it get to you). Someguys are just *******s though, every profession has them.
4.)Your appreticeship is like boot-camp! Take care of your body stretch work out it pays-off in the long run trust me-I spent a whole year not working because I hurt my back- it sucked! Be safe and hyper-aware on the job theres a lot of careless- jackass'es who don't care if they hurt someone so keep your head.
5.) Try to be early everyday- If work starts at 7am i'd come in at 6:30am. Trust me it pays off when management has to lay someone off it's usualy not the guy/gal who shows up early everday ready to go!
6.) Try to anticpate what your journeyman/supervisor wants and make his/her job as effcient and safe has possible. try to do things right the first time, a good memory will serve you well. Keep your work area clean and don't stand around waiting for instructions something always needs to be done. Don't stand around and bullshit either, a very bad habit!
Education is always good-I would get into the apprenticeship first as you will be working during the day and attending classes at night, study on your own every chance you get. You can get an associates later on. remember your apprenticeship will be 4-5 years long so get started! I'm working on getting NICET cerifications plus whatever education I can get in my free time. I have 3 kids and when I started I had 2 it was tough to work long hours and study everynight but if you stick with it try to achive excellence it pays off!- Sorry fot the long reponse but your age caught my attention! same start age as me
Well hope this advive is helpful-you found a great resource with this site as well-Later! and good luck!