Hi All, I am going through the thought process of a career change. I am very interested in apprenticing and I have no previous elec experience...other than Do-it-yourself stuff. I was curious about some of the members thoughts on how realistic I am being...I am 42yo and am thinking maybe No-one would be interested in bringing on a man of my age. The market seems pretty hot in this area. Would appreciate a few opinions.
I hired a 42 year old apprentice a few years ago. He's still with me and doing great. He was an experienced hvac installer who was very unhappy with his company and the hvac in general. Personally the age would be no factor at all. Do you have construction experience?
#72776 - 12/09/0601:58 PMRe: Too old to Apprentice?
I saw an apprenticeship class that started with 50 .... and, four years later, had dwindled to 18. The three oldest members were there at the finish.
Indeed, one of them had not been officially 'sponsored,' and had to pay his own way. He worked for a non-member EC, and ... silly as this sounds... had his EC license before he could get a "journeyman" card.
I don't know what it is that folks fear about an "older" apprentice. Heck, I was past 30 before I was ready to actually start learning!
A man doesn't reach 40 sitting on his hands. He's had to learn SOMETHING. Nor is he overwhelmed by teen-age hormones. I am a bit tired of seeing newbies who seem to think that the purpose the contractor exists is to provide them with more, more, more.
#72779 - 12/09/0603:12 PMRe: Too old to Apprentice?
Well, to generalize a little, I actually prefer older guys and have come to dislike the 18-32 year old crowd. There are a lot of benefits to older guys. My personal list is:
1. they don't argue with you as much (yes, Mr.22 year old, I wasn't really "asking you" to do x,y, or z, I was TELLING YOU, and I don't want to hear any backtalk other than "yes" out of your mouth about it..)
2. 42 year olds have enough time in the general workforce that there is a greater likelyhood they have learned how to show up on time at the start of the day, with their shoes tied, fly zipped, and with all their tools ready to work.
3. Absenteeism is less a problem. Older guys are married, have mortgages, kids, responsibilites... Less likely to disappear on you due to a hangover, car-ran-out-of-gas, or financial problems or stormy/unstable personal lives.
As I see it, an employer could pick you up just as you enter the best years you have to offer the workforce, because at 42 you have probably mastered the "soft job skills" (show up on time, don't stand around while you are on the clock, shut the personal cellphone off,.. etc. etc..) that it is so damn hard to teach 20 year olds due to their immaturity & general inexperience in life.
You see, I am ageist too, just opposite the normal current of our times..
If you do start an apprenticeship you will be starting out at the bottom, which can be a tough pill to swallow. I don't know what you have done in previous careers, but the bottom of the electrical trade really is "the bottom"- get ready to get dirty, work with people you may not like, doing things you probably never imaginied were part of an electricians work, and do it with a smile and a good attitude because you will be learning. You'll need to have the patience to let a lot time pass doing dull and seemingly repetative tasks before you have enough of a view of the "big picture" for things to finally click.
In my opinion, patience, soft skills and a good attitude would put you way ahead of the pack, and age isn't really as big a deal, provided you are physically stout enough to handle the more physical aspects of the work.
Good luck in your search
#72780 - 12/09/0603:16 PMRe: Too old to Apprentice?
Well said Trollog. I agree with everything. When hiring m 42 year old apprentice, I only needed to teach him electrical. He already understood construction, work relations, customer relations, was very proficient with tools, along with everything else you mentioned. So all we had to focus on was electrical. Not all the incidentals that go with this job.
I asked about construction experience mostly because I was wondering if you know what you're getting into. Keep in mind that the work enviroment will be cold in the winter, hot in the summer, snowy, rainy, etc. Just be sure you're aware of these conditions.
Out of curiosity, what is your current career?
#72782 - 12/09/0605:44 PMRe: Too old to Apprentice?