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#17004 - 11/19/02 10:00 PM Apprentice Experiences?  
macwire  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 42
Philadelphia, PA, USA
Hello again everyone. I managed to get in touch with the local union hall thanks to a helpful member here, and got a general idea of how the apprenticeship goes.

At the local hall in Philadelphia, the apprenticeship is apparently 4 days a week working, 1 day a week in school. I don't pay for schooling, just for books: in fact, the local would pay me some extra for going to school. I have a general idea of what the work will be like, but I'd like to hear from some journeymen and apprentices here on what the day to day is like.

Did you find the work and training for your apprenticeship helpful, and if so how? What did you do to get the most out of it? Also, for you electrical instructors and trainers out there, what do you expect from apprentices? What do you expect them to be doing to make the most of their time with you? And what do you try to do to help them?

Thanks in advance for all responses. Feel free to email me privately if you wish.


[This message has been edited by macwire (edited 11-21-2002).]

[This message has been edited by macwire (edited 11-21-2002).]

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#17005 - 11/20/02 12:10 PM Re: Apprentice Experiences?  
CTwireman  Offline
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 840
Connecticut, USA
Please email me, I will try to help as much as possible.



#17006 - 11/21/02 11:12 AM Re: Apprentice Experiences?  
Matt M  Offline
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 93
Laporte, MN, USA

IMHO, there is no better way to gain good experience than a union apprenticeship program. Each local does things a little differently than the next. In my case, we worked 5 days, and went to 4 hours of night school, two nights per week. But that was over 20 years ago.

If the local economy is good, and there is a lot of building going on, the apprenticeship committee will attempt to transfer its apprentices around the local every so many hours in order to offer the apprentices a more varied background. A record is normally kept of the hours worked in a specific application, (eg. underground, industrial, commercial, residential, fire alarms, etc.).

Most of the journeymen that you will work with will be eager to teach you. Safety should always be #1 on your mind. You will often times be expected to be the go-fer. Keep a small notebook in your pocket to write things down so you don't forget anything. Be eager, but definitely follow instructions. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

The jobs that I worked on as an apprentice are by far the most memorable.

[This message has been edited by Matt M (edited 11-21-2002).]

#17007 - 11/21/02 03:53 PM Re: Apprentice Experiences?  
SJT  Offline
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 241
I think you can't beat being part of the union.
The training and experience is top notch. I worked non union all my life. Then after 12 years in the trade I went for my License to do my own thing. I wish I would of got into the union at an early age, but I took another route.
Good luck, and stay with it and learn as much as possible. Enjoy

#17008 - 11/22/02 05:58 PM Re: Apprentice Experiences?  
RandyO  Offline
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 30
interesting questions.

Generaly as an apprentice how much you learn depends on who is the lead guy.

I had several that would not teach me squat!!!

I was a free laboror, thats it. run cable install boxes, strip cable. eight hours a day of that and you are a pro in no time.

They were under no obligation to teach me so they didn't.

This " wait till it slows down" thing was a great big no show.!!!!

I quit after about 6 weeks and four "teachers"

I found an other apprenticeship program that I had to pay for, it garenteed hands on feild trainning, they equated it to your medical residencey.

you were paying them to help them wire a house to make money. I could not offord it.

Just out of curiosity, what do you get if you finnish the apprenticeship program????

#17009 - 11/22/02 08:59 PM Re: Apprentice Experiences?  
The Watt Doctor  Offline
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 435
Mont Belvieu, TX
It's hard to beat the "hall" when it comes to training. I went through the union apprenticeship program. After I left the Navy in '90, went through the program, "turned out" in '95, I worked the field for 4 years became an estimator , and landed my Master's in Feb of 2001. Now, I'm "the guy in the back office" that "we had to hire because he has the license". I'm not working for a union shop now, but the dollar signs were high enough that I couldn't pass up the chance to work for my present employer. I work with my tools from time to time, and the rest of the time I have people work for me.
One word of advice, if you are working for a company that is not putting you on jobs that will teach you a variety of things, tell the training director, and try to change jobs. If I had it to do over again, I would have changed jobs a lot more when I was an apprentice. I missed out on working some really good projects in our city because I was to loyal to the company. While you are an apprentice work for companies that will teach you the most. After you "turn out", then go "land" at company where you can "plant some roots", and build a career.
I don't regret going through the union apprenticeship school. One thing that I like is, if I get tired of my job, I can usually always find something else to do.

Good Luck,

The Watt Doctor
Altura Cogen
Channelview, TX

#17010 - 11/22/02 09:26 PM Re: Apprentice Experiences?  
electure  Offline

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,262
Fullerton, CA USA
If you decide that the union is your way to go, by all means use evey bit of schooling they have available. It's good!

If not, many Junior Colleges offer programs. Free of charge.

#17011 - 11/23/02 08:14 PM Re: Apprentice Experiences?  
sparky  Offline
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,311
It seems you city boys have all the breaks, so i can't help but be jealous.

#17012 - 11/24/02 01:33 AM Re: Apprentice Experiences?  
Trumpy  Offline

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,223
SI,New Zealand
Please email me, I can give you a few good
But I am not holding out on ECN,
Check this one out, I was working for the local PoCo as a trainee Line-worker, and we were working on 33kV lines, we had to Isolate and Earth the said Lines, I actually connected the Earth Sticks,before the lines were Isolated, it rained Fire!,
I've learned from that experience. [Linked Image]

#17013 - 12/03/02 06:41 AM Re: Apprentice Experiences?  
macwire  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 42
Philadelphia, PA, USA
One more question related to your apprenticeships, if you all don't mind.

For those of you who went with a union apprenticeship, how easy was it to get in? Assuming you met all the requirements, passed the aptitude test, etc., did you still have to be "sponsored" by an union electrician to get in? Did it greatly increase your chances to know a union electrician who was looking for a helper? Were there more applicants than available openings?

The MacWire

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