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What is an apprentice?

Apprentices have a long history dating back to ancient Greece when young workers entered a term of service, now called indentureship, to a skilled tradesman to learn his craft. Things are much the same today. Currently, an apprentice is an employee who learns a skilled trade through planned, supervised work on-the-job, while at the same time receiving related technical classroom instruction. Apprentices are required to sign an indenture agreement with their Joint Apprenticeship Committee/Trade Improvement Committee that spells out the requirements and expectations of an apprentice Ironworker. 

Apprentices are taught the proper use, care, and safe handling of the tools and equipment used in connection with their work and, of course, the important skills necessary to become a successful tradesperson. 

While working on-the-job and acquiring skills, apprentices are a regular part of the work force on whom contractors and co-workers rely. But remember that apprentices are also required to attend Ironworking school and complete the prescribed courses related to the trade in order to complement their on-the-job training. Apprentices will receive an evaluation about every 6 months to determine if they are learning the craft. If the on-the-job or school work is not satisfactory, they may be dropped from the program or sent back to repeat that segment of training. 

What can I expect of an Ironworker Apprenticeship Program?

Most Ironworker apprenticeships last 3 or 4 years depending on the Local Union requirements. An ideal schedule provides equal training in structural, reinforcing, ornamental, welding, and rigging. The actual length of training for each subject may vary depending on the predominant type of work available in the local area. 

Apprentices are required to receive at least 150 hours of classroom and shop instruction during every year of training. The subjects taken in the shop and classroom complement the hands-on training received in the field. The subjects include blueprint reading, care and safe use of tools, mathematics, safety issues, welding and oxy-acetylene flame cutting. 

Advancement Opportunities

A career in Ironworking provides the opportunity to follow your drive, skills, and interests up the ladder of success. As a matter of fact, an apprentice today can become the foreman, superintendent and contractor of tomorrow. Once an apprentice advances to journeyman status, the ambitious tradesperson doesn’t need to stop progressing. As you improve your skills, supervisory positions like foreman or superintendent can become available. And, other opportunities like becoming an apprentice instructor or taking an active role in union leadership are available for those who enjoy working with others. 

Of course, advancement depends on the merits of the individual, but there is really no limit for those who are motivated to move up the ladder. As a matter of fact, according to U.S. Department of Labor, a survey showed that 90 percent of the top officials of construction companies who replied – presidents, vice-presidents, owners and partners – began their careers as apprentices.

If you would like to learn more about Local 848's Apprenticeship/Journeyman Upgrade Program please print out the form below and then send it in to us, someone will get in touch with you as soon as an opportunity allows.

General Information Application

CLICK HERE to fill out a General Information Profile document that you must fill out and return to us to be considered for apprenticeship or as a journeyman.