Column: Apprenticeships and Internships Give Students Opportunities for Better Future Planning


Photo courtesy of Shilpa Kulkarni

Josh Brazee, Student of Journalism

In this day in age, students are pushed toward the college route more than ever before. Most parents think that the college route is the best way to find a solid and high paying career. In reality, many opportunities exist for students to expose themselves to jobs with higher salaries without having to go to a traditional four-year college program. The most commonly used programs for these opportunities are called internships or apprenticeships.  

These programs are essential for the success of these students. Whether it is to advance in their desired field or experiment whether or not they like that career. 

The traditional route for education is a close-minded approach where students hope to find a general idea for what they want to study at a four-year college through their four years at high school. According to Fremont College, this practice works with some students, but it could be improved with these opportunities. Instead of students expecting their dream career fall right into their laps, these opportunities can give real-life experience with the job they have an interest in and give them not only what is important to learn to get to that point, but also what the regular everyday work environment is.

   Internships are an opportunity in which an intern learns valuable job skills to help them look more desirable to future employers. According to CNN, interns can be unpaid or paid.  This program is not for making vast amounts of money right away; it shows a safe and cheap method to check the specific field or industry you are interested in going into. With this practice, people can find out whether or not a specific job is for them and will not have accrued any kind of wasted time compared with a college student switching their major. Internships are a peek through the door at what a specific job is like on a daily basis, which is invaluable to the planning of people’s futures. 

Apprenticeships are much different than internships: apprentices are usually paid better than interns and apprentices are given the education and skills of a job by learning through hands-on experiences from a master in their respective trade. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the apprenticeship program gives people an opportunity to learn larger amounts with increasingly complicated tasks from job experience and slowly gets raises as their skills and knowledge increase. The program is most common with jobs in the trades: such as a plumber, electrician, pipefitter or welder. This program is best suited for people who enjoy learning things by getting their hands dirty. Apprenticeship programs are put in place to keep their employees well educated for the job, so employers can have a steady flow of learners to be taught by the current masters and eventually become masters themselves.  

In today’s world, there are so many more future planning opportunities than ever before. In the past, these opportunities were available in college only. Now, high schoolers can become more informed and more educated about what they want to do, and that is the type of knowledge that is worth more than  the time invested. These programs are underutilized at NHS, according to Mrs. Lori Uvaas, NHS’s career center specialist said there is under 10 students currently in the apprenticeship or internship opportunities. Many of these opportunities are available when students express to their teacher their true interest in these careers. These programs should not be taken for granted because they could completely change a student’s future plans and help them narrow down what they are truly passionate about.  

Students can only be helped by what they learn at these opportunities, and can only end in an absolute positive outcome. This is why more students need to take the bull by the horns and truly put themselves out there.