Youth - What you can do now

The alarm clock rings early, but you wake up excited about where you’ll go for the day. You are in a building construction apprenticeship program. You are earning money and working outside, with not just your mind but your whole body in gear. At the end of the day, you know you’ll be able to look at what you’ve accomplished and feel good about your work. 

This could be you, after high school. Apprenticeship is a way to earn a good living while learning a skilled trade. The building construction trades offer a respectable and lucrative career path. 

Maybe you really shine when you work with your hands. You love the idea of not working in an office setting, and you’re not thinking of starting college or sitting in a classroom full time.  The construction trades might be just the place for you. 

Electrician, carpenter, plumber, and operating engineer are just a few of the crafts you might consider. This site has a database where you can explore apprenticeship opportunities.  There’s also has a link you can follow for explanations of various crafts, " ".  (This site will take you out of the I Built It website to acquaint you with the work of different crafts.  Just press the back button to return.)

While you are in still in school, there are steps you can take to better prepare yourself.

  1. Learn basic math skills, an important part of the building construction trades. You’ll need basic math to know where to cut, how much material is needed, and how things will fit together.
  2. Study basic English reading and writing to make learning a trade and communicating on the job easier.
  3. If shop classes are available in your school, take what’s offered or ask your school to develop new shop classes. Make your needs known, you have more power than you know.
  4. You can also contact the various trade groups in your area and ask them if they have or can recommend any pre-apprenticeship programs. A pre-apprenticeship program is a great way to learn whether you really like a particular trade or want to choose another. 
  5. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity or other opportunities without pay that allow you to try out the trades.
  6. If you know someone in the trades, ask if you can job shadow. Some school districts have this program available.
  7. Take every opportunity you can to work with your hands.
  8. Look for a part time job in hardware stores, to get exposure to the industry, tools and supplies and a sense of the culture of the business.
  9. Search the internet for opportunities in your area.