So you have decided on a trade and got yourself an apprenticeship – congratulations, but the decisions are not over yet! Faced with a dizzying array of trade school options, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and make a rushed choice that you will regret later down the line. So what marks good trade schools out from the rest and what factors should you be considering before you pick?
Why do you need a trade school?
Trade school is a required part of most apprenticeship programs and counts as the off-site training for your professional qualification. It is responsible for teaching you the skills you will put to use in your apprenticeship and helps you pass the compulsory exams to become a licensed member of your chosen trade. To join most trade school programs, such as electrician training, you need to have been accepted as an apprentice and signed a contract of training with an employer.
Remember that it is best to discuss your trade school decision with your employer before you sign up! They may have experience with schools and opinions about which programs they would prefer you to take.
1. Small class sizes
Unlike schools or colleges, trade schools teach very practical skills which require hands-on learning – so don’t expect a classroom and desk format. Most of your learning at trade school will be in loud practical rooms where you’ll be able to crack on with honing your skills. This setup is exactly what you need to master your trade, but makes it vital that you can receive the one-to-one tuition necessary to get to grips with a new skill set. Smaller classes with multiple instructors are important for a great trade school experience that will impress your current and future employers.
2. State of the art facilities
Your trade school is where you will learn how to use all the tools and machinery you will come across in your professional career – so it’s important that everything is up to date. Knowing how to work machinery that was abandoned years ago isn’t going to impress anybody – or be useful to you! So make sure that the facilities you will be using match those of the industry you will be working in, to ensure that your skills will be relevant and attractive to employers.
Unlike schools or colleges, trade schools teach very practical skills which require hands-on learning – so don’t expect a classroom and desk format!
The best way to check out the resources on offer is an in person visit (or at least a video tour) so you can see for yourself what you will be using. Remember that you can always check which tools and machinery you need to be learning about with your apprentice provider.
3. Curriculum based on current industry practice
Make sure that you read through each school’s curriculum and course structure. For you to get the most out of your trade school, you need to follow industry practice and cover all the bases and skills you will need in your future profession.
4. What is the culture like?
You will be spending a lot of time at your trade school, so make sure it’s going to support you all the way through. To make the most of your time, it’s important to find an environment where you fit in and get the backing you need in both your academic and personal life. The best trade schools will know all their students as individuals and make sure you finish school not only qualified, but also a well-rounded person.
5. Consistently high retention rates
Dropout rates are a key indication of whether the school is living up to its promises, so be sure to ask about them. A high retention rate shows that other students like you enjoy their time there and are learning all the skills they need to master their trade.
If you have secured your apprenticeship and are interesting in joining a trade school with a great reputation, get in touch with NECA Education & Careers today.