Breaking the Mold of Traditional Apprenticeship
My last blog post in March seems like ages ago! I wrote it at the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdowns and shared my thoughts and experiences based on how Faith Technologies initially handled the crisis upon us. As I reflect on all that has happened since March, personally, professionally and across the world, I’m proud that we have continued to live our core values in all the ways I discussed in March and more.
Throughout the pandemic, Faith Technologies’ commitment to our apprenticeship program, to our ground-up growth strategy, and ultimately to our employees has not wavered. At Faith Technologies University, we have spent much of the year redesigning and rewriting our internal electrical and electronic systems technician apprenticeship programs. As we began the process of rewriting curriculum and the situation with COVID-19 progressed, we quickly saw the need to shift to 100% virtual training delivery. This has presented both opportunities and challenges to the team, but ultimately has presented the perfect chance for us to redefine what is possible and break the mold of traditional apprenticeship.
So, what does ‘break the mold of traditional apprenticeship’ mean? Here is what an apprentice can expect to see in our new virtual apprenticeship program:
- Self-Paced Scheduling – Our new apprenticeship program is a combination of virtual instructor-led training (VILT) and pre-recorded or self-study sessions. Classes are made available to apprentices throughout the year and many are even available 24/7. This means that an apprentice can take classes when it best fits into their schedule and progress through a program level at their own pace, provided that their work performance aligns with this pace. This affords us the opportunity to provide a true merit-based training program to our employees, allowing our apprentices to progress through the program at their own pace to reach their career goals.
- Pay-Per-Module Compensation – As an incentive to continue learning and developing, we started to pay a cash incentive to each apprentice for each module completed. This is above and beyond the apprentice’s normal hourly pay earned while performing work outside of training classes. We were able to do this by choosing to invest directly in our greatest asset – our people. This enables us to pay our apprentices more than what they were earning while attending the in-person apprenticeship classes offered prior to March.
- Company-Provided Learning Devices – With all our classroom training moving to a virtual platform, we have invested in a tablet for each apprentice to ensure their ability to complete their training classes. We have equipped these devices with a variety of applications and tools that we believe will contribute to their success not only in the classroom, but also in the course of day-to-day job duties. The investment in company-provided learning devices is yet another way that the organization continues to keep the success of our employees top-of-mind.
I remain incredibly proud of the Faith Technologies University team and excited about our future as we embark on a path of virtual training. In a blog post earlier this fall, my colleague, Mark Cook, perfectly captured the spirit of the Faith Technologies University team when he wrote, “As COVID-19 caused us to discontinue in-person training, rather than pausing training totally, we are blazing new trails and facing the challenge head on. We have all been handed a situation that has presented obstacles, but at Faith Technologies, we have elevated our training to ensure we continue to deliver the best learning opportunities to anyone willing to put forth the effort to succeed.” I couldn’t agree more with Mark, and look forward to a very bright future for our company.