What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships have been around for centuries, they are the original workforce training program. You’ve also likely heard of Internships and Bootcamps and may wonder what make these training programs different.


Internships are short term work experience programs in which an Intern works at a business (sometimes unpaid) in order to get on the job experience. Internships are less formal, sometimes with a small set of reasonable learning objectives. Interns typically receive some amount of mentoring from the employer, and may receive a reference for a future employer. Internships do not receive a lot of oversight, and as such the quality of the experience may vary widely.


Modeled in name after a military training program, so called Bootcamps are a 21st century phenomenon intended to help individuals with a technical aptitude (and often lacking a college degree) shorten the learning cycle to gain in demand skills. Bootcamps are typically centered around web development and programming, and operate for a period of 3-6 months. The curriculum is referred to as “immersive”, speaking to the rapid rate in which the lessons are provided as well as the amount of knowledge one is expected to absorb. Bootcamps are largely unregulated, and although there are some good organizations out there, the industry is clouded with controversy. Bootcamps are seen as learning tool, but do not provide the practical experience you gain on the job.


Apprenticeships share similarities with Internships and Bootcamps in so much as there is a combination of education and on the job training. Until recently, in the US apprenticeships were limited to trade industries such as construction and automotive. In Europe and the United Kingdom however, apprenticeships have extended to other industries, and this may be indicative of the history and origins of the term. In a traditional apprenticeship, the apprentice works a full time position with an employer (2000 hours per year) and attends classes at a trade school or community college part time (250-400 hours per year) often at night. Over the course of an apprenticeship program (four years in the automotive industry for example), the apprentice starts as an entry level worker in industry, progressively mastering skills under the mentorship of a Journeyman, someone who has completed an apprenticeship and is now considered a master of the trade. Over the course of the apprenticeship, the apprentice’s rate of pay increases every 1000 hours worked until they reach Journeyman pay.

Our Tech Apprenticeship

At Apprentice Brigade, we feel that in the rapidly evolving tech industry a hybrid approach is beneficial. As the talent pool increases, it will not be good enough to be capable, you must be a true master of your trade. Mentorship from experienced Journeymen is a critical component to an apprenticeship, however mentorship by its very nature is part time. We feel that while the curriculum available in the public school system is supportive in getting into industry, a more comprehensive approach is required for an apprentice to truly achieve mastery. This is why we take a curriculum first based approach to our apprenticeship program. During the beginning of each apprenticeship, we focus on immersive training in a similar manner as a bootcamp, running the apprentices through real world scenarios in a lab environment. This provides the opportunity for apprentices to work on the same types of projects and workloads, but with the safety net of a non-production environment in which mistakes can be made and lessons learned. With this solid foundation the apprentice is able to move forward into a contributing role during their employment.

Learn more about our approach to apprenticeships.