What is an Apprentice?

Apprentices have a long history dating back to ancient Greece when young workers entered a term of service, now called indentureship, to a skilled tradesman to learn his craft. Things are much the same today. Currently, an apprentice is an employee who learns a skilled trade through planned, supervised work on-the-job, while at the same time receiving related technical classroom instruction. Apprentices are required to sign an indenture agreement with their Joint Apprenticeship Committee/Trade Improvement Committee that spells out the requirements and expectations of an apprentice ironworker.

Apprentices are taught the proper use, care, and safe handling of the tools and equipment used in connection with their work and, of course, the important skills necessary to become a successful tradesperson.

While working on-the-job and acquiring skills, apprentices are a regular part of the work force on whom contractors and co-workers rely. But remember that apprentices are also required to attend ironworking school and complete the prescribed courses related to the trade in order to complement their on-the-job training. Apprentices will receive an evaluation about every 6 months to determine if they are learning the craft. If the on-the-job or schoolwork is not satisfactory, they may be dropped from the program or sent back to repeat that segment of training. If, however, the work is good they will receive a pay raise. That’s right, pay raises occur every 12 months!

What can I expect of an Ironworker Apprenticeship Program?

The Ironworkers Local 401 Apprenticeship Program  is a 4 years in length consisting of 8,000 hours on-the job training along with 816 hours of related classroom training. The training includes instruction in the erection of structural steel, ornamental metals, welding, and rigging, blueprint reading, care and safe use of tools, mathematics, safety welding and oxy-acetylene flame cutting.  The classroom training and hands-on training complement the training received in the field.  

What is expected of ironworker apprentices?

  • Complete cooperation and willingness to learn
  • Mandatory school attendance
  • Dependability on the job
  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • The development of safe work habits
  • Perform a day’s work for a day’s pay
  • Be drug and alcohol free