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The Rocket

Workplaces should encourage an apprenticeship-style approach

Joseph Szalinski, Rocket Contributor

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Like many other graduating (super) seniors, I too am beleaguered by sending out countless copies of my résumé and a plethora of custom-tailored cover letters. It’s quite a daunting challenge actually, trying to convince someone that your sleep-deprived brain is cognizant enough to handle the responsibility of a “grown-up job.”

The moment we send out those emails to prospective employers, is the culmination of everything we learned in school. It’s the summation of us as individuals, ready to change the world, if not, at least make some sort of impact somewhere.

But not every job is so accepting of fresh faces and recent graduates. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has feverishly searched through job listings, hoping to find something decent, only to find that whatever positions said organization had available, required that applicants have at least five years of experience. And like everyone else, I asked myself the eternal question, “How can I ever hope of getting any experience, if I can’t actually get hired anywhere?!”

Inevitably, we settle for something else, something not as promising or fulfilling, but we find something, at least. Even if it’s completely unrelated to what we will/want to eventually do, we do it. But this poses a problem. Isn’t experience doing something other than an eventual job, just as counter-intuitive as not doing it at all? Sure, one gains experience working in the professional world, in a much larger capacity than they had previously, but say I wanted to get into technical or scientific writing; working at a bank isn’t going to help much with the former.

That’s why I feel companies should take a different approach to the whole thing. They should understand that with a significant number of positions, that they are dealing with incredibly competent people; graduates. College graduates show tenacity and work ethic, and a slew of other quality traits one wishes for in an employee. Sure, a recent graduate definitely does not have experience as a “senior communication lead,” (or whatever the position may be), but using the skills that got them through college, they could be groomed by a company to eventually fulfill a particular position.

It’s not outlandish to suggest this either. Keep in mind that back in the day, apprenticeships were extremely common. Often times, the apprentice only had the experience from the apprenticeship to dictate how they were going to perform in their career. But college graduates are even more qualified because we’ve had years of experience in the classroom (and some in the field), which enables us to skip the learning curve and start applying ourselves to the best of our abilities.

If companies are willing to offer internships, then what’s stopping them from offering apprenticeships, especially to individuals skilled in a particular area? That would create loyal workers, instead of employees bouncing from job to job; everything would be completely in-house, and business leaders could create much more effective and cohesive companies.

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An Independent, Student-Run Newspaper at Slippery Rock University
Workplaces should encourage an apprenticeship-style approach