Registered Apprenticeship (RA) is a structured education and training program that takes place in the workplace and includes formal on-the-job (OJT) training and classroom-based, related technical instruction (RTI). An apprentice is a full-time, paid employee of the sponsoring organization from the start of the program. An apprenticeship generally includes at least 2,000 hours of OJT and a recommended 144 hours of related technical instruction (RTI).
An apprenticeship is not an internship, nor is it a short-term training program. Apprentices work full-time and are paid a wage that is subject to minimum wage regulations, but may begin below that of the incumbent (current) worker. As the apprentice hits milestones such as completing a certain number of program hours or demonstrating job competencies, his or her wages increase according to the agreement signed by the employer and the apprentice at the beginning of the program.
To summarize, key elements of a registered apprenticeship program are:
- The apprentice is a full-time, benefit-receiving, paid employee of the sponsoring organization.
- The apprenticeship program includes at least 2,000 hours of On-the-Job (OJT) training and 144 hours of Related Technical Instruction (RTI), which can take place in a classroom at the workplace or at a local college or education provider.
- The apprentice must be paid at least the minimum wage, with wages progressing as the apprentice moves through the program.
- On-the-job training must be structured, planned and coordinated and cannot simply be a job shadowing experience or a short term employee induction program.