An apprenticeship is a structured training program that combines classroom instruction or education with on-the-job training under the close supervision of a skilled and experienced journeyworker in a craft, trade, or profession. Virginia's voluntary apprenticeship program is governed by the state Department of Labor and Industry's Apprenticeship Council. The Council establishes and enforces standards for apprenticeship programs. The Council may appoint local apprenticeship committees to coordinate and monitor apprenticeship programs (VA Code Sec. 40.1-117 et seq.).
In Virginia, an apprentice must be at least 16 years old, learning and working in an apprenticeable occupation, and be covered by a written agreement with an employer to provide at least 2,000 hours of continuous employment (VA Code Sec. 40.1-120, 16 VAC 20-21-10). Each apprenticeship is built around an agreement between sponsor and apprentice, containing the rules, conditions, and training standards of the work relationship.
Apprenticeable occupation. An "apprenticeable occupation" is defined as a skilled trade that is customarily learned through a structured program of on-the-job supervised work that involves manual, mechanical, or technical skills. The length of an apprenticeship depends on the specific occupation (e.g., 3 years for bakers, 2 years for chefs), but the average term is 4 years (e.g., carpenters, electricians, blacksmiths).
Successful completion of the registered apprenticeship program earns the apprentice nationally recognized state certification as a journeyworker.
Agreements. In Virginia, apprenticeship agreements must contain the following (VA Code Sec. 40.1-121):
• The names, addresses, and signatures ...