Plumbing Apprenticeship: A Win-Win

The Apprentice Model

Apprenticeship is one of the oldest and most effective occupational training methods. Today, over a thousand occupations have apprentice programs, including the one most prized to Williams: plumbing. With the largest plumbing apprenticeship program in Montana, we’re training the next generation of plumbers. 

There are nearly 800 companies that support an apprenticeship program in the state, including Williams Plumbing and Heating. The apprentice model is a true win-win for both employer and employees. For employers, developing their own highly skilled workforce is a no brainer: the U.S. Department of Labor reports that 91% of apprentices that complete an apprenticeship are still employed nine months later. For employees, an apprenticeship is a smart route for those who seek on-the-job training and quick career advancement. 

The Road to Journeyman 

For a career in plumbing, an apprenticeship is also required in the state of Montana. In this state, plumbing is a protected trade — meaning you need a journeyman’s license to perform the work.  

The road to obtaining a journeyman’s plumbing license isn’t for the faint of heart, or for those lacking self-discipline. It’s a serious commitment that combines more than 7,500 hours of on-the-job experience, ten textbooks, eight courses and an extensive final exam over the course of about four years. However, unlike a traditional college degree, an apprentice doesn’t have to wait four full years to be rewarded for their hard work: as an apprentice advances through their coursework, they get incremental pay bumps. 

Controlling your paycheck? Another no brainer. 

Williams Plumbing Apprenticeship Program 

With the help and guidance from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry and Montana State University-Northern, Williams Plumbing and Heating is proudly one of the largest apprenticeship trainers in the state. Earlier this Spring, after interviewing 38 applicants, Williams welcomed 19 new apprentices to the program — bringing the total of active apprentices to 51. 

Though there is a state limit to how many apprentices a company can train at one time (2-to-1 ratio of employees to apprentices), demand for the trade is higher than ever. Williams fully expects to offer multiple rounds of apprenticeship solicitation and acceptance throughout the year to provide more opportunities for career advancement. Additionally, Williams will be investing even more time and energy into making the Williams Apprenticeship Program the best it can be. Under the leadership of Learning and Development Manager Amanda Barker, current and future apprentices can soon expect increased support with course administration, compliance, and even in-person instruction. 

It’s a great time to be a plumber — and an even greater time to work for Williams Plumbing and Heating.

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