Earlier this year, we profiled the Mac IT apprenticeship program offered by London-based consulting and training group Amsys. IT apprenticeships offer technology training based around various common IT certifications and real-world IT experience. Apprentices are paid for their time and typically receive career placement services at the end of the apprenticeship.
Applying the apprenticeship model to the IT industry is relatively common in Europe, but rare in America. A new pilot program designed by IT training and certification powerhouse CompTIA aims to change that and bring the IT apprenticeship concept to the U.S. in a big way.
The program, which is dubbed IT-Ready Apprentices, is being run by CompTIA’s philanthropic arm, the Creating IT Futures Foundation. The program is rather minimal and contained compared to the program that Amsys offers. It focuses on just eight weeks of training and CompTIA’s A+ certification. Once certified, apprentices will work with IT professionals for a six month period and earn $15/hour.
It isn’t clear if CompTIA plans to expand the program into a multi-year and multi-disciplinary offering like the program by Amsys. CompTIA’s CEO Todd Thibodeaux is proud that the program has a low-cost per person – about $5,000. Thibodeaux sees that as a powerful motivator to expand the program to cities across the county (the pilot program is being run Minneapolis and Cincinnati).
Given that the A+ is a very entry-level certification focused on just PC troubleshooting and repair, expanding the program such that it can meet the IT skills needed in the emerging post-PC era seems likely. CompTIA currently offers a range of IT certifications for different technologies as well as some related to specific industries like healthcare. The organization has also announced plans for a mobile technology training and certification option, but hasn’t implemented it yet. Each of those could be added to a broader apprenticeship program
Even if the organization doesn’t expand its apprenticeship offering, a success could encourage various training vendors to consider creating similar programs including Apple-focused programs that deal specifically with iOS and Mac management. As Apple downshifts the degree of enterprise training and certification classes it offers, many Apple training centers have begun to develop their own training options around topics like iOS management for business and enterprise environments, which could be extended into an apprenticeship program.