Learning on the job can be an intimidating, but ultimately extremely rewarding experience. That is the case with Ben Shoesmith, the apprentice plumber featured in this video clip. He works for a commercial plumbing company in New Zealand and discusses his day to day life at work in the film. Ben is a talented apprentice who loves traveling throughout the region and getting to explore new places while on the job. He learns new things and is able to apply them immediately, getting hands-on experience alongside another plumber, who guides him and teaches him what he needs to know. And while much of the work is done independently, Ben says that the friendship and teamwork established between the people in the industry is his favorite part. He loves meeting up with his mates on job sites, then going out for a beer afterward. He describes it as a good life, one he wants to continue with and expand upon. He says he wants to move up in the industry, learning as much as he can and teaching other apprentices as well.
While classroom training is important in a lot of fields, on the job training is often irreplaceable. Being in the field, in real situations where you’ll have an impact, is a step above simulating it in the classroom. In the case of plumbing, Ben is directly impacting others as he learns. He is fixing real plumbing in real buildings, something that has a major effect on the lives of the people who live and work in those buildings. By apprenticing with a commercial plumbing company, Ben gets to learn and work at the same time.
This is a situation that can have a very positive impact on both individuals in different trades and the fields at large. Young people can go straight into a field, learning practical skills while also immediately earning a paycheck. This is a very attractive option for many people who might otherwise be unsure what their future plans are. Meanwhile, the field benefits too. By bringing on apprentices, these fields are able to ensure their future. They attract talented young people and train them up. That way, once older workers retire, these young people are trained and ready to replace them. An apprenticeship program is an ideal option for both the trainees and the trainers, giving everybody opportunities to teach, learn, and grow in their field.