I know two guys who went through it, and they're pretty good electricians. I
know other guys who have went through various other union apprenticeships,
and they all seem pretty good at their trade. That doesn't mean to say they
all are, but all of the ones that I personally know are pretty good.
Do all locals run a school or do some just put people to work alongside
journeymen? In the Chicago area IBEW and the Electrical Contractors'
Association run a school in suburban Alsip.
Most of the shops turn out construction electricians that can bend pipe and
pull wire. Get into communications, or high end stuff and your not going to
get much training. I will say you will receive a good foundation in the
basic theory of electricity. Some locals have better training than others.
WARNING..... Keeping a job for the first 4 years is pretty easy. After that,
well it is all market place and your ability to wait for a job.
I am ex-IBEW, I got an honory "out" of my local. I tried to go back to the
fold for a specific contractor that needed specific skills. Like doing
harmonic studies and electrical testing. Even though the union could not
provide the skills needed. The union flatly refused to let me be hired. I
was willing to pay the reinstatement fee and all the dues. They said I would
be on book 3, basically I would pay dues for a year before I could move to
book one and get hired. I do not want to bend pipe and pull wire as a daily
job any more. Needless to say I did not return to the fold.
It is not a bad choice as long as you go into it head up and your paying
My son is in his last semester of his last(5th)
year of his apprenticeship with IBEW local 352. He
has studied long and hard to get where he is at. He
has worked on commercial jobs as well as
residential settings over the 5 years of his
apprenticeship. He had worked for a company that
did residential jobs before he went union. The
schooling wasn't easy but as long as he studies, he
does well. There is a lot of technical information
to absorb. You learn all the code stuff too. I
guess my son paid attention because he did all the
electrical work to the addition I had built last
summer and upgraded our service. The electrical
work was the only aspect of the work we had done
that Never failed an inspection. The inspector knew
my son was doing it and even commented on what a
nice looking job he did as well as following the
code to a T, down to calking around the wires where
they went thru the top plate. I felt kind of proud
to hear the inspector say good things about him.
Back to the apprenticeship.... the only drawback
with working for the union is that when the job is
done you get laid off and have to go "sign the
book" and wait your turn to go to another job. The
contractor he is with now kept him from the last
job and let him work somewhere else right away. He
is trying to keep my son. I guess he likes his
work. You can end up working for the same company
for years and years. But that doesn't always
happen. There have been times where he was laid off
for a week or 2 between jobs. For a single guy the
time off is welcome but if he had a family to
support I'm not sure he would have stayed with it
because of the lay-off risk.
You should talk it over with whoever your sponsor
"You should talk it over with whoever your sponsor
What if your not an alcoholic? There are canadians here too and we don't
start drinking on waking.
You sound kinda dum, maybe you should try for plumber instead, or truck
Just remember, if you fail at all else, you can always be a HVAC tech.
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