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Working From Home, What’s it Like for Youth Apprentices?

By Lanna Hernandez | CareerWise Marketing Coordinator Apprentice

While COVID-19 changed all ways of life for those around us, students around the world adapted to a new way of learning while balancing school and work. Being an apprentice on a pathway to your future career while navigating school is no easy task. When the pandemic arose, many workers transitioned to remote work, including youth apprentices (like me!) at CareerWise. Apprentices needed to adapt and learn better ways to communicate in order to craft a schedule that worked for both them and their employer.

Working a remote apprenticeship has its pros and cons—you have the perks of being able to work from the convenience and comfort of home but, there is the challenge of learning a course virtually and how to interact professionally on Zoom.

Apprentice Delaney Braziel is currently working a remote estimator apprenticeship with LPR Construction while managing her high school classes.

“A pro is that I get to work pretty much on my own time as long as I get my hours in. There’s always someone available to help, and if I have a question I usually write it down so I don’t forget,” said Delaney. “Some cons are struggling with time management and learning when to do school work.”

Her current high school, like many others, is still offering a remote learning model. Delaney is expected to balance remote work, while making time for online learning at home, not to mention homework when her apprenticeship and classes are completed.

Times like these are extremely stressful for teenagers. As an apprentice who recently graduated high school, I found it difficult to suddenly learn how to compartmentalize multiple responsibilities—responsibilities that all seemed to be a priority. I had to learn project management skills to determine what tasks were high priority, what deadlines were coming up, and keep in mind everything else that was on my plate.

Photo of Delaney Braziel
Delaney Braziel, Remote LPR Construction Apprentice

During high school, we’re used to a routine where we walk into school learning as much as we can, get sent home to do homework and repeat. Delaney is facing what most teenagers are going through these past two years and is learning how to best approach high school, work while growing up.

“Since I go to school in the morning, I usually work online in the afternoon for a few hours. I do take breaks but usually they are just bathroom breaks or a snack break,” said Delaney, a junior at Fort Collins High School. “I’ve learned discipline to keep from being distracted. By working remotely, I’ve learned that time management is really something you have to keep in mind.”

The difficulties of working remotely are definitely present especially when you are trying to navigate high school as well as an apprenticeship, but there can be some major advantages to having a hybrid or remote work and school schedule. This new, flexible format enables students to explore different education opportunities, such as virtual college courses or online certifications.

All in all, there are many pros and cons to the way COVID-19 impacted school and work. For myself, Delaney, and millions of other teens, it allowed us the time and space to be able to reflect, grow and learn what is most important to us. It gave us the opportunity to utilize technology to advance how we connect with others in how we work, learn and teach, creating new avenues for young people to access education and youth employment programs.