How scholarships can promote both your business and the trades

How scholarships can promote both your business and the trades

Journeyman connects with construction companies around the world daily and has placed hundreds of Millennials and Gen Zs in construction companies over the past two years. From our experience, we have compiled a list of best practices to help you attract the top tradespeople in today’s competitive market. Below we explore how Tip #3, “Offering a Scholarship Program” can attract the next generation of talent to your company and best practices for starting your own.

Has your company offered a construction scholarship and if so, what impact did it have? Comment below!  

Don’t underestimate the power of a scholarship program

Scholarships not only provide an opportunity for your organization to give back to your industry, but they are also a great way to market your company to the next generation of graduates. Scholarship investments can pay for themselves if they help score you the next best talent, not to mention the positive PR/marketing that can come along with it. Considering creating a scholarship but not sure where to start? Follow our five simple steps below!

  • Step 1: Build a team 👪

    Appoint a team that will take charge of the scholarship program. Build the team either by hand-selecting employees from within your company or enlist the services of a scholarship management firm. Either way, someone who directly oversees finances for your company should be part of the team.

  • Step 2: Outline your ideal recruit 👷

    What will your ideal recruit look like? Brainstorm a web of attributes that this individual should embody/have. Use these attributes to build a rubric to score applicants against. To help visualize this, consider creating a sample profile of the ideal candidate which can include information such as:    

    • Trade(s) 
    • Potential college(s)/apprenticeship program(s)  
    • Level of education attained 
    • Grades  
    • Needs  
    • Hard skills  
    • Soft skills  
    • Other important values/traits for this individual to possess  
  • Step 3: Set a budget, deadline and terms 💰

    Consider how much money you plan to spend on the scholarship program. Consult program leaders at the apprenticeship and college programs you intend to recruit from to find out the true cost of courses and required training materials. Use this to help allocate possible scholarship amounts. Make sure the due date you pick is realistic based on course fee deadlines. Once everything is in order, prepare the application form which should include all terms and conditions.

  • Step 4: Determine promotional avenues 📡

    Check to see if there are any local organizations or government websites that would help spread the word. Many websites will do this at no cost. Also, be sure to promote the scholarship directly at applicable education centers and on your company website.

  • Step 5: Select a winner 🎖️

    Assess the applicants based on the rubric created in Step #2. Once winner(s) have been selected, be sure to share them publicly. If possible, award the scholarship in person and use this as a photo op!  Be sure to share this content across many of your social platforms including your website. Everyone loves free, feel-good marketing!

Check out this stellar example 🏆  

Our friends over at the mikeroweWORKS Foundation in the USA have implemented a scholarship called the Work Ethic Scholarship Program that awards the next generation of skilled workers who demonstrate that they will work smart and hard. They’ve promoted opportunities in the trades and the importance of work ethic through this scholarship program remarkably. So we asked them a few questions about their process and here’s what we learned:

Why the mikeroweWORKS Foundation started

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation started, in large part, because of the influence of Mike Rowe’s grandfather. Mike’s grandfather was a master tradesman who could do almost anything in the trades— HVAC, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and so on, despite only having the education of an 8th-grader. Mike lived across the street from his grandfather, and Mike aspired to be like him. However, Mike learned early on that he wasn’t a tradesman, which led him on his own path as a chronic freelancer, from the Baltimore Opera to QVC.  He eventually became known as “the dirtiest man on TV” through the hit TV series Dirty Jobs, which gave Mike the opportunity to travel across the country and work as an apprentice on at least 300 different jobs, working with people who help make civilized life possible, the kind of work that is typically viewed by the media as undesirable. Mike’s experience meeting these hardworking entrepreneurs in the trades and his desire to elevate these viable opportunities led him to start the mikeroweWORKS Foundation.

The ideal candidate for the Work Ethic Scholarship Program

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation Work Ethic Scholarship Program rewards future tradespeople who are willing to work smart and hard. The foundation of this program is the S.W.E.A.T. Pledge., “S.W.E.A.T.” being an acronym for “Skill and Worth Ethic Aren’t Taboo.”  This pledge is made up for 12 statements that Mike wrote outlining his and the foundation’s view of work ethic, personal responsibility, delayed gratification, and a positive attitude.   An ideal candidate for the Work Ethic Scholarship Program is a qualified person learning a trade who can demonstrate that he or she is willing to get up early, stay late, and get the job done, no matter how long it takes. The mikeroweWORKS Foundation looks for people who embody the S.W.E.A.T. Pledge and who have teachers or bosses who can attest to that.

How to get more people into the skilled trades in the USA

In 2008, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation started as a PR campaign for skilled labor, debunking the myths and misperceptions about the skilled trades by highlighting the millions of available jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.  Many important roles play a factor in getting more people into the skilled trades (the number of available apprenticeship programs, society’s view of the trades, government assistance, etc.), and the mikeroweWORKS Foundation’s goal is to help effect change starting with the PR side of things.  As Mike Rowe, founder and CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, has said, “Companies that rely upon a skilled workforce need to do a better job of telling success stories under their own roof.  It starts there.  I’d like to see those stories unfold in the national media, and I’d be happy to help tell them.  Fundamentally, that’s what the mikeroweWORKS Foundation does.”

Interested in learning more about the Work Ethic Scholarship applicants? Find many of their S.W.E.A.T. success stories here! 

By following these steps, your organization can create a full scholarship program that will help you attract the next best talent to your firm. Remember, scholarships increase brand awareness and market your company to the up-and-coming generation as a generous employer who is invested in giving back to their community/industry and furthering education. So the next time you rethink your hiring strategy to attract the next best talent, consider starting a scholarship program to position your brand as a top employment option for recent graduates!  

What is Journeyman all about?

Journeyman is a German based start-up with a mission to build a global online-platform for the trades. Starting out, we’re helping construction companies from around the world find highly skilled and qualified tradespeople from Germany, Austria and Switzerland through our global trade-exchange program. Furthermore, we love sharing our insights with the industry and helping construction companies develop better and more sustainable Human Resource strategies.

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