As a former tool and die maker, technology has condensed the average lead time for building a stamping die or an injection mold from 12 to 16 weeks...all the way down to 3 to 4 weeks...sometimes quicker than that. That represents approx. a 75% lead time reduction.
So...the average apprenticeship that used to last approx. 4 years (8000 hours) should be down to somewhere around 8 months to a year...right?
Wrong. I would say a minimum of four years (with schooling) for an apprenticeship. Throw in another three to four years to become a competant journeyman...and another three or four years to become a master craftsman.
Typical pay rate for an apprentice is 50% of journeyman rate, with incremental pay increases every six months ending with 100% of journeyman rate at the conclusion of the apprenticeship.
If possible, see if they will document your time so you can obtain certification through the department of labor.
Formal apprenticeships (with a written agreement) are very few and far between these days, but if you can find one...by all means avail yourself.