KAUKAUNA, Wis. (WFRV) – Apprenticeship Signing Day at UA 400 Pipe Trades brought lots of smiles and pictures.

It was the embarkment of an apprenticeship for 45 people hoping to work in pipe fabrication, plumbing, welding, steam fitting, and HVAC services.

“You see those smiles ear to ear,” Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 400 Business Manager Douglas Dokey said. “We bring them in to let them know that it’s not just the superstar athletes that are important to their career field, these guys are important to us as well.”

Dokey would know, as he was once an apprentice himself.

“I went through apprenticeship. I was a plumber. I was in the same boat they’re in,” he said. “No fanfare, though.”

The apprentices received a certificate and were called up to the stage to take photos with their contractors and UA 400 leaders.

“You know it’s something I earned, an achievement,” Bassett Mechanical apprentice Lukas Gerrits said.

The apprentices will receive five years of on-the-job training before they are fully certified to work on their own.

“I’m glad they make an accomplishment out of this because it is hard,” Bassett Mechanical apprentice Nadia Trinh said. “You have to work really hard to get here, and once you finally do, it is amazing.”