The origins of Apprenticeships: Oh how apprenticeships have changed.

Posted on Monday, August 24, 2020 by The Office ApprenticeNo comments

The origins of Apprenticeships: Oh how apprenticeships have changed.

Believe it or not apprenticeships were first established back in the late Middle Ages.


Originally apprenticeships were introduced so a master craftsman or tradesman would be entitled to recruit young people as a form of cheap labour in return for food or lodgings, plus of course formal training.

Apprenticeships have a long tradition in the United Kingdom, dating back to around the 12th century and flourishing by the 14th century.

Commonly apprentices started off at the age of ten, thats right 10 years of age and commonly up to the age of 15 and were most commonly males. There were opportunities for female apprentices but in less physical jobs such as seamstress or baking. 

Oh how times have changed.

When apprenticeships were first introduced contracts would have to be formed (just like today) between the apprentice, craftsman and the parents of the apprentice. You would start your formal training with the master craftsman/tradesman which could take up to nine years, and believe it or not the families of the apprentice would pay a fee or premium for the privilege.

Apprentices would aspire to become master craftsman themselves with the hope one day they would be able to acquire their own workshops and pass on the skills they learnt to other apprentices.


Modern Apprenticeships of today.

Fast-forward some six hundred plus years and oh how apprenticeship jobs have changed. Gone are the days of only being able to do an apprenticeship in a craft such as joinery or iron mongering, apprenticeships are widely available in all most any occupation you chose to train in. From Accounting to Business Administration apprenticeships the list is longer than your arm.

You’ll be glad to hear that the average apprenticeship length is around 18 months instead of 9 years and instead of your parents or family having to pay for your training you will get paid a wage, how much can apprentices earn?

It wasn’t until the 18th century when apprentices would receive regular payments for the efforts, well not until the last two to three years of their apprenticeship. These payments were made if the apprentice lived away from his master commonly from a Saturday to a Monday and were called “half-pay”.

Thankfully as we now live in the 21st century there is no need for you to live with your master, with the introduction of modern transport it’s quite easy to commute to and from your apprenticeship job, either via car, bus or train.

So there you have it, that was the origins of apprenticeships and how they differ ever so slightly to the Modern Day Apprenticeship.

Previous PostNext Post

No comments on "The origins of Apprenticeships: Oh how apprenticeships have changed."