Apprenticeships: history and myths.

‘The Statute of Artificers, introduced by the parliament of Elizabeth 1 in 1563, made it illegal for anyone to “exercise any art, mystery or occupation now used or occupied within the realm of England and Wales except he shall have been brought up therein seven years at the least as an apprentice”.

Before the introduction of this legislation, apprenticeships were regulated by the guilds of trades and craftsmen.

An apprentice, often starting as young as 10 or 12, would learn his trade over a period of years — often seven, but it could be longer or shorter than this — with his master being responsible for his board, lodging and clothing as well as teaching.

Modern Apprenticeships (MAs), first announced by then-Chancellor Kenneth Clarke in November 1993, were designed to reverse the decline in apprenticeship numbers and provide a boost to work-based training.

The late 2000s saw the apprenticeship momentum grow.

The first National Apprenticeship Week took place in 2007, to draw more attention nationally to the benefits of apprenticeships.

The coalition government oversaw 2.4m starts, and in 2015 the new Conservative government pledged to create 3m new apprenticeship starts by 2020.’ – FE Week

The Guardian has published refutations to five of the most common Apprenticeship myths.

‘Pupils and parents lack good quality information about apprenticeships and this is leading to misconceptions, says Sharon Walpole, chief executive of Walpole Media Group…

“The biggest misunderstanding is that people think it’s a second rate, second class route. That if you fail your A-levels it’s for you,” says Walpole.

For an advanced level apprenticeship, for example, candidates typically need four good quality GCSEs, including English and Maths.

People tend to think you need to choose between doing an apprenticeship and going to university, says Walpole. However, if you go to university, you can still complete an apprenticeship afterwards, and vice versa. “It doesn’t mean you can’t go to university later. It’s not a fork in the road or a shutting of a door,” says Walpole.

While the typical image of an apprentice is someone working in manufacturing or construction, there are many sectors that have apprenticeship schemes.’ - Guardian

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