An apprenticeship is one of the oldest and most widely spread forms of learning. Every culture and civilisation has a rich tradition of young people, leaving childhood formally to work side by side with an older, wiser, skilled person to learn a trade. Often this arrangement was a “live in” situation, where young men and women were sent away from home to immerse themselves in the new world of work.

The importance of an apprenticeship system should be self-evident. There is no substitute for experience, and so we see that even in many careers that require a university degree significant emphasis is still put on the practicum. Lawyers, doctors, police officers, even pharmacists all must pass through some form of an apprenticeship in the first stages of their careers. In their various forms, apprentices focus on learning not only the technical skills necessary to perform the job but the soft skills necessary to do it well.

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Written by Jameka Neil