In the words of Andrew Hutson, "one of the most effective and beneficial approaches to youth employment is the apprenticeship scheme. For those who do not wish to enter full-time higher education, it allows a gradual transition period between work and employment, teaching valuable skills and trades as well as life skills such as organisation and...
Apprenticeships and Education
What kind of picture does the word “apprenticeship” conjure up in your mind? For some the concept of apprenticeship might be viewed as an undignified and outdated way to escape the college grind, while for others it might trigger a romanticized memory of reading Johnny Tremain in the fifth grade. Whatever the connotations this term brings to your mind, apprenticeship is clearly an overlooked concept in today’s culture that does not deserve to be so quickly ruled out.
While the idea of apprenticeship has been around for centuries, the high point of American apprenticeship occurred in the colonial period of the eighteenth century. Rather than attending an institution of higher education, many young people of the Revolution era were skillfully trained in a particular trade or craft by a qualified and knowledgeable adult. This tradition continued after America’s founding period, but as times changed and industry and technology advanced, apprenticeships gradually fell out of favor. In more recent times, the free market possibilities of apprenticeships have often been stifled by government regulation and union dominance in apprenticeship-friendly industries.
As the economy weakens and college becomes more expensive, some people are beginning to wonder if a return to apprenticeship models might be a wise and feasible alternative to higher education. Indeed, apprenticeships offer the potential to learn important skills, earn a decent living, and be free from the burden of college debt. Apprenticeships also offer individuals the opportunity to think outside of the college box and pursue vocational positions that are often in high demand as the baby boom generation retires.
Although apprenticeships are currently not the most common idea on the market, they have the potential to grow and greatly increase the menu of liberating career choices in our free society. This library section is designed to expose people to the history of apprenticeships and current apprenticeship options, as well as to ignite a new and expanding apprenticeship arena in the United States.
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