A History of Apprenticeships

A History of Apprenticeships 

Apprenticeships have been a pathway into employment since 1563, although records do show Apprenticeships existing before this point. In the early years, Apprenticeships were often ‘Trades’, including mechanics, carpentry, plumbing and engineering. The Apprentice would move away from home to live with their ‘Master’ for the duration of their training. Often, this would last seven years! As well as personally teaching them the skills of the trade, the ‘Master’ would look after their moral welfare and give them board and lodgings. 

Since then, Apprenticeships have grown vastly, with 858 Apprenticeship Standards across 15 routes currently available, as listed by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. 

Modern Apprenticeships took root in 1993 and was rolled out over a two-year period. Those that became apprentices were then counted as employees and paid a wage at the discretion of the employer. In 1998, the National Minimum Wage was introduced, with the first recorded Apprenticeship rate being set in 2010 at £2.50 an hour. 

A lot has changed over the years, however preconceptions of Apprenticeships has not changed along the way, although progress is being made. It’s often misunderstood that Apprenticeships are not just for school leavers, but for anyone further on in life, looking to change their career or re-join the workforce for a variety of reasons. Another common misconception is the type of Apprenticeship available. Often people assume it’s only Trade related subjects as listed above, which is no longer the case. It’s difficult to put across just how many different subjects and levels there now are. You could become a ‘Soil Scientist Apprentice’ or an ‘Animal Care and Welfare Manager Apprentice’, start at Level 2, or begin a Degree Apprenticeship, studying at Level 7. The opportunities are endless. 

We would recommend looking at the new Occupational Maps through the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education which you can find by clicking here.