I commenced a five-year apprenticeship with an North-East engineering firm at the age of sixteen. Five years later, with a technical qualification and a thorough grounding in the basics of electrical engineering behind me, I joined the Merchant Navy, and discovered how much I didn’t know. As with electrics, thousands of my fellow apprentices learnt the skills they had chosen, whether it was bricklaying, carpentry, fitting, machining skills, light or heavy: we all learned the skills needed to make things, to build, to repair, to diagnose, to understand the complexity of a building, or a single machine tool, or a car. Many othere chose a different path, to go to University and study medicine, or the Law, or indeed any of the many and varied professions.
To be an apprentice was an honourable thing; to learn, to absorb, to clarify, to repair and to make good.
I have nothing against people who learn the dark arts of how to serve and sell coffee, most are due a high regard for working hard for low pay: but apprentices they are, simply, not!