We all have to learn, the only abilities you have when you are born is eating and sleeping, called instincts. The rest you have to learn. We all go to school and one day school tells you to go and find your place in the world. Some go to university to study further and others learn it all by doing, an apprenticeship.
I grew up in a british world where and apprenticeship was only really available for manual workers, be it electricitan or plumber and this was basically a mans’ world. I remember ny mum telling me her younger brother was apprenticed as a window dresser. He finished his apprenticeship, which you had to pay for at that time, and the second world war broke out. He had to join the army and fight and no-one was interested in creating window shows in shops when there would probably be war destruction.
If you were a female of the species and did not quaify or decide to train in a female job, such as nurse, you learned by doing. I was lucky enough to qualify for an english grammar school with a commercial department, so my last year was spent in learning shorthand, typing, accounts and everything connected wtih office work. I was one of the lucky ones. Others were just thrown to the mercy of the work system, perhaps as a shop assistant or in a factory on the conveyer belt: not really learning anything more, but one day having a family to learn by doing.
The photos is of my No. 1 son at his job on an automatic lathe (with the company’s cockatoo in the background), as well as Mr. Swiss who also happened to get into the picture. No. 1 son is autistic, but in Switzerland there is also a programme for handicapped to learn a trade and he learned to become a mechanic, with special final qualification examination, which he passed. I discovered the almost perfect system in Switzerland. If you qualify by passing your matura examination at high school, your place in univesity is definite, which was the case of No. 2 son. There is no question of not being enough room at the university (with the exception of the medical profession), you passed and are qualified.
I also discovered that the apprenticeship system in Switzerland is in all jobs, whether shop assistant, manual worker, or even office work. After leaving school you apply for an apprenticeship. I was surprised that office workers, as I was, also had an apprenticeship system. It has various shapes and sizes, but the compay where you are doing the apprenticeship pays you a wage and after the three years you take you final examination.
Mrs. Swiss passed through this system. When I was a working woman I was supervising the apprentice in my department, guiding him or her through the steps and ensuring they were learning what they should learn. I enjoyed that part of my work, not only did the youngsters learn from me, but I also learned from them. I still meet my ex apprentices sometimes by chance in the local town, now with familiies of their own and I am happy to say I was part of their further education.
I would add that the job of housewife has no apprenticeship system, that is really learning by doing, but we are multi taskers, ironing, washing, cleaning, cooking. It all has to be organised and planned and so our process of become logistic experts in also completed.