Daily Prompt: Everyone is an apprentice

Patrick at work

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.

Cooking pasta



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.

Daily Prompt: Everyone is an apprentice

16 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Everyone is an apprentice

  1. A lot can be said for apprenticeships or On the Job Training. School was so dificult for me that I wonder if I might have done better (and actually gotten somewhere in life) if I had done OJT or something rather than muddling my way through college courses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I could have gone to university I suppose, but did not have any great involvement in something to study. Mum and dad never even entertained the idea that I could study, and I played safe with a commercial course at school, as I was living in London and there was always an opportunty to find an office job. These were the pre computer days, although I caught up on that as well later in life – no problem.

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      • You’ve certainly done great with the blogging via computer/Wordpress. My son & husband are more the computer gurus in my family.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Germany has a similar system and Austria as well. I find it very good, and gives everyone a chance. The only problem can be is finding a suitable free place for the apprenticeship.


  2. I think the apprenticeship system is a good idea. I think it’s a direction the US should think about, especially as the trades that were once taught in high school are now taught in college. There was nothing I taught in university business communication that I had not learned in high school and applied, later, working in an office. To me it was amazing that students needed a high grade point average to get into classes in business. An apprenticeship would have made most of my students happy. The majority graduated to jobs at rental car agencies, hotels, etc.

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    • I find our system very good and gives everyone a fair chance to learn something. They have to work 3 days a week or it might be four – am not sure, in their work place and the rest of the week they are in school learning the basics, german, foreig language perhaps and maths. It is a good system and the apprenticeship usually lasts 3 or 4 years according to what you are learning. It is also a basis for getting a good job if you complete an apprenticeship.

      Liked by 1 person

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