National Apprenticeship Week, held from February 7 to 13 this year, is an annual celebration in the United Kingdom to celebrate the role of apprentices in the workforce and their importance. We are here to show you how you can play a role. It has been almost 4,000 years since the system of apprentices was first developed in the Babylonian era around 1800 B.C. National Apprenticeship Week (N.A.W.) is a celebration of apprenticeship. It aims to encourage apprentices in excelling in their respective fields, as they are the future of the country’s economic growth. It is also an opportunity for employers to show appreciation towards the apprentices working with them.
History of National Apprenticeship Week
It is believed that the idea of apprenticeship was first conceived in the Babylonian era when craftsmen were required to teach their skills to the following generation. This was common in ancient civilizations of Rome and Egypt too. By medieval times, this system quickly spread across Europe. Apprentice young workers were hired to help in exchange for food, accommodation, and craft training. Young men and women as young as 14 to 16 would stay with the employer for a set period as agreed upon in the contract. The system of guilds was introduced, where the apprentice would enter as a recruit after seven years of training under the master craftsman. This system was prevalent in medicine, law, trading, and other crafts.
After World War I, the system of apprenticeship was seen in labor, where laborers were allowed to take up skilled work after training and learning from skilled laborers. After World War II, some of the changes that were made were that a distinction was made between skilled laborers, semi-skilled laborers, and apprentices.
In 1948, The Employment and Training Act was sanctioned in Britain, and it led to the creation of the National Joint Apprenticeship Training Council to be set up in all industries. The Education and Skill Funding Agency (ESFA), sponsored by the Department of Education, was established in 2017 to fund education for children and apprentice training for all, including young adults. The ESFA initiated the National Apprenticeship Week for the development of apprenticeship training and as a gesture to celebrate the work of apprentices at the workplace.
National Apprenticeship Week timeline
The first known apprenticeship system is seen in the Babylonian era.
The system of apprenticeship becomes popular in European countries.
The Employment Training Act is sanctioned in Britain.
National Apprenticeship Week is created to recognize the importance of apprentices in society.
National Apprenticeship Week FAQs
What is the minimum wage for apprentices?
Apprentices at age 21 to 22 get £8.36 per hour. Ages 18 to 20 get £6.56 per hour. Apprentices below 19 get £4.30 per hour.
Which apprenticeships pay the most?
Some of the apprenticeships that pay the most are mechanics, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, brick masons, and automobile technicians.
What is the typical size of an employer for an apprentice?
Small (Zero to 49 employees) and large-sized employers (250+ employees) are most prone to having apprenticeships. 44% of apprenticeships occur in small businesses and 41% in large businesses.
How to Observe National Apprenticeship Week
Raise a toast for apprentices
What better way to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week than to appreciate the work of apprentices. If you have apprentices working with you, then it is a good time to let them know you appreciate their work. If you are an apprentice yourself, then this is your day! Make the best out of it by honing the skill you are learning.
Share it on social media
Let everyone know that you are celebrating this day. Take pics of yourself working with fellow apprentices and share them on your social media page. Or if you know an apprentice, get his/her permission to share their work status.
Read more about apprenticeship history
Use this day to improve your knowledge. Read more about how the work of apprentices affects the socio-economic construct. You can also read more about the history of the system of apprenticeship.
5 Facts About Ex-Apprentices That Will Blow Your Mind
Gordon was an appy
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay worked as a catering apprentice.
Elvis Presley was electric
Elvis Presley was an electrician apprentice before turning to music.
Michael Caine watery work
Veteran actor Micheal Caine worked as a plumbing apprentice.
Henry Ford worked for Edison
Henry Ford worked as an apprentice in the Edison Illuminating Company in 1879.
Stella McCartney worked with Edward Sexton
Stella McCartney, daughter of musician Paul McCartney, worked as an apprentice to Edward Sexton before becoming a fashion designer.
Why National Apprenticeship Week is Important
It gives us a chance to appreciate apprentices
Apprentices play a major role in society. Today's apprentices are tomorrow's skilled workers. We must appreciate and see to it that apprentices get the acknowledgment they deserve.
Apprentices get a chance to be heard
This week is dedicated to the apprentices. This is the perfect opportunity for the apprentice community to come together and let the concerned authorities know about their challenges and suggestions.
It gives us a chance to improve our knowledge
This is also a day of learning. This day allows us to learn more about the origins of the apprentice systems and their history. As you dig deeper into the history you stumble upon other associated stories and amazing facts that you might have never known otherwise.
National Apprenticeship Week dates