As part of commemorations to mark 100 years of Apprenticeships from 1914-2014, the National Apprenticeship Service has compared apprenticeships today to 100 years ago. Census data from 1911 and a review of historical research conducted by Professor Krista Cowman
at the University of Lincoln show that in 1914, there was a very different mix of vocations and most apprentices started work aged 15-17, compared to 19-24 today. One hundred years ago, women made up 22% of apprentices, compared to 55% today.
In 1914, like today, employers offered a mixture of on-the-job training and formal education. However, 100 years ago apprentices were ‘indentured’ (legally required) to work for an employer for a number of years and had to pay a fee to cover the cost of their training. They were also required to pay for their tools and could be summoned to appear in court if they were felt to be performing below par. Today, apprenticeships are offered by more than 100,000 businesses in 170 industries including aerospace, fashion, broadcast media and finance. Since 2010, over 1.9 million young people have started an apprenticeship in England. www.apprenticeships.org.uk