Practicing What We Preach
Hire An Apprentice
It’s nice to imagine the romantic lifestyle of the artisan; the joy of creating beautiful objects; the old-time values of working with your hands; the calm, thoughtful way of life, but at the end of the day it’s also a vocation; a method of employment; a trade; a profession; perhaps even a calling. When you have a natural talent for something it’s a gift and if you can support yourself through fulfilling that potential it’s another gift.
My mother always taught me to be grateful of a gift and to give back. That’s what apprenticeship is about; it’s giving back and helping the next generation find their calling and fulfill their potential.
I am investigating whether there are any government grant programs for artisan apprenticeship programs however, even if there are not, it may still make good business sense to hire an apprentice if you need help.
Bachelor of Craft and Design
One place that you might look for an apprentice is at Sheridan College. At their Trafalgar Campus in Oakville they are now offering a Bachelor of Craft and Design. Students select one of five areas of study to “major” in, and then they take additional courses in the other areas to fill a four-year program of study.
I have my own opinions about the effectiveness of trying to learn about so many different things at once however; I am impressed that they are offering such a program of study at all. It’s a step in the right direction. The five main areas of study are ceramics, furniture, glass, industrial design and textiles.
Traditionally an apprentice learns everything there is to know about how to make something fairly specific, from a master craftsperson. Whether that was making a saddle or a chair. I expect that coming out of the Sheridan program, a student would have a well rounded set of skills that would prepare them for apprenticing if they have a mind to hone their skills under the tutelage of a master craftsperson.
No matter where you find the right person taking on an apprentice is the right thing to do on several levels so give it some thought. You might find that they bring a breath of fresh air, new ideas and new ways of approaching the work, to your business. You might also find that it’s rewarding to pass on your skills and help someone else build theirs.
On the topic of apprentices and other ways to help artisans get started, here is an interesting initiative in Spain.
The economic crisis has seen revenue streams for the creative industries in Spain dry up. Now, in the capital city of Madrid, a new scheme is encouraging people to support young artistic talent by adopting an artist…...read more
You may also like to read: Made In Italy? Artisans and skills disappear