This has been a long time in the making, but finally all the papers are signed and I would like to welcome Dan as my new and first apprentice.
Dan and I met at a show one and a half years ago, he wanted to come on workshops or just have some work experience. I was happy to have Dan do simple work for me in the workshop in exchange for me teaching him some green wood skills. Some time later Dan talked about an apprenticeship, that is, an official one where he also went to collage, and we got the ball rolling. I did have doubts, not about Dan, but about money, Health and Safety, commitment of being a full time employer, etc. This has been sorted out, and I have a tidy workshop, where most things have their place with materials and tools easily found.
As an apprentice, Dan will be with me for between 17months and 3 years, and has been reminded often that things are too soft these days with modern apprenticeships. Why indeed should I pay to train and teach a young man a trade? Surely only 3 years is just scraping the surface? Indeed, the young man - nay - child should have been indentured to me at the age of 11 or 12 ! The best one I heard was from Jonty Williams, a man taught and practiced in the husbandry of the land, who showed us a contract for an agricultural labourer apprenticed at the age of 12, for 14 whole years.
The great thing is that Dan knows he has fallen on his feet finding me, and I know that Dan is the dream apprentice, because 16 years old teenagers with his attitude and awareness and a thirst for knowledge do not come my way that often.
So; welcome, Dan, and here is to a long and profitable relationship for us both.
Apart from getting the workshop sorted, we now have a dog. Milo was on the waiting list to go into a rescue home, and is a Staffordshire bull terrier. So for the last couple of months we have had a big change of routine, walking the dog. Milo loves my workshop, so many sticks, I am yet to convince him that I do not just make sticks for him. He could chew a couple of hundred pounds of stock very quickly. He likes Dan and does not mind loud machinery; I am not sure that Dan likes him as much since Milo barked right next to Dan's ear, deafening him.
Recently - shows have been attended and sold at, and much other work produced, so the reason for no posts has been I have been very busy with workshop tidying, work, shows and the dog.