Sunday 12 September 2010

A new apprentice


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.


  1. Master I can’t not say thank you enough of this opportunity and knowledge you have given me so far and cannot wait to gain more knowledge and skill you have really opened my eyes to how great and fun working life can be.

    I also agree I should have been your apprentice at the age of 11 it would have been so much more interesting than school.

    My ear is fine and I do like Milo he is a great dog with an amazing personality.

    So thank you Sean for letting me be your apprentice and thank you for being such a good friend couldn’t find anyone better to pass on the knowledge.

    To a great and joyful future

  2. I think it is great that an apprenticeship is still available in this sort of trade. Too many old crafts are being lost.
    Well done, and good luck Dan.

  3. One of the absurdities of modern "education" is summed up in Dan's comment about apprenticing at age 11 "would have been more interesting than school." School, apparently, is to prepare one for a University education -- such as it is -- which is suitable only for a limited number of people. For the rest, there is a third of your life gone in boredom and irrelevancy. But there, I have been reading John Taylor Gatto's stuff (you can google him). It has certainly opened my eyes. Well done, Sean and Dan. It's a start at striking back at a cockeyed system.

  4. What a great start to my day! I'm really happy for you both and for the future of the craft. Bet Dan's parents had to pay a lot for the indenture ;-)!

  5. OOOOh I want one, just to have someone following me round calling me "master". Joking aside this is wonderful news and I know Sean will be a great mentor. Congratulations to you both I hope it is a wonderful experience all round. I would be interested to hear about the nitty gritty of how it works, how it's funded, how hassly the paperwork was etc but happy to wait until we meet up. I presume Dan is local? Most folk that ask to be my apprentice live in the US or at least 100 miles away and accommodation in Edale is not cheap.


Sorry, because of the huge amount of dubious people leaving spam comments for their useless stuff, I unfortunately have to bring back word verification.