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Skilled Occupations (Apprenticeship)

Volume 387: debated on Tuesday 23 March 1943

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asked the Minister of Labour the periods of apprenticeship in the principal industries governed by trade agreements, together with particulars of the age at which the apprentice normally enters into full journeyman status?

The usual age for the commencement of an apprenticeship is 16 years, the normal period of apprenticeship being five years, ending at the apprentice's 21st birthday. There are, however, so many variations that it is not possible to generalise. In some cases boys of 14 or 15 years are accepted as apprentices and serve a six or five-year apprenticeship, while other employers in the same industries regard the boys as probationers up to the age of 16 and as commencing the apprenticeship at that age. In some trades, again, the period is reduced in the case of boys who have undergone a course of pre-apprenticeship technical training, the period so spent being recognised as part of the apprenticeship. It is unusual in England and Wales for the apprenticeship to extend beyond the youth's 21st birthday, but in Scotland an apprenticeship may begin later, up to 18 years of age, and terminate at as late as 23 years. Reference may be made to the "Report of an inquiry into apprenticeship and training for the skilled occupations in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 1925–26" in seven volumes, published by H.M. Stationery Office.