Tuesday, 15 April 2008

The Apprentice

Taking on an apprentice is something I've thought about more than once but never managed to reach a satisfactory conclusion. At the moment I do it all myself but there is a limit to the amount I can do and the amount I can earn. Vanessa is my secret weapon - my sales force - she could sell ice to eskimos and is brilliant at it. She also does the accounts. So between us as a team we just about make a living.
How could we afford to employ another worker without increasing our overheads until the apprentice begins to earn their keep? I've got no intention of becoming a factory production line. I was once asked to make 4000 whistles and turned it down. I don't want to become a whistle maker and want to enjoy making the things I do make.
Would an apprentice be prepared to do all the donkey work while I did the finishing?
Could I guarantee them work? What happens in slack periods (ie. the Winter)? What is a fair wage for an apprentice? Perhaps someone at college could come for a couple of days a week and "work themselves into a job"?
Lots more questions than answers . . .

I like the idea of passing on knowledge but at the moment people pay me to do that. Also a part of me is thinking "do I want to train someone who may well go into competition with me?"

All in all a complex issue and I would be grateful for anyone else's insights


rika said...

You could simply take on an apprentice only over the summer for a few hours a week, teaching them in return for their doing the tedious bits for a proportionate amount of time. That would leave money out of the question until you find an apprentice who you could really work with well, at which point you two could work something out seriously.

I don't know about trade apprenticeships but I do have experience with library internships; don't pay any attention to my warbling if it sounds off. Robin's probably better for this sort of thing.

Have you thought of just giving workshops for a few people at a time? I hope it works out for you, whatever you decide.

Robin Fawcett said...

I DO only give workshops for a few people at a time and when I teach I do it on a one-to-one basis or maximum of two. I have been on too many courses where there were 8 or 10 or 12 students and I ended up doing some of the teaching.
But thanks for your thoughts on this - very constructive and objective - most helpful.
PS I have put a link from my blog to yours.
PPS I'm a Robin too

rika said...

Haha! Another Robin! That makes at least four of you that I refer to on a regular basis. Thanks for the link:)