Craft Apprenticeship in a Changing Society

Joseph Moon
1978, Vol. 11, No. 1,


The Craftsman in History

1. Apprenticeship is again under the microscope and some of the key assumptions on which the craft system is based are being challenged. Increasingly the permanence that once unoerlined the occupational structures of society has itself given way to accelerating industrial change. The craft~men of the past were proud men within a proud, tightly knit, brotherhood. The source of that pride was their skill, built up through a tradition of what we might call 'action learning', in and through the work itself. The traditional craftsman was autonomous with a strong identification with, and evenownership of, the product he created. As Parkin (1978) reminds us the design, the method of manufacture, the diagnosis and manufacturing solutions were almost entirely in his hands. He was a master of the whole job and had the skill and adaptive capacity to tackle any part of it. Consequently he was highly motivated, independent and resentful of interference from anyone outside the craft.

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