Scott lays out a good argument for the apprenticeship system, something I’ve seen quite a few people across many fields making a case for.
“Apprenticeships were, for a long time, the dominant way of learning professional skills. A master agrees to show you how to perform a useful skill. In exchange, he got a bunch of free labor from you while you were learning.”
Scott goes on to give three reasons why it might be better than what we currently do in classroom education. He doesn’t come right out and say it, but I think as the cost of a college education continues to skyrocket, and the effects of student-loan debt continues to hinder those in their 20’s and 30’s, something like this could become an attractive option for many people.
Would it work everywhere? No. But I look at fields like IT, programming, even Litigation Support, and what I see are a lot of people who learned those skills simply by working with others who already had them, either during their school years, or on the job. I’m not entirely convinced the complete undergrad/graduate degree program played much of a role in where they are today.
Given the ever-growing demand for talent, maybe the best way to fill that gap would be an apprenticeship system?
On the other hand, I don’t know how this would work economically. We’d have to carve out exceptions for minimum wage and healthcare laws, possibly. We would have to acknowledge, in practice and in law, that an apprentice is not “worth” the same as an employee while they are learning the trade, and I’m not entirely sure what that looks like. Perhaps it would look something like a law firm, where new associate work is billed at a lower hourly rate than partner work, but again, how to make this work economically, and not still require a law school degree is an open question.
I do know, from my own experience as a trainer though, that the best “classroom” training is immersive, where the students are watching and doing, not just a lecture.. How do we get back to that for career development?