At one time in human history, apprenticeships were quite common. They were used in a wide variety of professional fields, arts, and sciences. While the proliferation of colleges and universities has grown, apprenticeships have fallen somewhat by the wayside in favor of formal education, but some industries still offer limited apprenticeships to those who show promise in their fields but lack the interest or inclination to participate in formal education.
What is an Apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a combination of job and education. At one time it may have been referred to as on-the-job training.
An apprenticeship is a job. You get paid for your position as an apprentice, though certainly not what you would earn if you were already “qualified” or stand to earn once you’ve moved on to journeyman level or master level in your craft.
The benefit is that you are trained in real world practices to someone who has already honed his or her skills and is considered to be an expert in the field. It is a more personal educational experience than learning in a classroom where there are dozens (or more) of other students vying for the time and attention of a professor. It is also a more hands-on experience than you’ll ever be able to manage in a classroom.
The other benefit to consider when it comes to an apprenticeship is that your instructor is likely to have more practical knowledge than many instructors who aren’t hands-on in the industry every day. You will certainly have access to the latest technology and a few tricks of the trade that aren’t discussed in formal educational environments.
Many apprentices benefit from the reputation and acclaim of their mentors once the apprenticeship ends. It can open doors for positions and even private practice in their chosen fields – even more, in some industries, than a degree.
Finding Photography Apprenticeships
Finding a photography apprenticeship isn’t always easy. Even when you do, there is stiff competition for them. You need to have some degree of talent and an impressive portfolio in order to get noticed. What this means is that you must have an eye and some degree of training before you are even considered for most photography apprenticeships.
Perspective photographers in Europe often have better opportunities to find employment as an apprentice. London, in particular, seems to offer abundant opportunities for those interested in this time-honored educational tradition. Some information about apprenticeships and opportunities can be found in the following locations.
- Royal Air Force – Here photography apprentices learn the art of photography for a wide range of future uses, including recording photographic evidence which can be used in accident investigations, security, and engineering; creating training films, printing identification images; and more.
- Gov.UK – This site allows you to search for a wide range of apprenticeship positions at varying levels of the apprenticeship process.
- My Next Move – This is U.S. based site that allows you to search for apprenticeship programs by state.
It is also possible to find apprenticeships by conducting Internet searches for specific fields you’re interested in pursuing as a photographer, such as wedding photographer apprenticeships or catalog, fashion, news, etc. When you take an apprenticeship, it is best if you can work with someone in the field you wish to pursue as a career once the apprenticeship ends.
Photography apprenticeships offer an opportunity to get the best of both worlds. You get the education you need to excel in your art and the experience you need to hone your craft all while having the ear and guidance of a talented and experienced professional in the industry. It’s certainly an option to more formal educational opportunities for those who do not excel in traditional classroom environments.