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Tudor Apprenticeship

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Tudor children continued their education as an apprentice. Apprentices were unpaid workers who helped out in workshops in return for training from a master craftsmen in order to learn a trade. An boy might commence an apprenticeship at only 8 years old, but most began aged from 10 to 14, having completing a few years schooling.

The master drew up a contract, called an Indenture, stating exactly all the things he would be required to learn and to do, making sure the apprentice knew exactly what was expected of him. Appart from going to work every day and observing the craftsmen at work, the Indentures made the apprentice promise to live a strict life. He would not be allowed to marry, gamble or get drunk. Although they received no pay during their training, apprentices often lived in their master's house where they would be fed and clothed.

After completing 7 years of training, the apprentice was promoted to Journeyman and be paid a small sum of money per day. A Journeyman could also look for work elsewhere in order to gain experience.

If he set up on his own he needed to join a local guild and pay a membership fee. After one more year of work experience the journeyman could become a qualified tradesman. Now he could start up his own business. Guilds made sure all members had a fair chance of selling their wares, that goods were of a good quality, limited the number of shops in a town, helped the ill and out of work, and put on plays to entertain the townsfolk. Each group of traders or craftsmen were members of guilds - like modern trade unions - guild halls still survive today.



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