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  • Apprenticeship

    A recent post by Gordo got me thinking a bit. For somebody like me who churned through the apprentice system for three years so that I can call myself a typesetter the idea that you can pick up the trade “on the fly” so to speak is strange at best.

    Typesetter, the way we or I understand it is officially extinct and no longer listed as a Trade, but the son of typesetter, the Media designer is a recognised trade that requires a three year apprenticeship.

    What both have in common is that you can carry on studying after a period of five years to become a “Master” (Meister in German) tradesman, at that point you can start your own business recognised by the chamber of trade with all the bells and whistles.




    Companies that comply with the chamber of trade carry a mark, they are seen as having a certain standard and are at the top of the food chain.

    How would such a person who has gone through the system fare in the “hire ´n fire” US where trade craft is “only” taught in the company and “only” as much as is needed to push the correct button?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Slammer View Post
    A recent post by Gordo got me thinking a bit. For somebody like me who churned through the apprentice system for three years so that I can call myself a typesetter the idea that you can pick up the trade “on the fly” so to speak is strange at best.

    Typesetter, the way we or I understand it is officially extinct and no longer listed as a Trade, but the son of typesetter, the Media designer is a recognised trade that requires a three year apprenticeship.

    What both have in common is that you can carry on studying after a period of five years to become a “Master” (Meister in German) tradesman, at that point you can start your own business recognised by the chamber of trade with all the bells and whistles.

    Companies that comply with the chamber of trade carry a mark, they are seen as having a certain standard and are at the top of the food chain.

    How would such a person who has gone through the system fare in the “hire ´n fire” US where trade craft is “only” taught in the company and “only” as much as is needed to push the correct button?
    So the apprenticeship of 3-5 years is to prepare you to get a certification?

    Well, you could skip the bother and just buy a degree. One example: http://www.buyuniversitydegrees.com/...h-transcripts/

    I don't know when you took your training to be a typesetter, but the death of typesetting began in 1984. Two things were happening in the years prior to 1984 - one was the rise in digital typesetting and the other was the rise in personal computers. Imagine those put together and you've got the makings of the death of that trade. I hope your trainers made you aware of it.

    In NA, as in many countries, printshop certification is not required - but if you want certification you get it from the industry (e.g. idealliance) rather than a government bureaucrat.

    The main difficulty with apprenticeship programs is that they are a system of training a new generation of practitioners with on-the-job training. Unfortunately, in my experience, when it comes to the print trade, most practitioners under whom one would apprentice, haven't got a clue about the process beyond knowing to push a red or a green button.

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    • #3
      I served a 4 year year union sponsored apprenticeship from 1981-1985 as a photoengraver preparing gravure cylinders for press. That union journeyman card and about $2.00 will buy you plain coffee from Starbucks these days.
      Joe
      OS: Mac OS X 10.10.2 - RIP: Prinergy Connect 6.1 - CTP: Luscher XPose! 160 (2)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by gordo View Post

        So the apprenticeship of 3-5 years is to prepare you to get a certification?

        Well, you could skip the bother and just buy a degree. One example: http://www.buyuniversitydegrees.com/...h-transcripts/

        I don't know when you took your training to be a typesetter, but the death of typesetting began in 1984. Two things were happening in the years prior to 1984 - one was the rise in digital typesetting and the other was the rise in personal computers. Imagine those put together and you've got the makings of the death of that trade. I hope your trainers made you aware of it.

        In NA, as in many countries, printshop certification is not required - but if you want certification you get it from the industry (e.g. idealliance) rather than a government bureaucrat.

        The main difficulty with apprenticeship programs is that they are a system of training a new generation of practitioners with on-the-job training. Unfortunately, in my experience, when it comes to the print trade, most practitioners under whom one would apprentice, haven't got a clue about the process beyond knowing to push a red or a green button.
        Ahem! I took my exams in 1984 after three years apprentice. I only got the reduction to three years because I had done another apprenticeship as a chef, it´s a long story... altogether! And no, the buggers didn´t tell me anything, I don´t blame them as they were old school typesetters who drank a litre of milk a day (it´s a lead thing you would not understand) and who simply did not see the writing on the wall. In fact the printshop were I did my apprenticeship went bust six months before the exams and the Handwerkskammer went into meltdown as there was no company that could offer me a place to do the practical side of the exams, except one company that had recently bought a DTP system. Thing was they did not have the knowledge to use it, however I had had some experience working with the system so I got to do my exams on a mac as one of if not the first person to do so. That threw the Handelskammer into a china syndrome kind of meltdown as they simply did not know what to do, it was totally outside of their envelope, at first they did not accept my work and it took me six months and another exam in front of the board to prove that DTP is not just pushing a button. Now as to your practitioners; you can´t have apprentices if you do not have a masters degree, that alone guarantees that your (for want of a better word) Master has a clue that transcends a button pusher as they need also a industry certificate among so much more to actually be allowed to take the exam to become a master.
        Damn, writing this down lets me see how medieval the system is, on the other hand it has worked to produce a certain level of expertise for over half a millennia, that must account for something?

        By the way I heap contempt and scorn on people who buy a degree, I´m a typesetter, if I want a degree, I´ll make my own.
        Last edited by Slammer; 02-12-2018, 01:39 PM.

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        • #5
          Thanks, you have validated my point. :-D

          RE: "Damn, writing this down lets me see how medieval the system is, on the other hand it has worked to produce a certain level of expertise for over half a millennia, that must account for something?"

          In a world where information is not readily available, and technology (as well as one's job) remained fairly static during one's life time, an apprentice training system might have made sense. But today, I think it's not just outmoded but a wrong-headed and dangerous methodology.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by gordo View Post
            Thanks, you have validated my point. :-D

            RE: "Damn, writing this down lets me see how medieval the system is, on the other hand it has worked to produce a certain level of expertise for over half a millennia, that must account for something?"

            In a world where information is not readily available, and technology (as well as one's job) remained fairly static during one's life time, an apprentice training system might have made sense. But today, I think it's not just outmoded but a wrong-headed and dangerous methodology.
            Would you rather have a certified tradesman with years of experience wiring your home or somebody who has just been shown how to work a screwdriver without ramming it through his hand?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Slammer View Post

              Would you rather have a certified tradesman with years of experience wiring your home or somebody who has just been shown how to work a screwdriver without ramming it through his hand?
              "Wiring your home" is an ages old technology (considering the speed of developments today), and do not change that fast. Apart the 'smart home' idea, the hardware in your house will be pretty much constant, so a certified Fachmann's knowledge is valuable, indeed.

              Slammer, I've seen so many things in the last 25 years, which might afforce or ruin your ideas... The German schooling system is traditional and very strong. At least you have those rooms at the Media Universities filled with iMacs, and people have to take exams about the usage of Illustrator, InDesign etc. before they get a degree. Compare that with many other places (countries) where they teach a lot of aesthetics starting from Dürer, but they won't touch a Mac in five years of Uni!

              Which is better? If you don't have a certification but you're agile and learn the craft through real world experience, or five years without any connection to the heavy lifting of true work? After seeing both types, I concur that only ambition and the eagerness to know more which differentiate. I see guys in their twenties commiserate about their 'certified knowledge' nowhere needed. And I just met a 60+ lady who got her design degree in the early 80s and she is starting to learn 3D modeling now, because she realized that's what she needs to go forward. And I see real craftmanship all around, executed brilliantly by people who never got any formal teaching. They like what they do, they're passionate about it and they're still want to know more. IMHO these are the qualities which make a good craftman, not a diploma.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Puch View Post

                "Wiring your home" is an ages old technology (considering the speed of developments today), and do not change that fast. Apart the 'smart home' idea, the hardware in your house will be pretty much constant, so a certified Fachmann's knowledge is valuable, indeed.

                Slammer, I've seen so many things in the last 25 years, which might afforce or ruin your ideas... The German schooling system is traditional and very strong. At least you have those rooms at the Media Universities filled with iMacs, and people have to take exams about the usage of Illustrator, InDesign etc. before they get a degree. Compare that with many other places (countries) where they teach a lot of aesthetics starting from Dürer, but they won't touch a Mac in five years of Uni!

                Which is better? If you don't have a certification but you're agile and learn the craft through real world experience, or five years without any connection to the heavy lifting of true work? After seeing both types, I concur that only ambition and the eagerness to know more which differentiate. I see guys in their twenties commiserate about their 'certified knowledge' nowhere needed. And I just met a 60+ lady who got her design degree in the early 80s and she is starting to learn 3D modeling now, because she realized that's what she needs to go forward. And I see real craftmanship all around, executed brilliantly by people who never got any formal teaching. They like what they do, they're passionate about it and they're still want to know more. IMHO these are the qualities which make a good craftman, not a diploma.
                I couldn´t agree with you more, on the other hand I eat MCSE´s for breakfast but I could never land a job in that line of work without a diploma (and at least five years experience) just as I would never get a job as a so-called "Media designer" without some kind of accredited certification, I know that passion and love for the job will always guarantee exceptional results but without the papers to prove it anyone fresh out of uni with the ink barely dry on the shiny new diploma will be preferred over somebody who has done the job for centuries.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Slammer View Post

                  ...without the papers to prove it anyone fresh out of uni with the ink barely dry on the shiny new diploma will be preferred over somebody who has done the job for centuries.
                  Maybe that's the definitive difference between the so called 'core EU' and the rest of the world.

                  Actually, I think that's idealistic approach is absolutely OK, if the institutions can keep the pace with the real world. Sorry to say, that's not the case any more, at least not at fields where technology has significant role. Unis are lagging behind even small private companies. HR specialists know that, so the real barrier mostly the company policy in place.

                  I've seen examples when an ambitious candidate had the chance to prove himself to get the job. Of course that needed some effort and brashness, but landed the guy in a privileged position.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Puch View Post

                    Maybe that's the definitive difference between the so called 'core EU' and the rest of the world.

                    Actually, I think that's idealistic approach is absolutely OK, if the institutions can keep the pace with the real world. Sorry to say, that's not the case any more, at least not at fields where technology has significant role. Unis are lagging behind even small private companies. HR specialists know that, so the real barrier mostly the company policy in place.

                    I've seen examples when an ambitious candidate had the chance to prove himself to get the job. Of course that needed some effort and brashness, but landed the guy in a privileged position.
                    There is another aspect, a young person is expected to have at least an apprenticeship under his or her belt at a certain age. It´s the same mindset as a "rite of passage" thing, without one you will simply be regarded as unskilled labour.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Slammer View Post

                      Would you rather have a certified tradesman with years of experience wiring your home or somebody who has just been shown how to work a screwdriver without ramming it through his hand?
                      Big difference. Electricity can kill you. I doubt anyone died from running a PDF through some preflight software.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by gordo View Post

                        Big difference. Electricity can kill you. I doubt anyone died from running a PDF through some preflight software.
                        I know some people who wish they had. I get your point but the example was just to show that apprenticeships come in all shapes and sizes. For instance, my son is in his second year as apprentice with a company that installs and repairs air conditioning units, by the time he has finished, in another one and a half years he will be an electrician and able to diversify. my daughter went another way and is now accredited to care for children in a special needs Kindergarten. What they have in common though is a certain level of accomplishment which guarantees a baseline for future employers. It doesn´t matter if they are electricians or printers. It´s also a gateway for further studies, if for instance you take your apprenticeship in Waste management then further studies will get you a bachelor of engineering, an apprenticeship in farming will enable you to study for a bachelor of science.

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