Apprenticeships in Britain date back to the medieval period. In place of a formal education in a school, a medieval child received training in the workplace in a specialist craft or trade. Boys and girls from as young as ten lived with their employer for at least seven years and were also taught lessons in life, morals and literacy. This prepared them to become an upstanding member of society. In return the employer collected a fee for their teaching from the child’s family, or sometimes charities.
Industrialisation led to a general decline in apprenticeships after the early 19th century but they were still used as a form of education outside the traditional academic subjects. By the 20th century, apprentices were often taught their trade in schools and colleges. More recently there has been a resurgence in the popularity of apprenticeships.