Apprenticeships have been around for hundreds of years and have been responsible for starting off the careers of some of the most famous faces in history. Although apprenticeships have changed dramatically over the last few years with the introduction of Apprenticeship Standards and the Apprenticeship Levy, here are ten famous apprentices throughout time:
Leonardo de Vinci – Apprentice Painter
One of the most famous artists that has ever lived. Leonardo de Vinci started out as an apprentice painter! He went on to paint many world-famous pieces, including the Mona Lisa, which is often cited as the most famous painting in the world.
Benjamin Franklin – Printing Apprentice
One of the ‘Founding Fathers’ of the United States and often referred to as the ‘First American’. At the age of twelve he became a printing apprentice to his older brother, James.
Vincent Van Gough – Apprentice Art Dealer
Worked as an apprentice art dealer with a group called Goupil and Cie. Van Gough worked for the company for a few years before being fired in 1876.
Elvis Presley – Apprentice Electrician
The world-famous singer actually trained as an apprentice electrician prior to signing his record deal. He went on to become one of the most well-known faces of the twentieth century.
Billy Connolly – Welding Apprentice
Prior to becoming the much-loved comedian and actor, Billy Connolly left school at fifteen to take up a welding apprenticeship in a shipyard.
Alexander McQueen – Apprentice Tailor
The legendary fashion designer started out his career as an apprentice tailor! He went on to become a household name and won ‘British Designer of The Year’ on multiple occasions.
Andy Palmer – Technical Apprentice
Andy may not be as much as a household name as the others on this list, but his journey to the top of premium car company Ashton Martin is an embodiment of what apprenticeships are all about. He completed a technical apprenticeship at the company straight from school and has been the CEO of Aston Martin since 2014.
Sir Ian McKellan – Apprentice Actor
Instead of going to drama school, Sir Ian McKellan spent 3 years as an apprentice actor at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. Honing his skills, he would later star in award winning films like The Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit and X Men.
Jamie Oliver – Catering Apprentice
Jamie Oliver Started out as a catering apprentice and worked his way up to opening his own chain of restaurants and being introduced into the culinary hall of fame. In 2003 he was awarded an MBE for his services to the UK hospitality industry.
John Frieda – Apprentice Hairdresser
Began his hairdressing career as a hairdressing apprentice before opening his own salon and becoming a household name. He is now one of the most successful hairdressers in history, with his salon products widely available across the globe.
These are just a few examples of how through hard work, you can make it to the top of your chosen field.
What are Apprenticeships like in 2019?
In 2019, there are approximately 250 apprenticeship standards in a variety of industries. These training development programmes range from level 2 all the way up to level 7 (equivalent to a master’s degree), and people of any age can now take them.