Apprenticeships are so familiar to people in professional trades like Toronto’s residential painters, drywallers, and glaziers, that they sometimes forget they are engaging in a system that spans millennia. The act of transferring skills from one person to another, or a group to another group, has been going on since humankind started. Thanks to this time-honoured tradition, we have the opportunity to benefit in ways we probably don’t think about on a day-to-day basis.
One of the saddest feelings is when a master is no longer with us, and has taken his or her secrets. Masters who take on apprentices allow their expertise to have renewed life. One skill can last for many lifetimes as it’s passed down and honed from master to apprentice, time and again.
It’s not unusual for some masters and apprenticeships to forge friendships that go beyond training and work. Over time, their families spend moments together, making memories and enjoying each other’s company outside of a trade setting. This type of deeper relationship happens through apprenticing because it’s such a personal experience. Unlike traditional classroom learning, the apprentice learns alongside the master in a one-to-one capability.
Imagine trying to learn a new skill in Toronto like residential painting or asbestos removal alone. Not only would it be difficult, but you would risk making significant errors as a tradesperson. Apprentices have buffer zones because their masters help them through challenges and rough patches. Instead of feeling like they’re fighting a battle alone, they know that they’re being buoyed by masterful leaders. Not only do the apprentices and masters get the advantage, their clientele do too, thanks to exceptional outcomes.
We’ve all seen how important it is to work as a team, whether that “team” is your family, your group of friends, or your fellow sisters and brothers in the trades. Apprenticeship is demanding, but it promotes teamwork. It’s easy to see who has been apprenticed and who hasn’t by the way they work with others. Those who haven’t had the privilege of learning in an apprenticeship capacity may tend to be “loners” or try to do everything alone. Apprentices know that help is always close by, thanks to trusted colleagues.
The next time you think about the path that led to you joining a skilled trade and becoming an apprentice, remember that you’re doing something that’s historically important for future generations. Who knows? You might even get to mentor others as well, bringing the experience full circle.
The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades has been supporting tradesperson and their apprentices reach new heights since it’s founding. Contact Us to learn more about residential painting in Toronto, apprenticeships and how you can get involved.