|A Wheelwright's Apprenticeship|
In the days when training to become a craftsman was controlled by Apprenticeship, youths were required to work for long hours, with very little pay, but in return they acquired the skills of their Mastercraftsman. "An Amateur perfects his skills until he gets it right, a Professional perfects his, until he can't get it wrong."
Wheelwrights traditionally used such methods, often withholding until the end, vital information such as their methods for marking out the timber to make an axletree. From the age of fourteen, a boy would be expected to harden his muscles, sharpen his powers of detailed observation, and develop the co-ordination necessary, to use and sharpen all the hand-tools which he was eventually expected to purchase and own. No wonder skilled workers were unwilling for their tools to be borrowed. Only gradually, would he be given responsibility. The work was repetitious, but gave a thorough grounding.
His final test, as he finished his apprenticeship some five years later, and qualified to become a journeyman, was traditionally, to make a wheelbarrow, a test that would employ all his skills.
Within the Guild we have an "Apprenticeship membership" which is open to anyone who wishes to take up the modelling of horse drawn vehicles.
The system is simple: we have wheelbarrow plans which may be obtained free of charge (see the "Make a Wheelbarrow" panel on the right). The apprentice makes the model which is submitted either at one of our exhibitions or to our committee.
Assuming that the quality of the work is up to standard, the modeller will be given an Apprenticeship Certificate and an opportunity to become a full member of the Guild. There is no age limit involved.