Apprenticeships in England may be traced back to the Middle Ages’ medieval craft guilds, which developed from upper-class parents sending their children abroad to live with host families.
As a result, even though the number of apprentices throughout the Tudor period was relatively small, apprenticeships were generally regarded as acceptable teaching.
Because the system had not been updated, the following remained true:
“indentures were drawn up, binding servant to master and vice versa; in which the master personally taught the apprentice; took responsibility for the latter’s moral welfare; and gave him board and lodgings” (Charles More, Skills and the English Working Class, Croom Helm, 1980, p41)
In 1563, the Statute of Artificers created the first national apprenticeship training system, which included criteria comparable to today’s minimum apprenticeship standards, such as masters having no more than three apprentices and apprenticeships lasting seven years. However, when the popularity of apprenticeships waned in the early nineteenth century, due in part to industrial conditions and the perceived abuse of young apprentices, the Act was abolished 251 years later.