The Value of Apprenticeship

Lexi (winning the staring competition)

It is my great pleasure to announce that my brother-in-law and I completed our two year falconry apprenticeship yesterday! We couldn’t have done it without the guidance and support of our sponsor, Buster Brown, the patience and stoicism of our trusty Red-tailed Hawks, Lexi and Heath, and the words of advice from many others in the Georgia Falconry Association and the falconry community at-large.

Falconry is an ancient sport. It has remained largely unchanged over the centuries apart from the fact that many more people practice it now than in previous eras due to the expansion of leisure time and the relaxation of the class structure that once prevented commoners from participating in the sport. It is in my view the most delightful and fascinating forms of hunting available to us today.

My focus today is not on the sport itself, rather, I would like to enumerate a few of the many benefits of apprenticeship. The idea of apprenticeship is not a new idea, in fact it has been around for millennia. The Code of Hammurabi, a complete extant of Babylonian laws dating from the 18th century BCE, required artisans to teach their crafts to the next generation. The same practice continued much later in the European craft guilds, which governed the transition from apprentice to craftsman, journeyman, master and eventually grandmaster.

Falconry licensure marks three stages: apprentice, general and master. As you move through the levels your experience affords you new privileges and expanded rights. In the case of falconry, you gain access to more birds, more types of birds and to the privilege of sponsoring other apprentices. In an era where formality and structure appear to be on the wane, such a construct is refreshing as it is exigent.

I had the good fortune of completing two internships (a lesser form of apprenticeship) during my college career and I must say that those experiences went a long way to ground the theory that I learned in the classroom. When theory is grounded in practice, it becomes meaningful. Further, the opportunity to practice in a safe and contained environment – with the oversight of an expert – is invaluable.

I would love to hear your experience with either internships or apprenticeships as I imagine that there are both pluses and negatives to such an arrangement.

8 thoughts on “The Value of Apprenticeship

  1. I’m hardly the person to understand what falconry is and if it involves hunting, which I believe this does, I pass on a comment. However, in my search for an apprenticeship article I read last week but failed to bookmark, I came upon your topic of the value of apprenticeships and wanted to commend you on a good post.

    The author of this article felt that apprenticeships could actually be a solution to the high jobless rate in the US. While apprenticeships are common in construction in the US, in Europe, apprenticeships are common in other industries such as healthcare, sales and manufacturing. S(adly, I can’t provide the link to this article but the apprenticeship numbers were quite high in Europe…I believe Norway, for one.)

    I’ve been thinking about the obvious opportunities an apprenticeship could offer the jobless situation and what the position could afford someone who is down on their luck feeling lost having been unemployed for many months.

    I don’t understand why companies in the US do not promote apprenticeships on a mass level. Perhaps they think it is too much work to work with an apprentice.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you on the benefits your apprentice program This makes perfect sense all around for everyone involved.

    Janine Gregor
    Your Virtual Wizard


    1. Gregg Hake

      Thanks for your comment, Janine. I know from personal experience as an apprentice early in life and as a company owner now that apprenticeships offer many benefits, as you mention. One of the challenges at the moment is that most small businesses are running lean and mean out of necessity and there isn’t much room in the sense of time and other resources to accommodate apprentices. It’s hard to teach another how to do something when you are running at full speed, but maybe the benefits upsides outweigh the downsides…?


  2. Pingback: Falcons, Friesians and Fashion – How Sublime!

  3. Kelli Lorentzen

    Congratulations! I have had the privilege of moving through an apprenticeship process. The three aspects that stood out to me was 1) my own desire to pursue it, 2) I had to earn it to graduate from it, and 3) the value of being able to give back what others had invested in me. I’m sure the opportunity to one day sponsor falconry apprenticeships will be very rewarding for you! It sounds like an amazing sport!


  4. Kolya

    What an interesting topic! I’ve always thought it would be a great opportunity to work with a master painter, linguist, or writer and learn directly from their experiences and example. You really don’t see apprenticeship anymore, but I’d love to see it return as I think it could inspire people to become artisans as more time is spent on learning one-one-one and hands-on in a real-life setting.


  5. Coco

    Congratulations! Earning greater privilege through learning a skill is a perfect combination; encouragement and reward become intrinsic to the process.


  6. Colin

    I think internships/apprenticeships are great experience. Either you will learn a lot about the job and have a chance to be valuable, or you will learn the equally important lesson of “I will never do that to my subordinate if I’m the boss”. In many ways college business courses do not prepare you for day to day business tasks, and an internship is a way to see what you’re really getting yourself into. Also, one business can have a very different culture than another, so it’s a good opportunity to see the differences between places if you get a chance to do multiple internships. Congratulations on completing your falconry apprenticeship!


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