Apprenticeships play an integral role in the industry by helping to educate tomorrow’s farriers while increasing the mentor’s earnings and managing the workload.
Before the mentor and farrier school graduate enter into a working relationship, it’s important to understand the definition of the word “apprentice.”
Many farriers just want an employee, “another tool in their box,” so to speak — someone to clinch and finish or to trim 30 or 40 broodmares. They might not spend all day with the employee or work with them after-hours in the shop. If you want an employee, that’s easy. There are a lot of students who just need to make money and are happy where they are. However, hiring an employee is different than taking on an apprentice.
Webster’s Dictionary defines an apprentice as “one who is learning by practical experience under skilled workers in a trade, art or calling.”
By this definition, an apprenticeship is a mutually beneficial relationship — a supervised educational time for the student with accountability from both parties.
The mentor has a responsibility to guide and teach, preferably with an end goal in mind — such as American Farrier’s Association certification — and the apprentice has the responsibility to complete duties in a timely manner and continue to progress.