The idea of running Apprenticeships instead of Internships was discussed in a session given by Sparkbox who have recently run a couple of apprenticeships. These differ from standard internships in the idea that there is more value and training with an apprentice than on an unpaid intern. An apprentice is a person who is training under experienced professionals in order to learn and apply the skills they’ve initially learned either through schooling or on their own. Consider apprenticeships in a way, shortcuts to knowledge and wisdom. An apprenticeship should be a period of coaching, learning and growth for the apprentice all in the hopes of “raising” a developer who will add value to the entire team, not just the developers they’ll be working beside.

An apprenticeship should grow the techniques and skills the person has in order to create a person who is capable of functioning at the same level as the other team members. This may be one of the smartest ways to hire applicants for small web shops in the future. And it’s something that I as a developer would love to see as the norm for employment within our industry.

Recently we’ve gone through some interviews for new developers, and have run across the old issue of: you never really know whom you’re going to get after the hiring is done. The question of whether we could do a trial period came up, so somewhere in the back of our minds we knew that the standard hiring system just doesn’t work very well with people for our industry. It’s all related to the fact that what we do as developers and designers is in reality a craft, and we as a team need to see how our fellow craftspeople are going to handle their craft before knowing that they fit well within our workflow. Read more about the craft of web development here.