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Training in an art, trade, or craft under a legal agreement defining the relationship between master and learner and the duration and conditions of their relationship. Known from antiquity, apprenticeship became prominent in medieval Europe with the emergence of the craft guilds. The standard apprenticeship lasted seven years. During the Industrial Revolution a new kind of apprenticeship developed in which the employer was the factory owner and the apprentice, after a period of training, became a factory worker. The increasing need for semiskilled workers led to the development of vocational and technical schools in Europe and the U.S., especially after World War II. Some industries in the U.S., such as construction, continue to employ workers in an apprenticeship arrangement.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on apprenticeship, visit Britannica.com.