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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Apprenticeship at work: the case of cooking apprenticeship at Earl’s Restaurants Schittecatte, Olivier


Apprenticeship is an old and venerable method of teaching skills and knowledge stretching back to antiquity. Most of the traditional aspects of this teaching and learning method, the practice of apprenticeship, takes place in the workplace where few educational researchers venture. In addition, because apprenticeship bridges issues related to education, training, labour market, social policy, and anthropology, research reports cover a broad spectrum but do not offer a synthetic view of apprenticeship. This research, focuses on a single trade, in a single company, in order to document the practice of formal apprenticeship. To set the stage, a preliminary classification of the disparate literature on apprenticeship as well as a brief history of apprenticeship in Canada and in British Columbia is offered. The registered cook apprenticeship in British Columbia studied shows that four major themes undergird the 'program': context, progression, knowledge, and vocational training. Context directly affects what can and is practiced on the job, hence affects the outcomes of the apprenticeship. In addition, it can be assumed that micro contextual differences play a role as important as macro contextual differences in apprenticeship. Progression represents the journey from neophyte to master and impacts apprenticeship as it charts one's career progression; a clear view of progression also seems to affect apprenticeship outcomes. Knowledge and vocational education seem to be linked and represent, for the apprentices and the masters, external yardsticks of achievement which are used to confirm stages of the journey. The research shows that present day apprenticeships have retained much of their rich tradition. Historical elements can be recognized in the models which summarize writings about apprenticeship presented in this paper. The models help contrast the practice with the intent of apprenticeship; and allow for the creation of a composite model which best fits fit a real-life case. Suggestions about the current practice of apprenticeship can be made from the models. But future research will have to further clarify some of the issues raised here, as well as chart a coherent course for the study of apprenticeship.

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