Apprenticeships should bring back the medieval terminology of “master craftsman” to boost their status, the Social Market Foundation has said.
Using different titles for the varying types of apprenticeships would help to boost the prestige of the higher levels of qualifications, according to a new report by the think-tank.
“When apprenticeships were first introduced in England in the middle ages, apprentices trained to become a Journeyman under the supervision of a Master Craftsman,” the report said.
“Many European countries have successfully incorporated more gradation into the terminology of their apprenticeship structure to distinguish the most accomplished apprentices from entry-level apprentices.”
People who complete apprenticeships in Austria and Germany have an option to obtain a master craftsperson qualification. Meanwhile, in Luxembourg, some trades offer a master craftsperson certificate which enables self-employment in the craft industry.
The report’s authors say that similar terminology should be adopted to describe apprenticeships in Britain as it would act as a “signal” in the labor market to distinguish those who obtained a higher level of apprenticeship.
James Kirkup, director of the SMF, said: “We need to give more prestige to non-academic paths. The average person you meet on the bus would say ‘what’s a Level 7 apprenticeship?’ But this is quite impressive. These are challenging qualifications, they deserve more recognition and higher status.”
Adopting medieval terminology would help to boost the status of the higher level apprenticeships, he said. For example, an employee with a Level Seven 7 apprenticeship could be renamed as a “Master Craftsman”. Meanwhile, a Level 6 apprenticeship holder could be a “Senior Craftsman” and a Level 5 could be a “Craftsman”.