mindi has been with me for about two years, she gets basic medical
benefits and I match what she puts away in her RSP (Retirement
Savings Plan, Canada). She is over 19, so I am not sure about
She gets 40% of the margin on any thing she sells, plus she gets
another 20% of the margin if she made it.
Her first year with me, I paid her about $20k plus medical insurance.
Now she works on commission/margin basis.
A motivated person can do well, Mindi bought a boxster in December,
while I bought a Honda Element.
We do have a contract, but it is brief and to the point, and I pay
her more sometimes than the contract allow. I consider the contract
to be the minimum amount she gets paid, as well as defining her basic
I have run into people using the word “apprentice” to describe
everything from long term adult employees to learners who hang
around, sometimes only part time or for short intervals, to pick up
what they can for free. It is not a word that we all use to mean the
same thing these days.
Prior to 1830 the standard contract for an apprentice was that until
age 21, the master became a surrogate father of the boy and was
responsible for not only teaching him the “art and mystery” of the
craft, but also to give him moral and religious eduaction, keep him
out of trouble, pay his fines if he did get in trouble, feed him,
give him clothes and a bed. In return the master had the rights to
the boy’s labor, the same as he would have the right to his son’s
labor until age 21. The contact, and there was always supposed to be
one, might also give the boy a cash allowance, state how often
clothes were to be given and if there was to be payment. Sometimes
the boy’s family paid for the apprenticship, because it was a good
opportunity for the boy. Sometimes the master paid the boy’s family,
because the labor was in demand. It was all a matter of supply and
demand, who got paid and how much. It was always boys that were
apprentices. Girls often learned crafts and were also indentured
servants, but apprenticship before the early 19th century was only
something for boys aged 14 to 20.
Now days some trade unions have apprenticship programs, that are
very formal. Mostly in the US craft apprenticships are private
arrangements. I have no contract with my apprentice. She was 22 when
she began and is now getting good enough (and grown up) that I
should probably stop calling her an apprentice. She gets paid wages,
which were minimal until she showed some skill enough for raises. I
encourage her to work on her own projects, when she is done with my
work. I have paid her tuition to several workshops, as a benefit. I
also insist that she gets an annual eye exam, that I pay for and I
buy her eyeglasses. Like any other legal employee in the US, she
gets workmans compensation insurance, but I do not pay for her
health insurance. In New York State that costs about $2.50 an hour
for a full time employee. She would rather have the money in her
paycheck, so that is her choice.
I have had other employees before my current apprentice, but I never
called any of them apprentices. The others were older when they
started. They came to me because they needed a job, not because they
wanted to forge a career in the craft. I really like the apprentice
as student or protege relationship. I think it is sad that more
people do not train this way.
I used to live in Redwood City, Menlo Park and E. Palo Alto, when I
searched for my career in jewelry I decided to move to Sacramento
and attend the California Institute of Jewelry Training. The fact
that you have a young apprentice that is eager to join the industry
really struck a cord with me. Why work out a contract for an
apprentice, when you can send your young pupil here for the summer
and get a jeweler in return. I would like to offer you both a tour of
our campus, so you can see the skill of our students and to meet you
in person. Just a couple questions. How underage is your pupil? When
will they be available for training? We do offer student housing in a
safe environment. Feel free to write to my personal email address or
give me a call at 1-800-731-1122