Ian Carrol is a recent apprenticeship graduate of the 8th Light software consultancy. He has a diverse background from a degree in theater,  a certificate in massage and he studied Daos Chinese philosophy for 10 years where he was taught the meaning of life was to learn. This really stuck with Ian. To him, the meaning of apprenticeship is to learn and to learn you have to fail.

Apprentices of Our World

“The only failure you can have in an apprenticeship is to not try things…be proud of your mistakes” – Ian Cole

We are all apprentices of our world, even when the world is harsh. Learning is what we as human beings are optimized to do.

During the Industrial Revolution, people were regarded as specialized but static interchangeable parts. But humans are much more than that. We can grow and learn, unlike an inanimate machine part.

Apprenticeships Lower Barriers

In fields where skilled workers are needed, apprenticeships lower the barriers to entry. It’s more dependent upon whether you have the drive and the passion and the curiosity to learn. Anyone with those basics will succeed as an apprenticeship candidate.

“Apprenticeships are a mechanism to bridge the gap between traditional education and the real world of employment.” – Steve Middleton 

What You Might Not Know

If you are going into an apprenticeship, this is your opportunity to try stuff and fail. But it’s not a classroom. In a classroom being wrong is the worst thing. In an apprenticeship, it’s ok to fail. In fact, it’s encouraged.

Ian’s mentor allowed him to go down the wrong path and discover for himself that was he was doing was not working. It allowed Ian to discover the breakthrough and come up with a solution. You’ve got to dive in and be proud of your mistakes.

Think of an apprenticeship as a rehearsal for whatever field you are training for.

“In whatever you are doing, in whatever situation you are in, find the fun.” – Ian Carrol

Apprenticeship vs. Internship

Ian Carrol describes the difference as a mindset shift. An internship is still coming from that industrial paradigm. It doesn’t allow space where you can fail. Being wrong is still the worst thing you can do. In an apprenticeship, you are expected to fail with more room to try new stuff and to think beyond what is currently being done.

The mentorship is definitely different. In an internship, the mentor is trying to protect the company from you while you are doing work for them. This leads to a lot more structure and a lot more rules. There’s no room to grow or think outside the box of what has always been done and will continue to be done.

To hear the rest of what Ian Carrol has to say about apprenticeships in the United States and his parting bit of advice, download and listen to the episode!

To connect with Ian:

8th Light

Ian on Medium

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