Let’s start by defining apprenticeship, shall we?
My mindset starts from my experience in martial arts. I trained specifically in Shotokan karate and some training in Kung Fu, weapons, and other Japanese/Okinawan styles. In those traditions, the person who wanted to train with a teacher began by asking permission to enter. That permission was normally not given immediately. Rather, the prospective student would sit outside the school (“dojo”) to demonstrate their commitment. It might be days or weeks or months. Finally, the student was granted entrance. Before the student could begin to learn the art they were expected to contribute to the school: cleaning, repairing, and maybe running errands. In this way, the student earned the opportunity to learn from the instructor/master.
In the beginning the student is a novice. A novice has little or no knowledge or skill.
From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
Among the ancient Romans, a novice (novicius) was usually a newly enslaved person, who had to be trained in his or her duties. Among Catholics and Buddhists, if you desire to become a priest, monk, or nun, you must serve as a novice for a period of time, often a year (called your novitiate), before being ordained or fully professing your vows. No matter what kind of novice you are—at computers, at writing, at politics, etc.—you’ve got a lot to learn.
“Novice” and “Apprentice” are frequently synonymous. The difference, in my mind, is that an apprentice aspires – ultimately – to mastery. The term “novice” refers to a lack of skill, knowledge, or experience, without any specific relationship to the master or to aspirations.
When I talk about apprenticeship, there is no fee involved. It is a relationship between me – the teacher/master/mentor – and my student/novice/apprentice. When I serve in that role I have an obligation to teach and share. You – the apprentice – have an obligation to “pay” through your participation in the life of the studio, contribute to my work (sessions, workshops, etc.), and so on.
We must both benefit and feel a connection for this to work. This is not a I’m-hiring-an-assistant kinda thing. This is a I’m-building-a-relationship-and-sharing-my-expertise kinda thing. When we’re done (probably a year), we will both feel that we have benefited from this.