Vocations and Learning

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 367–383 | Cite as

Learning Through Apprenticeship: Belonging to a Workplace, Becoming and Being

  • Selena Chan
Original Paper


The transition from school to work, in the form of a trade-based apprenticeship, is one with a long history. Recent socio-historical changes include increased use of technology, the changing nature of work and shifting patters in the employment market are influencing both the apprenticeship journey and its destination. In this article, the contemporary apprenticeship experience is described and explored using the metaphoric phases consisting of belonging to a workplace, becoming a baker and eventually being a baker. These phases are derived from a longitudinal case study of 13 baking apprentices as they entered bakery work mainly by happenstance and began to belong to the workplace; became bakers through various processes of skill acquisition, knowledge consolidation, dispositional transformation and occupational identity formation; and continued to be bakers, with many attaining a strong sense of vocation and identification with bakers’ occupation. An updated understanding of apprenticeship may inform the development of entry pathways into apprenticeship; improve workplace learning opportunities; and widen the means for recognition and certification of skill/knowledge attainment and dispositional transformation.


Apprenticeship Learning as becoming Occupational identity formation Baking 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Educational DevelopmentChristchurch Polytechnic Institute of TechnologyChristchurchNew Zealand

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