Early tomorrow morning (8:00 a.m. Eastern) we will be opening registration for the summer term of our 8-week Apprenticeship Program. This thing has taken on a life of its own and (having just completed Term Three) we’re hearing feedback like we’ve never heard anywhere else: Many people are telling us that their lives have been changed by these eight weeks. Some say it’s the accountability of weekly assignments, others thrive on the inherent camaraderie in forum discussions, and others cite the unique focus on pre-industrial tolerances and techniques. Whatever it is that motivates them, several of our students are now leaving their lifelong careers to work wood with their hands.
This is tremendously humbling and gives us a greater urgency about teaching even more people how to use hand tools effectively. Lots of folks are burnt out on social media scrolling, and they want to roll up their sleeves and get serious about developing their own personal agency. I believe that’s what the DIY and YouTube culture is all about. People want help – they want guidance they can trust. There are a lot of great woodworking resources out there and we won’t disparage the others, but I can say that we have designed this program very carefully for maximal benefit and results. In-person classes are too short to soak in the information, they’re outside of your home-shop context, and $$$. At the other extreme, solo education by videos and books often results in unanswered questions, lack of motivation, and artisanal isolation.
People need clear tutorials. They need time to process the information and practice the techniques in their own shops. They need the camaraderie and mentorship of others on the same path. And they need regular deadlines that will hold their feet to the fire.
That is, in a nutshell, a description of the Mortise & Tenon Apprenticeship program. I will tell you, that it is not easy. When we launched Term One, we worried that we were asking too much of students and that we would have a high percentage of dropouts. But we were dead wrong. So far, an average of 80 percent of students have risen to the challenge. They pushed themselves during those eight weeks and came out transformed for having done it.
We are loving this program. And we love it even more knowing you will too.
Tomorrow morning is the time…We want you to join us.