We have now opened registration for the 2023 M&T Apprenticeship program. This eight-week mentorship brings together the benefits of online education (clear and replayable tutorials, reduced expense, and slower pace) with the benefits of in-person classes (mentorship from instructors, camaraderie of fellow classmates, and accountability to help you get to the finish line).
Mike and I thought long and hard and researched many other programs as we put this together. It’s well known now that the average completion rate for online classes hovers around a meager 10%. This disappointing result is probably due to multiple reasons (poor presentation of material, lack of student accountability, little skin in the game, etc.), and any online educator who cares about this is desperately trying to address these weaknesses. In that context, we’re delighted to say that the M&T Apprenticeship Program averages an 80% completion rate. Yes, that is unheard of, especially for a program that is so comprehensive and in which the expectations for involvement are so high. Don’t mistake: our apprenticeship is no walk in the park.
So, why is it so effective? Part of the reason is that instead of thinking about ways to plug the leaky ship that is online education, Mike and I came at it from a different perspective. We asked ourselves, “What are the assets that the online format brings to the table?” We didn’t merely want to make an online class that didn’t suck as bad – we wanted to provide the best education possible.
It’s easy to trumpet the benefits of in-person classes because we all have learned from face-to-face teaching. On top of that, craft instruction can be hard to convey remotely because the subtleties involve tacit knowledge – that which is not easily put into words. As true as that is, not many people are frank about the downsides of in-person classes. They are crazy expen$$$ive ($1,000 for five days of instruction + travel + lodging + food) – you’re investing thousands of dollars in a one-week experience. Second, you have to share the instructor with the other students, anyway, so it’s not the one-on-one experience many imagine it to be. Third and most importantly, the oppression of the clock tends to cloud comprehension; often, when learning a new skill, it’s helpful to walk away and try again in the morning. You cannot do this in week-long class – the clock keeps tick, tick, ticking.
So, after all our research and discussion, this is what Mike and I have come to believe: To learn well, we all need time to digest what we’re learning, we need to be able to learn in a real-life context (our home shop), we need clear instruction that we can revisit and rewatch as many times as necessary, we need to be able to ask questions of experienced instructors who will give us specific advice, and we need real camaraderie and accountability to get to the finish line. And not insignificantly, if this experience is going to be available to more than the wealthiest among us, it cannot break the bank.
Mike and I created the M&T Apprenticeship Program to fulfill that list of requirements. Due to schedule limitations, we are now offering this program only once per year. The 2023 term runs April 3- May 26. Registration is open now and operates on a first-come, first-served basis. So, act quick.
We encourage you to lay off the social media woodworking feeds for a while. Instead of wishing you had those skills, we invite you to cultivate them for yourself by rolling up your sleeves along with us.
Don’t keep pushing craft off to “someday” – now’s the time to sign up.
We look forward to seeing you there!
P.S. Our past graduates were invited to join us last fall at the M&T shop for a two-day party: the Apprenticeship Summit, we call it. You can check out the fun we had at the links below:
The Apprenticeship Summit Wraps Up
Podcast 47 – The Apprentices’ Summit