Apprentice was the lowest rank in the crafthalls. Apprentices left their homes to live in their crafthall, where they took classes and performed chores.
Apprenticeships typically began around age twelve, when a prospect left their home and came to a crafthall for education. While specifics of apprenticeship varied by crafthall, all apprentices were assigned to a Master craftsman, who oversaw their education in the craft. Journeymen who worked under a Master would also assist in teaching. In addition to being educated in their craft, apprentices often performed chores or other odd duties, such as message running, at the request and discretion of their master. Apprentices were typically grouped together for sleeping and eating. Apprentices who had approval could sell their creations at Gathers for pocket money, though apprentices would also occasionally sell unapproved items in secret. When Apprentices broke rules, they could be disciplined by both Masters and Journeymen. Putting an apprentice on water rations was one such punishment, though others existed depending on the situation.
After a specified time period, the apprentice would be promoted to journeyman, which allowed them to begin practicing their craft independently. The time as an apprentice varied by craft, but could be lengthened or shortened based on the apprentice's skill. An Apprentice could change crafts, but needed the permission of their current Master.
Apprenticeships by Craft
In the Fishercraft, apprentices start out as cabin boys or lure tiers. On fishing boats, apprentices will perform basic tasks such as tying lures, repairing nets, and polishing wood and metal surfaces. On smaller skiffs, apprentices are taught by journeymen on how to handle the equipment and use various types of nets. They are also taught to copy maps.
In the Glasscraft, apprentices are taught the basics of glassblowing and ceramics. Apprentice made glass has a distinct light green tint to it, which differentiates it from journeyman produced glass. This color resulted from impurities in the glass.
Healercraft apprentices learn on the job, and most are taught basic skills in the regional halls across Pern. Apprentices often take up midwifery, a much needed skill across Pern.
In the Harper Hall, apprentices begin with a general education in all aspects of the Harpercraft: voice, instrument making, composition and writing, and chorale singing. They must also demonstrate proficiency in playing a non-percussion instrument. Apprentices with a particular aptitude may be apprenticed to the Master of that specialty.
The Harper Hall also had a tradition known as "walking the tables", which marked the promotion to journeyman: they were escorted from the apprentice tables to the journeyman tables by other journeymen.
The Smithcraft was notable for having one of the longest apprenticeship periods of all Pern. Apprentices often spend time working bellows for metalcrafting, sorting ore, or other simple tasks such as extruding wire.
Apprentices in the Tannercraft are expected to cure hides in their homes. Sure-handeded apprentices are also expected regrind knives and tools. While the Tannercraft trains many Pernese in the basics of tanning, only formal apprentices learn certain techniques deemed craft secrets.
In the winecraft, apprentices primarily handle much of the preparation of the grapes. Apprentices are responsible for transporting the grapes to the hall and sorting them. Some apprentices will help press the grapes into juice, as a punitive duty. Another punitive duty is for apprentices to transport unsuitable grapes into bins.