In Germany, as well as in some other European countries, apprentices are required to prove their skills by submitting a hand-crafted piece of their work
To compare the creativity in craftsmanship the competition „Die Gute Form“ („The Good Form”) has been conceived and is open to young craftsmen and women in Germany up to the age of 27. They need only to submit the practical work at the end of their apprenticeship to a central address where it is subject to critical appraisal in accordance with a set of evaluation criteria.
Among others, these criteria are „creativity in design“ and „material execution“, i.e. creativity and skill.
A first round determines preselected candidates followed by the final round, in which the best of the best are selected. We show the 2017 award-winning entries.
Here are a few step-stones along the stony path to becoming a full-fledged stonemason in Germany.
The key is the „dual vocational training“: would-be apprentices must enter into a contract with a master stonemason or accredited enterprise acting as a mentor. This is where the apprentice will train on the job. The apprentice is remunerated for his work and has fixed working hours as well as vacation time, etc.
However, apprentices are not regular members of the paid staff since their first and foremost obligation is to learning, which is done in classes at the vocational school during working hours. This is where the apprentice learns the theory.
Basic knowledge such as politics, sociology, languages, and mathematics are conveyed to the aspiring craftsperson.
Note that the center of the „dual system“, which is still in place in a few European countries, is practice in house and theory at school.
A complex set of checks and balances ensures that the apprentice actually learns all that is needed to practice the craft and find work when the learning is complete.
The examination is also completed in „dual“ phases: an examination takes place at the vocational school and the apprentice must complete a piece of work proving his worktime. After completion of the usually three-year apprenticeship, the aspiring craftsperson may call himself a journeyman.
The practical pieces may be submitted for appraisal at the „Die Gute Form“-competition on a national level.
(23.01.2018, USA: 01.23.2018)