Published On: February 6, 2023|664 words|3.3 min read|
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Today is the start of National Apprenticeship Week (or NAW), so to celebrate we are sharing some of the most famous apprentices.

Apprentices have been around for centuries, and we have seen plenty of famous apprentices over time. We’ve listed some of our favourite familiar faces who started as an apprentice.

Leonardo de Vinci – Apprentice Painter

One of the most famous artists of all time, Leonardo de Vinci started his career as an apprentice painter. He went on to create some of the most iconic and world-famous pieces of art in history, including the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa is often considered the most famous painting in the world!

Stella McCartney – Apprentice Tailor

Apart from being the daughter of Beatles legend, Sir Paul McCartney, Stella McCartney is dubbed “Fashion Royalty” these days. Her career began with an apprenticeship with a tailor on Saville Row. She is now considered one of the most successful fashionistas in the world and even has her own range of activewear with the global sports brand Adidas.

Billy Connolly – Welding Apprentice

After leaving school at 15 to start a shipyard welding apprenticeship, Billy went on to become a much-loved comedian and actor with roles in the Lord of the Rings spinoff, The Hobbit and Disney’s Brave.

Karren Brady – Advertising Apprentice

Best known for her role on the BBC’s show ‘The Apprentice’ alongside Sir Alan Sugar, Karren Brady has had a pretty impressive career after starting as an advertising apprentice at Saatchi & Saatchi. After just one year with the business, Karren was promoted to Advertising Accounts Executive and later offered a job with a Sports Newspaper and became Director at the mere age of 20.

Karren now has a net worth of over £85 million – yikes!

Sir Ian McKellan – Apprentice Actor

Instead of going to drama school, Sir Ian McKellan spent 3 years as an apprentice actor at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. After learning the ropes and mastering his skills, Sir Ian later went on to star in award-winning films like The Lord of The Rings, and The Hobbit, and played resident villain Magneto in X-Men.

Karen Millen – Fashion Apprentice

Karen Millen’s career started off selling white t-shirts. She and her business partner purchased 1000 metres of white cotton and sold the t-shirts to their friends. All whilst she was taking out an apprenticeship in fashion at the Medway College of Design in Kent. Her company now has stores across the world!

Jamie Oliver – Catering Apprentice

The much-loved UK Chef, Jamie Oliver started as a catering apprentice and worked his way up the career ladder. Fast forward to today and Jamie has an impressive chain of restaurants. He was even introduced to the culinary hall of fame. In 2003, he was awarded an MBE for his services to the UK hospitality industry.

Clare Smyth – Apprentice Chef

The first female British chef to hold and retain three Michelin stars, Clare Smyth became an Apprentice at age 16 in Grayshott Hall, Surrey. In 2002, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey offered Clare a position at his restaurant. By 2007, she was head chef, and this was when she became the first female chef in the UK to run a restaurant with three Michelin stars.

Alexander McQueen – Apprentice Tailor

The legendary fashion designer started out his career as an apprentice tailor! He went on to become a household name and won ‘British Designer of The Year’ on multiple occasions.

In 2011, the Alexander McQueen fashion house designed the wedding dress worn by The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

George Clarke – Apprentice Architect

Restoration Man George Clarke, best known for presenting Amazing Spaces and Shed of the Year, started his career as an architect with an apprenticeship at 16 years old. His apprenticeship gave him a great kickstart to his architecture education and career.

These famous faces are proof that no matter what industry you are interested in, an apprenticeship can help you build the career of your dreams.

Apprenticeships provide many opportunities to learn, develop, grow, and even earn money too!

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