An apprenticeship is a program that combines hands-on working with learning and training, all while in full-time employment. Learning while on the job helps an apprentice understand and master their trade, while getting paid.

The seven celebrities listed in this article all started as apprentices, and used the skills and expertise they developed to gain success, prominence and prestige.

1- Ringo Starr

Ringo started his working career as an apprentice machinist, earning transferable skills that would have played a hand in his enduring success in the music industry.

Ringo and the Beatles went on to be nominated for 24 Grammys (8 of which they won), win an Oscar and become the greatest selling band in history.

“Of course I’m ambitious. What’s wrong with that? Otherwise you sleep all day.” – Ringo Starr

2- Sir Ian McKellen

Sir Ian McKellen spent 3 years as an apprentice actor at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.

He went on to earn 2 Oscar nominations, 1 Golden Globe award win and 2 Screen Actors Guild awards. He was knighted in 1991 and founded the LGBT rights charity ‘Stonewall’.

Be honest with each other. Admit there are limitless possibilities in relationships, and love as many people as you can in whatever way you want, and get rid of your inhibitions, and we’ll all be happy.” – Sir Ian McKellen

3- Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley trained as an apprentice electrician, earning skills that most likely lead to his immense success in showbusiness.

He went on to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, earn 14 Grammy nominations and sell an estimate of over 1 billion records worldwide.

“Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.” – Elvis Presley

4- Michael Caine

Michael Caine trained as a plumbing apprentice for 2 years. Although he didn’t continue in the profession, it’s undeniable his time as an apprentice will have given him employability and workplace skills that ultimately lead to his success.

He went on to be nominated for 6 Oscars (2 of which he won) and star in films like The Dark Knight, Inception and The Italian Job.

“It’s a lesson in life—don’t look back, you’ll trip over.” – Michael Caine

5- Henry Ford

At the age of 16, Henry became an apprentice machinist in Detroit and eventually became a Chief Engineer, working on gasoline engines.

He went on to found the Ford Motor Company and pioneered a system that launched the mass production and sale of affordable automotives to the public.

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” – Henry Ford

6- Vincent Van Gogh

At the age of 16, Vincent started as an apprentice art dealer in The Hague.

He went on to become one of the most famous artists in the world.

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh

7- Leonardo da Vinci

At the age of 14, Leonardo was apprenticed to one of the most successful artists of his day, Andrea di Cione, known as Verrocchio.

He went on to create the most valuable artwork in the world.

Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

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