From the Middle Ages it was normal practice for boys (and to a lesser extent girls) to learn a trade by being formally apprenticed for a period of seven years or more.
Apprenticeships served the purpose not only of teaching a trade, but of helping to ensure a steady supply of qualified labour and maintaining order. The apprenticeship indenture was a legal document, which bound a boy or girl to their master of mistress, with a premium paid by the parents, or, in the case of paupers, by the Overseers of the Poor. The apprentice received board and lodging and training.
Many of our Ancestors served Indentured Apprenticeships.