Famous Apprentices

Famous Apprentices

Posted in Experiences on Jul 31, 2019 by

University Finder

Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular, as more and more people realise that there is no one path to success. Here’s 12 household names from a variety of industries who had their starts as apprentices.

Sports:

David Beckham

Beckham began his football career as an apprentice in the football Youth Training Scheme. He went on to play for Manchester United, Real Madrid, and LA Galaxy.

Sir Alex Ferguson

Before his 26-year long reign as Manchester United’s manager, Ferguson spent time working as a shipyard tool-worker apprentice. Whilst he ultimately did not end up in the same field as his apprenticeship he said that “It is only when you had the opportunity to have an apprenticeship did you realise the long-term benefit. Anyone who had that experience will have appreciated the skills they learned”.

Food:

Jamie Oliver

After leaving school aged 16 with 2 GCSEs in Art and Geology, Jamie went to Westminster Catering College. It was there he completed an apprenticeship and an NVQ in home economics. Since then he has opened his own restaurant and published countless recipe books.

Gordon Ramsey

Hot tempered chef Gordon Ramsey had his start as a catering apprentice. He’s now one of the most famous chefs in the world, owning multiple restaurants and TV shows such as Hells Kitchen.

Clare Smyth

Gordon Ramsey’s protégé Clare Smyth is the ONLY women to ever run a three Michelin star restaurant. Like many famous chefs, she undertook apprenticeships at restaurants across London.

Acting:

Ian McKellen

Unlike many of the acting greats, Sir Ian McKellen didn’t get his start at drama school. Instead he completed an apprenticeship at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. Since then he has starred in hundreds of films, as legendary characters such as Gandalf the Grey, Magneto, and Sherlock Holmes.

Sir Michael Caine

Household name and star of countless films such as The Italian Job and The Dark Knight rises, had his start as an apprentice plumber where he trained for two years before becoming a stage manager at a Horsham theatre.

Fashion:

Stella McCartney

Internationally renowned designer Stella McCartney (and daughter of the Beatle Paul McCartney) had her start as apprentice to Edward Sexton on Saville Row, where she learned fine tailoring crafts.

Alexander McQueen

After leaving school with just one GCSE, McQueen went on to become an apprentice at Anderson & Sheppard, a Saville Row tailor. He went on to create his own Alexander McQueen label. and receive a CBE, the order of chivalry and the highest-ranking Order of the British Empire.

Karen Millen

Another famous designer had her start training as an apprentice at the Medway College of Design. After her apprenticeship, and with a loan of £100, she launched her business, and is now a millionaire.

Music:

Ozzy Osbourne

Although not related to his career, the Prince of Darkness had his start as an apprentice toolmaker after he left school at 15.

Elvis Presley

The King of Rock and Roll trained as an electrician apprentice before leaving to pursue a music career. He once said, “I was training to be an electrician, I suppose I got wired the wrong way round somewhere along the line.”


Apprenticeships can provide you with incredible opportunities and open countless doors for you. These are just 12 of the hundreds of celebrity former apprentices. Other famous apprentices include; John Frieda, Ringo Starr, Billy Connolly, and Chico (It’s Chico time!).

Start your own apprenticeship story here


By Clarissa Ducie