(apologies if this is received twice, having trouble posting)
Thanks Doug for starting this forum, it's a really handy resource for those of us not plugged into events like SCNA.
I'm from Enspiral (www.enspiral.com
), and our case is an interesting one. We're a small software development team embedded within a multi-disciplinary network of people and companies interested in social change work and social entrepreneurship. This is relevant because a lot of our culture comes from that larger group. We're strong on diversity, communication, non-hierarchical decision making, happiness and many other important things, and correspondingly have been a bit weak on structured skills development, supervision and quality assurance.
We're changing to a model where we have a skills hierarchy, without necessarily having a power hierarchy in other areas of the business. This certainly includes apprentices and mentoring, but at the moment we've added significantly more "gamification" than just that, and it's been received really positively by all the developers. Details of our system are in a google doc here: http://tinyurl.com/bgphrmt
It sounds like our vision for apprentices is a bit different to what 8th Light is doing. We're interested in figuring out what it would take to do apprenticeship as an alternative to a university degree. That is, we wish to take 18 year olds fresh out of high school and turn them into programmers within three or four years. We're not currently doing this, although we do have some interns who are testing the waters.
Based on our system of levels (see that doc), we currently have an Apprentice-3, about 5 Journeyer-2s, a Journeyer-3, a Master-1 (myself) and a Master-3 who is mentoring me. We don't have the systems in place yet to take on more junior apprentices.
We started this system a couple of months ago, but since not much happens over the new year, it's still very early days.