In this interview, Steve Davis talks with Tom Karmel about his report 'Apprenticeships in the downturn'. Apprenticeships have a very long history in Australia, building on the traditions of the medieval guilds. The essence of the apprenticeship is the contract of training--a legal contract between an individual, an employer and a training provider. The defining characteristic is the combination of employment and training. The purpose of this paper is to describe what we know about apprenticeships and traineeships, with a view to assessing the likely impact of the current economic downturn on them.