Of all the rites de passage a child could come to experience, puberty, marriage, parenthood and death, apprenticeship was less a matter of personal choice or natural forces than of parental influence and youthful duty. In theory it was available to both boys and girls, poor or affluent, educated or illiterate, but in practice recruitment was affected by such powerful forces as parental status, prospering occupations, consumer demand and population numbers. However, apprenticeship surprisingly retained its standing for some three centuries in spite of such vicissitudes and was really rejected as a training method only under the modern external pressures of universal education and a raised standard of living.