I quite like the idea of applying the craftsman training model to modern professional development. For instance, becoming an apprentice to a master programmer, engineer, accountant, lawyer or doctor. Even though you may have many bosses and many jobs, for the first seven years after university, you are an apprentice, and you have a master from whom you learn most closely. After those seven years, you spend three years with other masters, learning the personal nuances they apply to their profession. Finally, after those ten years, you may submit some of your work for approval to the guild and be granted master status.
Admittedly, it does sound like university in a way, especially the status of "master" vs "masters degree". I'd be pretty sure that's where it came from. But I think modern university doesn't offer the same kind of practical, personal tuition you would find in an apprenticeship system.
It would be tricky to work with a master across several jobs, particularly since that relationship should involve very close work, to learn from the master and for him/her to observe your work. That's harder to do if you're not working directly together every day.
Mokalus of Borg
PS - We don't do much mentoring in our society, do we?
PPS - I think we should.