Training is one of the key elements of Colonization. All colonists can do any job to a greater or lesser degree but ONLY a training colonist will do it efficiently, in fact twice as well. Free colonists are reasonably good at any job, indentured servants are less good at indoor work and criminals are near useless indoors. Increased efficiency means fewer colonists are required in each area and can thus to re-deployed to other areas requiring labour. Skills can be acquired in the following ways:
As Immigrants at the Docks
There are always three colonists at the docks, if you wait long enough one will be selected. But if you do not want to wait or require one with a specific skill you must pay for his passage. Note, not all will be skilled some will be free colonists, indentured servants and petty criminals. The higher the level you play at the less skilled workers you can expect to recruit at the docks. When
joins the congress you will be able to select the next recruit from the docks and indentured servants or criminals will be upgraded to free colonists. I seldom buy recruits from the dock, preferring to wait for them to become available - this saves money and gives your statesmen more time to increase sons of liberty membership in the colonies so the new recruit does not reduce efficiency. However, if I am missing a critical skill, it can be worth it, but wait until a ship is in Europe or the price is just above 100 as the cost falls over time. At 100 the recruit becomes available but you don't get to select which one.
Unskilled Colonists can be "blessed as missionaries" in Europe or a Church/Cathedral in the New World and thus "learn" the skill of a Missionary. This is good for getting rid of excess Colonists when your Schools are full.
If the King gets you into a war with one of your European rivals he will give you 1 to 4 veteran soldiers which arrive at the docks in Europe.
Capture Colonists from European Rivals
Some may be skilled, but again this depends on the level you are playing at. Note, if you are at peace with a rival and try to capture one of his colonists this is viewed as a act of war. It is best to capture colonists with veteran dragoons when the colonist is not fortified as they are unlikely to get damaged, use artillery if they are fortified outside your colony. If the colonist is a veteran soldier do not capture it as this will remove its veteran status. Let if retreat and found a colony near by and then send a veteran dragoon to take the new colony. Disband the colony, bring back the soldier and rearm with muskets and horses. Note, the computer cheats and puts 20 tools in new colonies the first turn after founding, so if you make the soldier a pioneer he can bring back 20 free tools! This strategy will not work if there is a high enemy presence as they will lay siege to the colony which means you will not be able to disband it, or they will make it a base of operation shipping in new troops through it. If there are any rival colonies near by he will attempt to retreat there. Also if the Indians are at war with your rival they will probably kill the unarmed soldier. Skilled colonists can also be obtained when you capture a rival colony.
Buy Skilled Colonists from the Royal University
This is EXPENSIVE but sometimes necessary especially if the skill can't be learned from the Indians. The following skills can NEVER be learned from the Indians: Lumberjack, Preacher, Statesman, Carpenter, Distiller, Tobacconist, Blacksmith, Gunsmith, Pioneer, Soldier and Missionary. It's a good idea to buy a Lumberjack and Carpenter early as there's always something that needs building and they will build it in half the time and are relatively cheap. You should get the Carpenter first as anyone can cut Lumber and you also get it from cleared land, if you get a Lumberjack first, buy a Carpenter as soon as you can. Once the price of tools starts getting high buy a blacksmith, don't sell ore given to you by the Indians save it for when you get the blacksmith. As soon as you can afford the Statesmen buy him, he's worth it, particularly at higher levels. If you have a lot of one commodity buy a factory worker as a processed commodity sells for a lot more. Hardy Pioneers are faster and produce more lumber from cleared land, they do however use tools faster. It is a good idea to upgrade all the land around your colonies before enemy troops get there as they will blockade it permanently. Improved land is more productive. The other skills aren't really worth buying, is best to wait for them.
Teach Colonists in Indian Villages
The following skills can be learned from the Indians: Fisherman, Fur Trapper, Silver Miner, Ore Miner, Sugar Planter, Cotton Planter, Tobacco Planter, Weaver, Fur Trader and Scout. It should be noted that the Microprose Aid Card says some of these skills can not be learned from the Indians, but they can in the game. There are eight different Indian tribes in the game and each offers different skills:
Apache, Sioux, Tupi (Live in Tepees) Will teach only Fur Trapping, Planter Skills and Scouting. If there is a special resource near you it is a good idea to get a skilled worker so you can exploit it to its fullest. You will probably need only one of each Trapper / Planter in the entire game, as if you overload the market, commodity prices nose dive. You will also be getting commodities from the Colony square, as Gifts and as Plunder.
Arawak, Cherokee, Iroquois (Live in Villages) Will teach Farming, Fishing, Ore Mining, Fur Trading, Scouting, and Planter Skills.
Aztec, Inca (Live in Cities) Will teach Farming, Fishing, Ore Mining, Silver Mining and occasionally Weaving (Incas only).
From the above you can see it is best to build your first colony near a number of Villages as these provide the skills you will need in the beginning, and you will not yet have any teaching establishments of your own.
It is not good to build near a City as they use a lot of surrounding squares. You can't train criminals in villages, but try and use indentured servants as they are less productive than free colonists.
Note: a non expert Scout even a criminal may be upgraded to Seasoned Scout by visiting an Indian Village for the first time. This is a good way of making criminals useful. A scout is a colonist equipped with 50 Horses. Always have one or two Scouts active to find where new skills are. Scouts may also find lost expeditions (one free colonist) who you can train in near by villages and send to your nearest colony, try and get a rare skill. Either send a fast ship to collect him or use the GO command to get him there under his own steam. If you have to go a long way it is a good idea to send several unskilled Colonists at once. The Scout will have identified skills in each Village, so all you have to do is land the Colonists next to each Village. Use the SLEEP command, to have the ship wait while they are trained.
Indians villages only train one colonist then refuse any further training unless they are capitals then they train as many as you want. Indians village skills sometimes change after a while which is bad if you wanted that particular skill but good if it brings up a skill you don't have.
Colonists can Learn Skills on their own
Given enough time an unskilled colonist may learn a trade. This only really works for Fur Trappers, especially when they are doing the special resource square. I once got a tobacco planter after a very long time, again on a special resource square.
They may also be upgraded by winning battles as soldiers. Criminals become indentured servants, indentured servants become free colonists and free colonists become veteran soldiers.
As Indian Converts
If you establish missions in Indian Villages near your colonies, after a while you will get Indian converts. Indian converts produce 1 more than unskilled colonists at Farming, Fishing, Fur Trapping and Planting. They are best used to fill skills gaps while you obtain skilled workers. Once a colony gets large they will not be efficient enough to food production for the large population and will have to be moved to smaller colonies. They are useful at providing labour while a new colony is just starting out. They are very poor at indoor work. Several members of congress affect Indian recruitment:Trade,
Bartolome de Las Casas,
all currently existing Indian converts are assimilated into the Colony as free colonists. This of course means you will
lose their special skills.
Juan de Sepulveda,
increases the chance that subjugated Indians "convert" and join a Colony.
Once you have obtained a skill it is a good idea to teach it to all the Colonists that need it. This can be done by building Schools, Colleges and Universities. Which can train 1, 2, or 3 at a time respectively. The more complicated skills require a higher level of building and take longer to teach. Higher level building can teach more pupils at one time. It is best to teach indentured servants and petty criminal to be free colonists with school level teachers as this is quicker. If you have too many colonists with one skill clear their speciality and retrain. Remember to take the teacher out of the School when all pupils have been taught. Seed each land mass with basic skills, so they can train themselves and not tie up lots of ships for transport, this will also be quicker.
Once you get a lot of Colonists to train in one go, usually POWs from a war, it is best to teach them in different Colonies:
The Indentured Servants and Criminals can be trained separately in a Colony with a Schoolhouse until they become free Colonists, and then be moved somewhere else for advanced training. Use spare Pioneers and Scouts as teachers, if they are not needed elsewhere or are waiting for Tools / Horses.
Lumberjacks, Carpenters, Farmers, and Fishermen can be trained in the Schoolhouse of a Colony that requires them, providing it has the skills available. If training Lumberjacks, or Carpenters, shuffle the workers so there is not a build up of Lumber or idle Carpenters. It should be noted, later on in the game that when you capture enemy Colonies there will probably be a lot of Farmers / Fishermen already there, some may need retraining.
It is best to train Ore Miners and Blacksmiths as a team using a College or above. This prevents Ore build up and idle Blacksmiths. This should be done when another Colony starts having a constant demand for tools and is able to absorb 2 new Colonists, food and efficiency wise.
Statesmen are very useful for Colony Efficiency and adding Members to Congress, but take along time to train. Only every train free Colonists as Statesmen, and do it in a separate Colony with a University.
When a Colony is under siege, Colonists can't be evacuated, and many outdoor squares can't be used. This is a good time to train Colonists.