1979’s Space Angel is the first of two works in John Maddox Roberts’ Space Angel series.
Thanks to the vicious War with the Triumvirate, former POW Torwald is an experienced spacer for whom employment is simply a matter of selecting which spacecraft to grace with his skills. He prefers to work with independents, even though 97% of interstellar trade is controlled by large corporations. He signs on with the Space Angel, an antiquated relic of times past..
He takes pity on a recent acquaintance, Kelly (friendless orphan and inexperienced teen) and arranges for Kelly to be hired as ship’s boy. I would guess that this is nod to hoped-for teen readership.
Off to the stars!