Nice one Geoff
I started my apprenticeship in 1981 with a local Aerospace company that took on 130 apprentices a year at the time.
We did our first year on the Apprentice section learning the basics of milling, fitting, turning and grinding producing similar items to the ones shown in your photo's.
You were given three attempts at producing the various test pieces and if you failed you were given your cards - in these politically correct times it seems a bit hard, but if you couldn't do the job you were out.
I remember one apprentice from our intake who suffered such a fate and when his bench was cleared out 8 scrapped sine bars at various stages of manufacture were found - he had obviously a 'special arrangement' with the raw materials storeman, but it did him no good in the end!
Years 2, 3 and 4 were carried out in the various sections within the group, eventually specialising in a particular trade in your final year.
I finished my time as a toolmaker on a section where you covered all aspects of the trade, not specialising in just one - it was probably one ofthe most satisfying times in my career.
Its been a long while since I've been on the tools, but have a small lathe and milling machine at home to keep my hand in (always useful when running old rifles!)
10-10-2012 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by waco16
I started a few years after yourself , I had just left an Apprenticeship as a 1st year Mechanic, which I had started a week after leaving school ( I left school as soon as I could) and went back for the exams,
The reason for leaving the Mechanic Apprenticeship was the garage was up for sale so decided to take the offer from VSEL, (Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd) best thing I ever did in Life, I did enjoy the training school, and was the runner up to Apprentice of the year, but the ship yard well..... at the time there were 16,000 employed in the yard, we moved about etc during you 2,3,4th year to various workshops some good some bad and some well .....just getting out of bed was hard work in my last year, but then I was looking at getting away and was applying to various companies to get away to sea (Merchant Navy).
A lot of lads I worked with had been 11 trippers one there one back, but a few had been in untill the wife had told them no more, what appealed to me was the runs a shore and cheap beer !!
After a lot of letters, I think I sent a total of 30 out, I recieved a reply from a recruiting company (agency) which got me in the door with Esso the rest is history after that, and never looked back but it was all down to serving an apprnticeship in the shipyard.
But I do have to thank one Gentleman, Colour Sergeant Carrol, he was the Recruiting Sergeant for the Regs at the time in the TA barracks in Barrow-In-Furness, I had signed up for 22 yrs, when I was 15 1/2 but he held my application back, as I never scraped up enough points for an apprenticeship in the army and was destined for the Infantry (which is all I wanted to do at the time)
He told me to wait and see if I did get an apprenticeship and if I did, go back and see him after serving my time.
Approx 14 years later I went back, but to join the TA, but thats another story.... and as it happens Have recently put another application in for the TA as the age for proffesional trades etc has been raised to 43, I,m just in with a chance as still only 42..... have got my Barb test 1st Nov.....
Last edited by bigduke6; 10-12-2012 at 06:24 AM.
This threads started to go off on a bit of a tangent but it set me thinking about my Apprenticeship and some of the odd coincidences with Big Duke's career path.
I'd always had in mind the idea that I too was going to be an infantryman, ultimately joining the para's. I'd gone along to the local recruiting office, passed all the tests and only needed my Dad's signature and I was off to Catterick. My Dad however had other ideas, he'd been in the REME and I can remember as clear as day him telling me that first and foremost I should try and get myself an Apprenticeship and that if I couldn't then once I turned Eighteen I could sign myself in.
I took his advice to heart and before I knew it I was Apprenticed as an Electrician for the next five years. Funny thing is that even as an Apprentice spark I was taught and expected to pass trade tests in the use of the milling machine and lathe as well as being taught to gas braze etc. One of my abiding memories is having to make a scale model of an electricity pylon out of copper wire and solder. None of your dainty little soldering irons for this particular task though! we had to use a bloody monstrous thing with a bit the size of 3/4 Whitworth bolt that was heated over a gas burner. I lost count of the number of times I built that pylon up to 3/4 height only to have the bloody thing collapse because I'd go to much heat into it.
When I finally came out of my time the jump in money, literally overnight, was incredible and off I went travelling the country and the world chasing the almighty dollar, and nothing was further from my mind than the Army. Next thing I know I'm Married with a Daughter, and as she's getting older I started thinking about how different things might have been if I'd followed my original career path. A bit more time passes and I think to myself what about the TA? you've got a trade and all perhaps you'd be some good to the Engineers maybe. I've got to be honest with you I was more than a bit hurt to discover I was considered "over the hill" at 44 years old and by the Para's and Royal Marines reserve standard I should have been shot at 34.
Oh well, in the words of Forrest Gump I guess "Sh*t Happens".
Last edited by Simon; 10-12-2012 at 02:42 PM.