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joethedrummer

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Hello ,, funny when a name from the past jumps out at you,, Woods of Colchester was the very firm that I started my indentured apprenticeship at in August 1961,, the factory has gone ., you must have been at Vacuumatic ?.
 

Distinterior

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Hello ,, funny when a name from the past jumps out at you,, Woods of Colchester was the very firm that I started my indentured apprenticeship at in August 1961,, the factory has gone ., you must have been at Vacuumatic ?.

Yes Joe,...Vacuumatic.

They were not based in Colchester at that time but they are now I believe.
 

Distinterior

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I've lost touch with most of the other 11 guys I started with, except for 1 of them. We became very good friends and I still see him regularly. I was his Best Man about 10 years ago.

From what I hear about any of the others, none of us are still in that type of work.
 

Yojevol

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▶ Thurs 1 Sept 1966 Start Apprentiship
⏸ Sun 4 Sept 1966 Pause apprentiship - high jinx with new found friends causes fractured knee cap
▶ Mon 3 Oct 1966 Restart apprenticeship. Can't stand all day in workshop so put on light duties in the training drawing office for a month, wonderful experience.
⏩ Tue 31 Mar 1998 Made redundant - electricity supply industry downsizing
⏭ Fri 14 Jul 2000 Complete final stage of life's apprentiship, aka BTECH in Furniture Making
▶ Sat 15 Jul 2000 Living the life(y)














⏹ Who Knows When
 

Felix

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I’m looking for joinery work now but am considering finding a C+G apprenticeship as its proving tough to find a spot in a small workshop locally.
House bashing for a housing developer never appealed to me but with so many positions readily available and a regular pay check, it is becoming a recurring consideration, but they screen out anyone with an apprenticeship I believe. For context, I’m 33, have two kids and live in Glasgow. I could afford to live on apprentice wages for the time being. I definitely want to upskill but not sure what the best route is...
Anyone else in the same position?
I'm in a similar position (although older than you judging from your image) I am a C&G 236 (parts I and II) qualified electrician and have never completed an apprenticeship. I never got into this line of work until I was 24 (by which time apprenticeships were pretty much non-existent) I've spent most of my time as a sparks working on commercial/industrial installations. I spent 5yrs at university studying computer science and then spent 5 years in IT and now I can't even bring myself to write a single line of code. I am now teaching myself to make furniture and carve wood. I don't have a mortgage and I have a 9m x 5m workshop at the bottom of my garden and I spend most waking hours in there 'doing stuff' (that's what I tell my wife) and I just love it. It seems to me that the only options to upskill in the furniture making arena is to sign up for a course with the well established furniture makers i.e David Savage, Marc Fish, David Charlesworth, Peter Sefton et-al - they all run various courses over different durations. They are however, expensive (around £18k for a year plus accommodation and travel). It's not an apprenticeship per-se, but you do get a certificate. These people are highly thought of in their field and I think having studied under their tutelage carries a lot of weight when applying for positions within the industry.

I, like you am not interested in domestic/construction carpentry and would dearly love to join an organisation, but I'm 60 next year and I think my ship has sailed ( I would swap it all for a career making furniture in a heartbeat). So I'll just keep teaching myself, watching loads of Youtube stuff and ask questions - you never know - there might be some lunatic out there who needs an older worker still willing to work hard and learn new skills.

Good Luck with your quest
Dno (www.andonart.com)
 

I’ve got wood worm!

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I'm in a similar position (although older than you judging from your image) I am a C&G 236 (parts I and II) qualified electrician and have never completed an apprenticeship. I never got into this line of work until I was 24 (by which time apprenticeships were pretty much non-existent) I've spent most of my time as a sparks working on commercial/industrial installations. I spent 5yrs at university studying computer science and then spent 5 years in IT and now I can't even bring myself to write a single line of code. I am now teaching myself to make furniture and carve wood. I don't have a mortgage and I have a 9m x 5m workshop at the bottom of my garden and I spend most waking hours in there 'doing stuff' (that's what I tell my wife) and I just love it. It seems to me that the only options to upskill in the furniture making arena is to sign up for a course with the well established furniture makers i.e David Savage, Marc Fish, David Charlesworth, Peter Sefton et-al - they all run various courses over different durations. They are however, expensive (around £18k for a year plus accommodation and travel). It's not an apprenticeship per-se, but you do get a certificate. These people are highly thought of in their field and I think having studied under their tutelage carries a lot of weight when applying for positions within the industry.

I, like you am not interested in domestic/construction carpentry and would dearly love to join an organisation, but I'm 60 next year and I think my ship has sailed ( I would swap it all for a career making furniture in a heartbeat). So I'll just keep teaching myself, watching loads of Youtube stuff and ask questions - you never know - there might be some lunatic out there who needs an older worker still willing to work hard and learn new skills.

Good Luck with your quest
Dno (www.andonart.com)
Thanks for linking my post! Yes it’s tough isn’t it.
I took a look at your link above, what a great spoon you’ve carved. The lovespoon. A real labour of love I bet.
 

Spectric

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Hi there

Yes I think Woods is one of the few survivors now Paxman has gone, and the name Colchester Lathes has gone elswhere such a shame, anyone in engineering will have come across a Colchester Bantam lathe at some time or other but then so much else has gone as well, great names such as Marconi, Cromptons, EEV and RHP in chelmsford, the days when you could leave a job Friday and start a new one Monday!

I have done the reverse, left the South and gone North as am semi retired now.
 

Tanglefoot20

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I wrote something on the 'parting off' post.
It got me thinking about Apprenticeships and who has done one.
I started mine in 1966, my stating rate was 1s 6p per hour (about 18p in todays money) At the end i got my indentured papers on like parchment paper in fancy scroll writing, and still have them lol.
Anyone else??
Hello there... I still have mine. The skilled mans gold dust.i served mine in precision engineering....aircraft fuel pumps etc...served time 1971/76....gained full tech certificate in production engineering...there must be others out there with indentures...,,ps they were on parchment paper...not like !
 

akirk

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Does an "Indentured Apprenticeship " still exist, as such...? Or, is it just various levels of NVQ's now?
Technically yes, the London livery companies still run apprenticeships, however they are more of an entry route into the livery company in question... when I had an apprentice we had the formal paperwork, separated and one half filed in theHall, one half in Guildhall - quite fun to go through the centuries old process... lasted 4 years and then my apprentice was made free...

not sure whether they are still used in that way in actual trades.
 
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redhunter350

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I wrote something on the 'parting off' post.
It got me thinking about Apprenticeships and who has done one.
I started mine in 1966, my stating rate was 1s 6p per hour (about 18p in todays money) At the end i got my indentured papers on like parchment paper in fancy scroll writing, and still have them lol.
Anyone else??

I started my apprenticeship in 1960, 47 hour week with one day at college plus two unpaid night school classes per week, 1s 2d per hour came to £2 15s per week [£2.75] The company was a sub contractor to the aerospace and nuclear industries making largely prototype items and tooling -- very varied work and enjoyed every minute !
 

Felix

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Thanks for linking my post! Yes it’s tough isn’t it.
I took a look at your link above, what a great spoon you’ve carved. The lovespoon. A real labour of love I bet.
Yes it's tough, but you have to keep going forward. Thanks for the comments on the spoon. I see things like that on ebay for £20 - £30.....doesn't even get close to the number of hours spent carving it. It seems to me that if you want to live the life of an artisan you have to be prepared to live frugally and just love what you do and sell what you can when you can - it's more of a lifestyle than a living.
 

Steve Blackdog

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Got the 18p bit wrong, it was 8p (new money) that was for a 5 1/2 day week (48hrs) One day week college from 9am to 8pm
I was on £20.00 per week at the end of the week, rich !!!!!!

you are making me nostalgic for old money. A ten Bob note for Christmas was really something! half a crown! Threepenny bits! Sixpences!
 

schnapps95

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Re Apprenticeships

I started my apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery when I was 15 years old in May 1956 at the hourly rate of 1 shilling (5p) per hour which was ¼ of the tradesman’s rate rising by 1/8 per year until at 21 years you were on full tradesman’s rate and finished your apprenticeship, I also had to have a medical each year until the age of 18 years (regulations at the time, this was done away with in about 1972).

I then attended Darlington College of Further Education the course was titled Carpentry and Joinery (now is site or bench joiner no mention of carpentry). In the first years we sat the Northern Counties exams, in the final years I sat and passed the City and Guilds also the Full Technological Certificate (also awarded a prize) and the Associate Exams for the British Institute of Certified Carpenters (B.I.C.C.) which later became the Institute of Carpenters (I.O.C).

I am still involved in business and obtaining apprentices is a nightmare, nobody seems to want to train in manual jobs anymore, we normally use the C.I.T.B. (Construction Industry Training Board) apprenticeship scheme but if the candidate has got below C grades in Maths and English in his school exams he has to do these at an extra day at college, which is more expense for us.

In 50 odd years the apprenticeship has gone from 6 years down to 3 years (its called progress?), although some things have remained constant.
In 1956 tradesmen received 4 Shillings (20p) per hour, 1 pint of beer was approx. 1 shilling (5p).
In 2020 tradesmen received £13.17 per hour and 1 pint of beer is about £3.20.
So the tradesman today is still working a ¼ hour to buy a pint of beer (food for thought).
 

Phil Pascoe

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I have invigilated many maths GCSE papers. The usual format, iirc ( one board at least) was that for one paper at foundation level (where you could still get up to a "C" pass) you took the first 23 out of forty questions, for advanced level (where you could get all grades) the last 23.
here's a selection of the foundation level questions -

Write six thousand and eight in numbers.
What is 17 + 14 ?
How many fifty pences are there in £200 ?
What is 4 x 27 ?

I copied out ten of the questions, showed them to ten people I knew involved in some way in education (from a TA through teachers and heads to a university lecturer) and asked how old a child they thought the questions were set for. The answers were one ten, one eight and eight nines.
Maths and English aren't the be all and end all, maybe, but I'd think anyone hiring someone who'd failed them was hiring a liability. If someone had given me that paper as an eleven plus or common entrance paper I'd have laughed at them.
 

AES

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Blimey Phil! You have well & truly "smacked my gob"!

BTW, I would say that at least "basic arithmetic" and basic English (if you live/work in England or any other English-speaking country) ARE indeed the "be all and end all" of shall we say "basic living" in those countries!

Another BTW; the entrance exam I took to be even interviewed for the RAF Apprenticeship had a pass mark (unknown to the sitters of course) and if you failed, that was it - "end of" - i.e. you only got invited to the Selection/Interview process - 3 days IF I remember correctly - if you passed the entry exam. And the Q's were a bit more "complex" than the ones you quote above (and included English, History, "General Science", and "General Knowledge" as well as "Maths")!

What I really don't understand is that for a long while, apprenticeships stopped altogether in UK (as pointed out by several posters above). Not so in other countries such as Switzerland for example. Yes, a uni-level education really is necessary for some, particularly in "scientific" subjects, but I can't understand any industrialised country doing away with apprenticeships altogether.

I wonder if any UKW members currently working the "new" UK apprenticeships "system" have any comments about how it goes in UK today (apart from the price of beer that is)! ;)

I guess I'm just a boring old fart (as ever).
 
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dannyr

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I didn't do one. Respect to those who did - I knew several who did J Neill or Laycocks in Sheff, RR Aero in Derby - skilled men and a few women (more now).

If you did - do you still have anything you made at that time -- eg sometimes see some patternmakers planes, measuring tools or engineering apprs gauges or work holders, vices, clamps etc, eg tool shop, foundry workers pieces?


The most impressive ex appr I knew was a colleague apprenticed at Sheepbridge Works Chesterfield - much later started an engineering degree but stopped when he decided he knew more than the lecturers (including maths and theory) -- I remember he gave his son a newish motor bike as a 16th present but took it to pieces first - his son later got a good job and was soon fast-tracked.
 
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hawkeyefxr

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I started this post and reading the stories is like stepping back in time.
Another little story, I was talking about the the foreman of my shop anf he heard me. He asked " are you taking the mickey out of me", i replied (all lippy like a 17/18 year old) " i wouldn't take you anywhere Charlie" That was it, he chased me all over the place eventually catching, i got a clip round the ear for my remark. He was a good bloke and i looked up to him. That kind of thing is not allowed now but i don't think it hurt me in anyway, just part of growing up.When you see/hear kids now it bears no resemblance to back in the mid 60's.
 

Droogs

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Reminds me of how my Drill Cpl in basic introduced himself to us sprogs, "I am Cpl Everidge and I'm your Drill Instuctor. I'm sure we are all going to get along swimmingly but, if we have do have words at any time the second word will be you shouting OW"
Oh those were the days
 

Robin Whitfield

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I started an apprenticeship a decade ago on approx £7.5k a year although admittedly not in woodworking/metalworking (IT/Networking with an A/V company), and just found that it was just taking the p*ss. There was no hard work and solid training, it was just a case of pay the young guy sod all and take advantage, while sending him off to *generic training* every few weeks.
After a year of that I scrapped off the apprenticeship and (still with zero paperwork and a part-finished training course) I used my experience to get a proper job at 2.5x the pay. I had a good run there climbing the ladder then left to another disappointing role before deciding to work for myself.

Now with this lockdown situation I keep flitting with the idea of going back to that nice reliable desk job (admittedly mostly at home) to get myself a few bob to spend on more tools...

In my opinion the big issue with apprenticeships now is that they're thought of as a second choice for those who can't get the grades to go to university. This has left us with a generation of trades people who (in my experience) on the whole have little interest in excelling in their trade or taking real pride in their work.
This issue is compounded by the general attitude today that faster and cheaper is always the way to go so long as it's better than the bare minimum.
 
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