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A Richardsons Westgarth Apprenticeship - John Robinson

The company always encouraged their apprentices to better themselves by attending the Technical College. Since this meant going to evening classes at least 3 times a week after work from 6 until  9 (:30)pm, not many apprentices did this. For most people, the program took five years, three at the senior level and two at the advanced level. If the person’s education was not high enough for the senior level, it was possible to start at a two year junior level.

The company offered a small financial reward for passing each level (as did the unions, if you were a member). Usually after passing the senior level they would offer training in the drawing office. There were other incentives on reaching the advanced level, the first year earned a half day off work with pay for study, the second year a full day off. Needless to say, not having to go as much in the evenings was appreciated. By this stage there were only a handful of apprentices in the program and those that finished usually went on for further study at university or joined the Merchant Navy as Engineering Officers.

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