Not Another Crewe Cut

Not Another Crewe Cut

A long time ago, I was an apprentice electronic technician. I was a bit of a disaster. I was supposed to help design, build and maintain test equipment in a television factory. Instead I occasionally blew up television sets and rather more frequently gave myself impressive electric shocks. At such times I would make a noise not dissimilar from an irate howler monkey yelling abuse at another howler monkey who had stolen some of the first howler monkey’s favourite bananas.

I spent the first year of the apprenticeship at the Edinburgh and District Engineering Training Association in Leith. The electronic technicians spent the day in a closed off corner of the engineering workshops where the fitters, the welders and the sheetmetal workers spent the day making lots of noise bashing and bending things. We spent our time getting fiddly and intricate with our soldering irons and poring over the RS Components catalogue. That’s closed now, the rather shoddy building in Dock Street knocked down and a new block of anonymously brown flats or offices has been erected in their place.

I also did a day release engineering course at Stevenson College where I completely failed to understand any of the maths they tried to teach me. I was all right with the physics and the logic but the maths course was just beyond me. I was a rubbish apprentice and would have been a poor engineer or technian. I did appreciate having the opportunity to do what I did even though I didn’t complete my apprenticeship and went to university instead.

I thought that apprenticeships had gone the way of cursive handwriting. Bentley Motors happily is among those who believe otherwise. They are having an open day on Saturday, 19 March to show prospective apprentices around. I’m sorely tempted to pay a visit to Pyms Lane in Crewe myself. I’m too old and as I said above I’ve already bollocksed one opportunity. You might not be, though. The closing date for applications to this year’s apprenticeships is 16 May. Go for it and good luck.

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