Pay was poor, commitment huge: but they had jobs

THIS WEEK IN 1979: Council refuses to help ex-offenders

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Eddy Amey wonders if people ever realised the commitment of the dockyard and associated establishments to the training of apprentices – a training which maintained a steady supply of skilled workers to look after the Royal Navy’s ships.

Eddy, of St Michael’s Grove, Fareham, became a dockyard apprentice in 1949 when there were 1,377 vacancies.

He says: ‘There were 911 candidates who took the three-subject examination, of whom 770 passed.’ (The picture on the right is the front cover of the results table).

He adds: ‘There was much competition among the giants of British industry to secure trainees to keep the pool of skilled labour available.

‘I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the money that was the attraction for boys. In my first year, 1949/50, as can be seen by the annual P60 picture, I earned the grand sum of £42 6s 7d and in 1950/51 a huge increase to £79 12s 1d.

‘The deeds of the five-year apprenticeship had all sorts of conditions couched in somewhat archaic language including references to my Master (Manager Engineering Dept.).

‘From the signature on page 3 this is Rear Admiral HS Roome. I wonder if he was related to Cdr Roome of Arctic Convoy PQ17 notoriety?’

Eddy concludes: ‘I`m sure the dearth of modern apprenticeships underlies much of this country’s youth unemployment.’