Kearney & Trecker Marwin Apprentices 1974/5
Photos from 1974/5
We have previously seen here the Kearney & Trecker Apprentice Training School at Coombe Road during the period 1969-1973. The company’s various facilities around the Brighton area were eventually consolidated to Hollingbury. The Apprentice Training School at Coombe Road was the last to move in 1973. These photos are from 1974/5 and show the 2nd Year Apprentices in the Training School at Hollingbury, soon after that move.
Government support for apprentices
Their good fortune; the excellent training they received, was due to government support for apprenticeships during the 1960s and 1970s. The Conservative administration passed the 1964 Industrial Training Act. This gave extra weight, and made money available, to enhance the less formal apprenticeship training scheme that the company had previously carried out.
Turning young lads into adults
Gil Percy was the Senior Training Instructor at this time; he had been an apprentice himself, during WWII. Gil was strict, but fair; apart from passing down engineering skills, probably without knowing it, he was turning us young lads into adults. We were taught to respect each other, our tools and our work. In the morning as we arrived, he would catch your eye with, “Good morning Mr Groves”. The reply was always “Good morning Mr Percy”. His wit could be as sharp as a knife; I remember when doing a complicated spiral milling calculation, I had used 3.1415 for pi. His response was to ask me if I wanted my wages rounded down that week. I still remember today that pi is 3.14159.
Now nearing retirement
Although I have not seen them for many years, I still recognise these young lads. However it’s strange to now see their faces as they were then, and consider that they are now nearing retirement.