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.

Comments about this page

  • Another excellent contibution to this site about the local engineering company CVA/K&T. Having passed through the company as an apprentice and craftsman, I have nothing but praise for the grounding in engineering and life Gil, his fellow instructors and the skilled tradesmen of the company gave me. I am lucky enough to still work in an engineering environment, I still use those skills of milling, turning and fitting that were first instilled in my apprenticeship at Kearney and Trecker.

    By Michael Brittain (06/04/2013)
  • I had the good fortune to apprentice at KTM with Mr Percy, Mick Dyer and John Christmas.  I still use a lot of the sayings I learnt from Gil (sadly they cannot be printed here!) Great times…..

    By Andy Moss (16/04/2014)
  • Well what a surprise, there I am middle picture third from left! Training was really full. I went on to Parker Pen and now working in Eastbourne. This brings back memories.

    By Clifford Wilson (19/10/2014)
  • I also did an apprenticeship with Kearney and Trecker CVA but as it ended engineering was suffering the worst ever shrinkage. Hundreds made redundant. I went off out into the world of alarms – pay trebled overnight, got married, bought a house. Stayed with alarms for decades, was well paid, good terms & conditions and a new car every two years. It was good to work in but finally night call out made me quit. 

    By Gary Charles Garrett (24/08/2015)
  • I can’t believe these pictures! I’m the second one from the back with Alan Martin behind me, Cliff Wilson in front of me and Graham in front of him. I’m still in engineering working at Ricardo in Shoreham. What a great apprenticeship, I had some of the best years of my life. It would be great to meet up with these guys again! 

    By Glyn Crack (08/12/2017)
  • I remember you Glyn, I worked in the Toolroom with Bill Sadler; did you go on to grinding section after the training school? The guy with the long blond hair was Adrian Young or ‘Chad’ as we called him, he was from Burgess Hill; I believe he emigrated to Australia in the 1980s.

    By Michael Brittain (12/12/2017)

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