Apprenticeship
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Apprenticeship

 

An apprentice who started in the printing trade would have to serve his time under a journeyman.  The journeyman was a printer who would hinself have originally been a time served apprentice.  The standard length of an apprenticeship in the printing trade was seven years up until the 1960s. The print unions would dictate how many apprentices could be taken on, their working conditions and rates of pay.  The film below talks about the type of work that he would have undertaken in his first year of apprenticeship.

Listen to 'Apprenticeship' (1:33 min - Transcript below)

'First years training as an apprentice was really just watching somebody and doing something. Ahm, you, you sat beside a Journeyman and you just watched what he did for the first six, nine months. You helped him with the, with heav- some heavy lifting an things like that, you know. But eh, in the main you were just going along for the first six or seven months watching him. We also had in the letterpress department a series of graduated printing machines with a, a local platen thing. And then we had a low Wharfdale in the corner, eh, two very small machines and then you moved up to the next Wharfdale before you got onto, onto the big meel-, what they call miehle machines, the big Miehle’s. And then after that you can move onto the Perfectors. So there was a, a range of machines all the way along. And after six months, eh, when the apprentice who was on the platen machine moved on you got to do the work on the platen. And that included em, business cards for the reps, eh, letter headings, all that kind of, just the jobbing work that you would do in a jobbing printers. And we used to do all our own in, in, in the print, and after six months you were the apprentice in charge of all that. Eh, the gaffer or the foremen always came along and kept an eye on you an things. Eh, once you did about six or nine months of that and the next apprentice was coming into the system you moved onto a, a, a little Wharfdale which, eh, in those days I think it was a double demi machine, I don’t know whether you are familiar with these terms but demi, it was double demi machines. Seventeen and a half, twenty two'.