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southern belle
coventry
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1 of 16  Sat 23rd Oct 2010 5:06pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:10

I am trying to find out how people in the city viewed engineering. What it a respected career that fathers encouraged their sons/daughters to join or was it just a job? Has that changed now? Would you encourage your children to become engineers?
Industry, Business and Work - Engineering in the city
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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2 of 16  Sat 30th Oct 2010 11:02pm  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1391

That's a very good question. Back in 1981, before I started my GEC apprenticeship which eventually led to being an electronics engineer, it wasn't so much a case of "will I get an apprenticeship?" as "I wonder which apprenticeship I'll end up getting". Technical or engineering jobs were certainly still respectable then, desirable even, and nothing but a bright future stretching infinitely into the future could be predicted! I certainly didn't foresee the huge redundancies looming a few years ahead. Even stranger than that, to me at least, was the change in attitudes over that next couple of decades. It became distinctly unfashionable to be 'into' science or anything technical, and anyone showing such an inclination was slammed as a nerd or geek. I now worry that a whole generation has missed out on receiving a good technical background.... have we now irretrievably lost the continuity needed to rebuild our engineering base? I hope not, but I fear so. So, to return to your question.... our son, who's approaching 13, would dearly love to follow in my footsteps and learn electronics - and that leaves me in a dilemma: I'd like to be able to say that I could teach him and encourage such a worthy profession - but what jobs are available nowadays in this line? I hate pessimism, but it's rather difficult to give him an optimistic view of the employment scene when he leaves education. I'm currently carefully treading a fine line and telling him that "we'll have to see what comes along". Let's hope that something comes along to offer a brighter future!
Industry, Business and Work - Engineering in the city
rojwhittle
derbyshire
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3 of 16  Wed 7th Sep 2011 10:03pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:57

I come from a time when people in Coventry and the surrounding areas seemed to consider little else as a career. It was well-respected in the 60s, and there were many good apprenticeships to be had. I thoroughly enjoyed mine, and if the same kind of apprenticeships were available today, would definitely have encouraged my kids to take that route. I have taught kids taking BTECs and modern apprenticeships, however, and have to say that they are mind-numbingly boring for both kids and teachers. Luckily, my 16 year old wants to be a nurse, so the issue does not arise, thank goodness!
Industry, Business and Work - Engineering in the city
roseaoakwood
North Carolina USA
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4 of 16  Thu 8th Sep 2011 12:44am  
Member: Joined Jul 2011  Total posts:30

Regarding the encouragement of girls into apprenticeships - it simply didn't happen in the 70s. The only acceptable paths considered for girls were nursing, teaching, and ultimately, wife and mother.
Industry, Business and Work - Engineering in the city
InnisRoad
Hessle
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5 of 16  Thu 8th Sep 2011 8:44am  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:126

I'm pleased to say that my grandson, who has just passed his GCSEs, considers that a technical apprenticeship with an international company would be much preferable to university. There is a history of good companies paying for their successful apprentices to go to university and study a really worthwhile course, so anyone who makes a success of it could have the best of both worlds. The real-world learning skills of a genuine technical apprenticeship are likely to be far greater than many of the third rate degree courses now available together with a thumping great debt. Oh my
Regards Innis Road

Industry, Business and Work - Engineering in the city
PhilipInCoventry
Holbrooks
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6 of 16  Thu 8th Sep 2011 10:29am  
Moderator: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:4109

This is such a huge issue, InnisRoad. The loss of high volume engineering means that there is no longer the ladders of progression that once existed whereby unskilled young people could join a company and gain the experience needed, as well as the technical know-how. They seem to have to make their minds up whilst being void of what there is about. A couple of weekends ago, I attended an engineering exhibition at Baginton where there were representatives form several employers, both large & small. Despite being advertised on local radio, the numbers that attended over the three days for me was very disappointing. Sad It does seem that a distinction has to be made between going to uni for a profession or not uni for anything or everything else, now that we are no longer in the age of free higher education. The option of apprenticeship or sandwich uni with an employer is to be much valued if it is on offer. I do wish you well with your grandson, as I do for all of our forum members who have these concerns, as indeed I have for my grandson who is fourteen, and my granddaughter who started her senior school this past Tuesday. In the whole of my working life, I have never ever been in a situation of being out of work or lacking a sense of self-value. I wish I had a magic wand for the young people of our city. Sad
Industry, Business and Work - Engineering in the city
coventrykid
nuneaton
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7 of 16  Thu 8th Sep 2011 12:46pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:6

Talking about jobs. when I left Freddies, the last day in assembly the headmaster Mr Harris said anybody that needs a job to see him after, he had apprenticeships at Rolls Royce, Alfred Herbert's and many others. I took an apprenticeship at Rolls Royce as a toolmaker and started on the following Monday at Parkside. i lasted three days, I hated it. I left and started a plumbing apprenticeship. Since then, never been out of work (retired now). How things have changed since those days. I really feel sorry for kids today, 99% will never have what you would call a proper job and Coventry is the real loser.
Industry, Business and Work - Engineering in the city
grahamtodd
fillongley
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8 of 16  Wed 14th Sep 2011 12:36pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:2

I was in the same situation when I left Freddies in 1965, an apprenticeship at Rotherham's in Spon Street had already been sorted, and engineering was a natural step into the jobs market in Coventry. I still scrape out a living in the same industry, having purchased part of the Alfred Herbert product range some twenty five years ago.
Industry, Business and Work - Engineering in the city
morgana
the secret garden
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9 of 16  Sun 6th Nov 2011 9:49pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:2216

My dad used to work for Rootes as a gearbox fitter, bringing up 7 children. They put before him a new design, complaints were made as not enough production was going out as they got paid on how many went out. As the design was at fault, so my dad got the designers to come down to show them. My dad would always go to the very top man first. He later fell ill having to train a young lad to do his job as no one else could do it - later he died. He was also a main person in the unions there, as was his father before him who had weekly meeting at his home with Aneurin Bevan.
Industry, Business and Work - Engineering in the city
NeilsYard
Coventry
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10 of 16  Sun 6th Nov 2011 9:59pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1941

My dad worked in engineering all his life. He started his apprenticeship at Coventry Precision in Earlsdon (just been demolished!) and worked through many companies including Dowtys, Buckingham Vehicles, Caludon Engineering, going into management and ending his days at IHW in Warwick. When it came to me leaving school in the early/mid 80's it was a dying trade and he did all he could to steer me away (though I ended up in IT). Sad There were almost no apprenticeship offers from the usual suspect school visitors when it came to me leaving (Carbodies/Masseys/Talbot/Jaguar etc.) That said, my mate owns a city engineering company and is doing very nicely nowadays thank you!
Industry, Business and Work - Engineering in the city
K
Somewhere
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11 of 16  Mon 7th Nov 2011 3:58pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:566

Mmm, interesting question! When I left school in 1962, I wanted to be an artist - a technical illustrator - and went to Coventry Art College, the annexe in Radford Road. I stuck it a month, before thinking to myself "this isn't going to work for me", and answered an advert from GEC. I went to Telephone Works, where I was NOT an apprentice (too old) so had to do it the hard way. I had had an arts education, so had to start with a G(Q) at the Butts, then ONC, HNC, and finally Institute exams. The latter all at "The Lanch". 6 years of very hard work, on day release, plus two or three evenings a week, plus a lot of homework. A CEng at the end of it. Was it worth it? Hard to say. I've never really been out of work, save for a short time in the early 70s. I had two management jobs; but in my last job spent 25 years as a technical specialist. Now I've retired on a decent pension, have some dosh in the bank, but I always felt that I could have done better. Why? Engineers aren't respected in the UK, unlike say Germany, where "Engineer" is a title, or indeed the EU generally, where Eur Ing is a title, too. I didn't get decent pay until I got into the motor industry, but motor industry pay has lagged behind the best service sectors for two decades now. Did I have job satisfaction, well, yes, up to a point. My daughter, however, is an artist with a Masters'. She's never had what I would call 'proper' work as an artist, and at 29 is now looking to get additional qualifications to make use of her art in a different way, so as to get a job in a health-related sector. There are few proper art jobs outside London. I would say, yes, become a professional or vocational engineer, but don't necessarily consider the UK as the place to have an engineering career. When you think about what has gone from Coventry, you may as well consider engineering dead and buried there; but the rest of the UK isn't a lot better, and will remain so until we get several governments in succession that actually care about our manufacturing and engineering base. And will it happen? Are there any pigs flying about out there?
Industry, Business and Work - Engineering in the city
ghlee
NSW Australia
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12 of 16  Sun 21st Jan 2018 3:40am  
Member: Joined May 2016  Total posts:16

Hello K. You question why it is that engineers on the continent - France, Germany, Switzerland - appear to gain more respect than those in the UK. My Swiss friend and fellow engineeer informs me of the reason. The root of the word “Ingeneur” is in English “ingenious” and not engine!!
ghlee

Industry, Business and Work - Engineering in the city
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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13 of 16  Sun 21st Jan 2018 11:08am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3203

I daresay these days it's what type of engineer you are to determine where your engineering skills are most needed. My hubby was a hydraulics engineer and when arriving here in Perth discovered hydraulic engineers were like hens' teeth hence we have had a very prosperous life since. In 1974 prospects for my two children didn't look too healthy but how they prospered has made me very proud and glad we made the move in spite of the heartache and sacrifices we had to make. Having said that my roots are still in Coventry.
Industry, Business and Work - Engineering in the city
flapdoodle
Coventry
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14 of 16  Mon 22nd Jan 2018 2:14am  
Member: Joined Nov 2010  Total posts:874

Most of the people who get called 'Engineers' in the UK aren't, they're just skilled or semi-skilled tradesmen and this has given the profession a poor image. Engineering is a design process, using science/maths and other knowledge to create a product to meet requirements.
Industry, Business and Work - Engineering in the city
flapdoodle
Coventry
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15 of 16  Mon 22nd Jan 2018 2:25am  
Member: Joined Nov 2010  Total posts:874

On 30th Oct 2010 11:02pm, Rob Orland said: That's a very good question. Back in 1981, before I started my GEC apprenticeship which eventually led to being an electronics engineer, it wasn't so much a case of "will I get an apprenticeship?" as "I wonder which apprenticeship I'll end up getting". Technical or engineering jobs were certainly still respectable then, desirable even, and nothing but a bright future stretching infinitely into the future could be predicted! I certainly didn't foresee the huge redundancies looming a few years ahead. Even stranger than that, to me at least, was the change in attitudes over that next couple of decades. It became distinctly unfashionable to be 'into' science or anything technical, and anyone showing such an inclination was slammed as a nerd or geek. I now worry that a whole generation has missed out on receiving a good technical background.... have we now irretrievably lost the continuity needed to rebuild our engineering base? I hope not, but I fear so. So, to return to your question.... our son, who's approaching 13, would dearly love to follow in my footsteps and learn electronics - and that leaves me in a dilemma: I'd like to be able to say that I could teach him and encourage such a worthy profession - but what jobs are available nowadays in this line? I hate pessimism, but it's rather difficult to give him an optimistic view of the employment scene when he leaves education. I'm currently carefully treading a fine line and telling him that "we'll have to see what comes along". Let's hope that something comes along to offer a brighter future!
Did anything come along?
Industry, Business and Work - Engineering in the city

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