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Westwood Works 1903-2003

Apprentice Intakes

Student and Craft Apprentice Intakes

A Baker Perkins "Register of Indentured Apprentices" was discovered in a farmer's barn in Crowland (near Peterborough) in 2011. This begins with the first Baker Perkins, Peterborough indenture signed by Neville Arbon in 1949 and ends with P.A. Ginty who signed Indenture No. 1646 in 1983.

Bearing in mind current discussions at Government level regarding the need to increase the number of apprenticeships available in this country, it is sobering to look back at the sheer scale of the apprentice intake into Baker Perkins from the early 1950s. In 1954 alone - the year that the new Apprentice School was opened – there were four intakes – in January, Easter, August and September – 75 apprentices.

Recruitment continued at a similar rate throughout the next years. Unfortunately, man-power records do not exist of the early days but it will be clear from what has gone before that in Baker Perkins, and its constituent companies – Joseph Baker & Sons and Perkins Engineers (Werner Pfleiderer & Perkins) – there had been a steady flow of apprentices into the business before WW1, between the Wars, during WW2 and afterwards. Information available suggests an average annual apprentice intake of all categories of close to 60 during the period from 1949 to 1966.

Thus, in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s Baker Perkins had more than 1,000 apprentices under training in its UK factories. Despite the yearly intake of Apprentices being very high, competition for places was keen. High quality craft training, coupled with day and sometimes block release to Technical College provided a springboard, not only into skilled craftsmanship, but drawing office and works technician apprenticeships. Some were taken on as student apprentices and joined the ranks of direct-entry sixth form students to follow sandwich degree courses in engineering at universities and polytechnics.

Between 1984 and 1986, Baker Perkins recruited an average of 16 Student Apprentices per year and between 10 and 18 Graduate Apprentices joined the Company each year between 1986 and 1990.

The first female Student Apprentice, Norma West, joined the company in 1967. Norma had started work at Westwood two years previously, but had been encouraged to start a two-year O level GCE course at Peterborough Technical College, where she obtained passes in seven subjects. During the summer holidays, she worked at Westwood, passed aptitude tests with flying colours, impressed an all-male selection panel, and was accepted without hesitation for a student apprenticeship. The first female Craft Apprentice to finish her time, Kate Kingdom, received her Indentures and Apprenticeship Certificate in 1978.

Most of the 1954 to 1963 photographs include both Student and Craft Apprentices. Those for 1984 to 1990 are of Student Apprentices only.

Intakes 1947 - 1950

The discovery of the "Register of Indentured Apprenticeships" mentioned a above allows us to create a list of new apprentices who joined the company between 1949 and September 1953 - which is where our photographic record starts.

PLEASE NOTE: As will be seen from the photograph of the Baker Perkins "Register of Indentured Apprentices" at the beginning of this section, the following list of names was recorded in longhand. With all due respect to the person recording the information, it is possible that we have misinterpreted some of the details. If you find any mistakes, we would be very much obliged if you would get in touch.

 

Intakes 1950 - 1959

1953: September 1954: January 1954: Easter 1954: August 1954: September 1955: January 1955: April
1955: August 1956 1956: August 1956: September 1957: January 1957: Easter? 1957: August
1957: August 1957: August 1957: September 1958:January 1958: April 1958: September 1958: September
 
1958: Post September 1958: Post September 1959: January 1959: Easter 1959: September 1959: September  

Intakes 1960 - 1969

1960: January 1960: Easter 1960: May 1960: September 1960: September 1961: January 1961: Easter
1961: September 1961: September 1962: January 1962: Easter 1962: August 1962: September 1962: September
1963: January 1966: April - Signing the 1,000th Indenture 1967: Norma West - the first female Student Apprentice

A number of negatives have been located at Peterborough Museum which show Apprentices recruited between 1962 and 1974. Unfortunately, it appears that during this period, no group photos were taken, only single "heads" for administration purposes. We calculate that there are some 250 negatives involved. Clearly, scanning these is too big a task for the Museum staff to contemplate at this time.

However, we have located a comprehensive list of Apprentices joining the Company during this period. We have divided this list into three sections: 1963-67, 1968-73 and 1974-79. We hope that this will serve as an adequate record and can only apologise to those ex-apprentices affected.

1978: Kate Kingdon, the only female Craft Apprentice, completes her "time"

Intakes 1980 - 1990

1982: 100,000th EITB Certificate of Engineering 1982: Teaching Company with Loughborough University launched 1984 1985 1986 1986: Graduate Trainee intake 1987
1988 1989 1990

Can you help to fill in any missing dates? If so, please see this page for instructions on how to contact us and we'll update the captions.

This volume records completed Student Apprenticeships from L.C. Gibbs in April 1948 to R.J. Talbot September 1962. Records of Student Apprenticeships completed after this date have not yet surfaced.

 

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