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NELHS First Tuesday: Andy Clark will take ‘A historical look at modern apprenticeships: Sigmund Pumps Wartime Apprenticeship Scheme’
4 June 2019 @ 19:00
In this paper, I will discuss the Gateshead-based Sigmund Pumps Wartime Apprenticeship Scheme. Utilising archive materials and new oral history interviews with five wartime apprentices, I will examine the impact of the apprenticeship scheme on those involved. The Sigmund scheme was unique in that it was based on a more modern approach to skill training than was common in engineering at the time; apprentices were paid, they attended college, were trained in a number of engineering-related skills, and were provided with meals, medical check-ups and summer camps. This model was imported from Sigmund’s plants in Czechoslovakia – from where Miroslav Sigmund had fled Nazi invasion – and is one of the earliest ‘modern apprenticeships’ in a British context. This paper will examine how the scheme is reflected on by those involved, and in particular consider its impact on their subsequent career trajectories.
Andy Clark is a Research Associate with the Newcastle Oral History Collective. His research predominantly focuses on the impacts of deindustrialisation, particularly through an analysis of feminist, working-class radicalism in response to factory closure.