Portsmouth Royal Dockyard

Shipbuilding Trades In 1952

Source: Hampshire Telegraph and Post, Friday, June 6, 1952

The training of apprentices on the strictly practical side in the Dockyard can be divided into three main groups. They are the Electrical Engineering, Constructive and Engineering Departments. All play their part in creating men of the high technical ability required by a modern Dockyard in all the trades necessary to the shipbuilding industry.

Pay and conditions are good. Apprentices are indentured for five years beginning at £1 16s. 3d. a week with yearly increases up to £5 4s. 3d. in the fifth year for a 44-hour week. One week's holiday with pay is given and, in addition, all Bank Holidays and special closed days. such as the Queen's Birthday, are given with pay. All apprentices are entitled to 13 weeks sick leave on full pay during any one year.

Tools are provided at a cheap rate from Admiralty stocks. Canteens are available and apprentices under 16 years of age receive a free voucher to the value of 1s. daily. Apprentices between 16 and 17 receive a sixpenny voucher daily. Travelling allowances are made for apprentices living more than five miles from the Dockyard by refunding any sum spent on bus or train over the first 3s. Apprentices living away from home are granted a maintenance allowance towards the cost of lodging, and very good hostel accommodation is available on the Southsea Front.

Ways for promotion are open by competitive examination for inspector, foreman and the Drawing Office. All apprentices are eligible to take part in these examinations after completion of training.

In the Constructive Department apprentices can take in such trades as Shipwright, Shipfitter, Plumber and Painter, all of which provide the comprehensive training for which the department is well known. The Electrical Engineering Department caters for the trades of Electrical Fitter and Electrical Station Fitter, and training has now been widened to cover the specialised field of electronics with its application to radio and radar equipment. The four main trades in the Engineering Department also offer ample scope for initiative and have excellent promotion prospects.

This is enough to indicate that boys in Portsmouth have far greater opportunities than their counterparts in most other towns outside heavy industrial areas because of the training available at the Dockyard - training that not only leads to unlimited scope for careers but which is also vital to the efficiency of the Navy and ultimately to the defence of Europe and the free world.