Engineering as a Career: Brush Recruitment in the 1940s and 50s

4 August 2015

Loughborough resident Mr Roy M Horne has sent in a copy of ‘Engineering as a Career‘ – an old brochure produced in the late 1940s/early 1950s to advertise apprenticeship opportunities at The Brush.  A former Brush apprentice himself, Mr Horne features in one of the photographs in the brochure.

Mr Horne came to Loughborough from Barnsley in 1947 and spent his first six months at the apprentice training centre in Regent Street.  He boarded at the Gables on Forest Road, one of two hostels operated by the Brush at that time.  Formerly a family residence, the Gables is now used to accommodate Loughborough College students.

An apprenticeship is a way for unskilled – often young – workers to learn the skills of their chosen career whilst at the same time earning a wage.  Apprentices work alongside members of the skilled workforce, instructed by them and practicing skills they learn more about during frequent periods of study at a local college.  Apprenticeships are offered in many different areas of the world of work and trainees often work their way through several different processes of a company before specialising in one specific area at the end of their training.

The Brush was just one of a large number of firms in the town which trained its workforce in this way.  The programmes of study they followed built on the earlier, groundbreaking scheme initiated at  Loughborough’s Instructional Factory by Herbert Schofield in 1915.

The Brush continues to train apprentices, both school leavers and at graduate level, who still learn through a mixture of on-the-job training and a programme of study delivered by Loughborough College.  Whilst in Mr Horne’s day all engineering apprentices were male, it is much more common for female students to take up engineering apprenticeships.

Read Mr Horne’s memories of his apprenticeship and subsequent career at the Brush.

Watch a clip of the Brush Electric Company’s workforce leaving the Falcon Works in 1900.

Read about the Gable’s earlier history as a family residence.

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