Last week I was on the Cote de Wincobank and it gave me the idea to go back and see what I could find of the remains of my time at British steel on Sheffield Rd. I couldn’t get into the yard of the training centre, even though I managed to attract somebodies attention. I would have liked to have got a picture of the front entrance we all went in, but I will go back some time during the middle of the week and get a picture.
I did a fantastic apprenticeship at British steel from 1981 to 1985. I was a Process control and instrumentation technician, but also had to learn all the other craft apprenticeships for a month: fitting, welding,turning and machining, electrical.
I also did day release at Rotherham college of arts and technology where I gained an ONC and HNC in industrial measurement and control. I also ended up doing a week or so draughtsman training at the River don works, went to college for a week to learn about all the furnaces and had a great week at the Hollowford training centre at Castleton.
Two years of the training was at the training centre, we then had to do two years training across the various Process Control and instrumentation departments at British Steel Rotherham: Central workshops Ickles, Heat treatment Ickles, Brinsworth strip mills, S.P.E.A.R., Aldwarke, Aldwarke Lane Data centre, Swinden Laboratories and Roundwood.
When I first went for an interview at the training centre, the men were on strike and the steel industry never really recovered after this. I completed my HNC a year ahead of schedule, but British steel wouldn’t let me carry on and complete my HND at the same time they wouldn’t give me a permanent job.
I was offered an interview at Midland Bank with their Telecom department. I wasn’t successful to start with, but eventually I was given a
position in their Voice department. It was such a shame that there was no way I could have gone into development at British Steel.
These are some of the names I remember from my apprenticeship: Paul Eyre, Sid Brookes, Dave Heighington, Simon Hurrel. Sorry if I spelt anybody’s surname wrong. Dave Heighington came to Midland Bank with me and most likely is still there. Paul Eyre was at Corus Stocksbridge the last I heard. As far as I know Sid Brookes is still at British Steel. I don’t know what happened to Simon.
Gary Denton was a year above me in the apprenticeship. I remember Tony Phillips at Alwarke. Many other names slip my mind, but I never forget a face. Please get in touch if you remember me!
One night I was Salsa dancing in Sheffield and I got a tap on my shoulder from a police van and was shocked to see Lance who was one of the electricians and had moved into the police force. I can remember one guy I worked with on the steel plant coming into Midland Bank to fix a printer.
I can’t forget Don Small who was my training instructor, an ex Raf technician.
At the time I never received a certificate to say I had done the apprenticeship, all people have is my word on that.
All the best