A Day in the Life of a Young Sheffield Steel Worker

Training: How I learn to do my job

2000s:

"On Mondays we are at college on a what we call a day release where we will do about 11 hours of study so that we can obviously pass our exams and then progress to the next year."

1950s:

"When I first started. You were, you were taught by the peers around you, don’t go down there, one of first things I learnt, don’t pick a piece of, pick a metal up unless you spit on it.
That’s right…Spit on it. And if it goes ‘ssss’ you don’t pick it up do you, ‘cause quite a few of my mates, you know, burnt their hands so, you know that were one of first things I can remember."

1850s:

"Workers learn their trades in a variety of ways. It remains the general custom for children or young persons to be employed not directly by the manufacturer but as apprentice or servants to the men who work by the piece. Robert Newbert aged 15 told me ‘ I’m an apprentice to the tilter until I'm 21. I’ve been with him a year and a half, or so, I live with him and get my meat and my clothes but no wages, that’s the usual way."

Questions:


  • Which is the right image for each time period?
  • How do you think the training compares between the time periods and which seems to offer the best training for apprentice?
  • In which time period would an apprentice steel worker be most likely to go to college to study the subject as well?
  • In which time period do you think the young steel worker would not get paid whilst being trained?



 
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