My kitchen taps came loose - for the second time - and as the Plumber lives just round the corner I asked him to slip in and tighten them for me. This morning at around half past ten two young men turned up. One has worked for the Plumber for several years and has been before - a nice young man. The other was a much younger lad, maybe around seventeen, who just watched. (Both were masked and we all three sanitised before they went). The older of the two is no longer an apprentice, having worked for the same plumber for some years he is now fully qualified. The younger has just begun his training to become a Plumber and is loving it. We had a laugh because the one in charge left me a tiny spanner so that in future I could tighten them myself (this particular type is prone to working loose because of the action of turning on the tap). He showed me how to work the thing and started to explain about which way to turn the thing. At this point I told him he needn't explain because several years ago, when speaking about tightening and loosening my friend W said she always remembered by the phrase 'lefty loosy, righty tighty' - and this has since become my mantra.
We laughed as the younger lad blushed and said he still couldn't remember which way to turn a spanner or a screw driver so we told him to remember the phrase.
It was refreshing to see a young man going into a trade like this. I am sure somebody will tell me why and when it stopped being the thing to take on an official Apprentice. But it is good to see it coming back into fashion. They used to be Indentured - not sure that that is back but looks as though it is a start. Does anybody know.
It does call to mind my teaching life - I was teaching at the change-over from Secondary Modern to Comprehensive Education in the early seventies and was in fact appointed as a Head of Department in a new Comprehensive School which incorporated two girls' Secondary Modern and two boys' Secondary Modern. Many of the staff at the time bemoaned the fact that subjects like Woodwork, Metalwork, Cookery (Domestic Science) and Needlework seemed to be downgraded as though they were of little importance compared with subjects which would lead to University. And what followed was a difficulty in finding good, qualified workers in the Building Trade - joiners, electricians, bricklayers and the like. Perhaps the wheel has turned full circle. Perhaps somebody who has more recently been in Education can enlighten me. After all I have now been retired since 1984.