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Mining apprenticeship in Northumberland: a study of young workers aspirations and ambitions

Ellison, T. (1974) Mining apprenticeship in Northumberland: a study of young workers aspirations and ambitions. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Between 1965 and 1971 the National Coal Board operated a scheme of training for boys entering the industry and this course was known as the Mining Apprenticeship Scheme. It was a nominal four years in length and the primary aim was to secure for the Board a steady supply of underground workers who had been trained in a comprehensive range of underground work and who would be suitably knowledgeable about aspects of the work to be considered for promotion to supervisory posts such as shotfirer, deputy, overman, etc. Throughout its existence the scheme was dogged by high wastage in the form of boys voluntarily leaving before completion of training. This thesis is a report of a study carried out in the South East Northumberland coal field of career aspirations of boys entering the Mining Apprenticeship scheme with a view to explaining wastage. In normal usage in industry the term apprenticeship refers to a period of training after which an individual becomes eligible for skilled membership of a craft-type trade union, and in this sense the term was wrongly applied to the Mining Apprenticeship scheme as successful completion of it did not serve as a qualification for membership of any trade union. The main conclusion of the study is that boys who typically entered the Mining Apprenticeship scheme aspired to skilled craft status and that whereas the Mining Apprenticeship was called apprenticeship by the Board it did not in practice (unlike the Craft Apprenticeship training carried out by the Board) offer such status upon completion. The boys who left the scheme went to jobs which might commonly be supposed to offer inferior prospects to those offered by the NCB but in the industrial relations sense they were little different in the minds of the boys from being a ‘pit yacker’.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1974
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:28

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