The transition of Schoolboy to Apprentice and the slow progression to the rank of Tradesman or Journeyman within engineering, was an arduous time and truly a learning experience.




The boy stood tall and scrawny, tow upon his head;

His arms they were not brawny, all confidence had fled.


The Engineers glared at him from ‘neath each oily brow;

Everywhere dark and grim, no smiles did it allow.


Foreman sighted on the floor, cue for some to hammer;

With the thumping din and roar, no need for fancy grammar.


The Boss then crooked a finger and brought him to the bench;

Said he, “Your’re not to linger, there’s the tools and wrench”.


“Start dismantling what you see.  I’ll watch what you do;

Any problems come to me, you’re always in my view”.


Thus, the days of the Engineer began on leaving school;

Machines and metal his career, Micrometer and Steel Rule.


Molten mass of iron poured, the lathe’s turning bite;

Tedious technicalities explored, things to get just right.


Cutting of the rolled steel joist, welding of the steel;

Repairs to the raising hoist, calibration of a wheel.


These are things the boy learned progressing to a man;

Guided by all those concerned in the engineering plan.


In manhood he stood brawny, cap upon his head;

His arms no longer scrawny, doubts erased and fled.


Monty Alexander 2.8.98



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