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