TEENAGER Robert Nelson is taking an old fashioned route to a career in engineering - thanks to a newly launched scheme by a Midland-based company.
The 16-year-old from Walsall Wood has been taken on as a craft apprentice by Aldridge engineering company Kepston Q-Fab.
Robert is in good company at the firm - his 36 year old mum Karen, a trained engineer, also works there.
She says: "Robert has always wanted to be an engineer and had written to many of the major companies for a job. He spent two weeks at Kepston on work experience and they were so impressed with him they offered him the apprenticeship."
The five year training scheme was launched this year in memory of the company's late chairman George Millage.
Mr Millage had placed great store on his own apprenticeship with Joseph Lucas in Great King Street, Birmingham, and it was felt that a scheme to help budding young engineers would be a fitting tribute.
Robert will undergo a three year craft apprenticeship, followed by two years specialisation in project, quality or sales engineering.
"For this work you need to have a practical, logical mind and the ability to solve problems," Karen says.
Operations Manager Ray Waspe says: "We aim to combine the best aspects of traditional apprenticeships from the past with the current best training concepts such as NVQ's and Lifelong Learning.
"This will produce a package to satisfy both Robert's individual development needs and the requirements of the company over the coming years."
ENGINEERING JOB FILE
ENGINEERS probably have a wider choice of environment in which to work, and of type of job, than any other professionals. Engineers have a hand in the creation of anything in use anywhere.
Engineering craftsmen and women are skilled workers who need theoretical knowledge to understand the principles behind the operations they carry out and to solve basic problems.
Further information: Engineering Council, 10 Maltravers St, London WC2R 3ER.
Engineering Training Authority, Vector House, 41 Clarendon Road, Watford, WD1 1HS.
New course in
The growing popularity of Balti curries has led to a Birmingham college introducing a new NVQ course in ethnic cookery.
The course, the first of its kind in the country, is designed to train chefs to the highest standards for the hundreds of ethnic restaurants in the city.
As well as traditional British, European and American style dishes students at South Birmingham college are being taught the art of Caribbean, Japanese, Chinese, tandoori and balti cooking.
Tutor Keith Davies says: "This unique NVQ has been specially developed to answer local employment needs - there are around 56 Balti restaurants in the Sparkhill and Sparkbrook area."
The training centre also incorporates a restaurant, 'Karibunis', where the public can sample world cuisine for as little as pounds 3.50.
Birmingham children have been discovering the importance of clear communication in the workplace by visiting a busy insurance call centre.
The year nine pupils from Kings Norton High School sat in with a customer sales training course at Direct Line Insurance and shadowed staff to see how they handled telephone inquiries.
A Birmingham-based record producer is hoping to discover new musical talent in the city in order to launch somebody into a career in pop.
John Purser has teamed up with Paul Holmes, the former lead singer of the band Deuce, to form Scallywag Productions.
They are looking for solo artists or duos who perform pop or R'n'B music. Send a demo tape to Scallywag Productions, 172 Middleton Hall Road, Birmingham, B30 1DP.
Is my job
dream too ambitious?