Working Lives

Education from Experience or from College? (1970s)

Cyril expresses his opinion on whether experience or education is the key to success in the steel works.

I am 84 years of age – after serving in the Navy I was employed by a large Steelworks as a Labourer.

In days gone by a Labourer could work his way up the ladder of success to the post of tester – a tester was able to look and sense when the steel bubbling in the furnace was READY TO POUR……… to be wrong would mean thousands of pounds loss to the company and of course a very shameful return to the post of labourer. In 1970 it was decided to bring in Chemist Graduates to do this job. I was demoted but it was quite a joke in the factory when the “Graduates” who took the samples away came back and asked us did we think the steel was ready to pour. One even went as far as to say he thought our experience more reliable than his chemistry result.

Submitted by Cyril in 2009.

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