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A Day in the Life of a Young Sheffield Steel Worker
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A Day in the Life of a Young Sheffield Steel Worker Today

A day in the life of a young Sheffield steel worker today

Hi my name is Johnny. I’m an apprentice electrician in the Melting shop. I’m 19, I started work at Forge masters around about six months ago, October 2007.

I’m Sam Booth. I am a maintenance electrician apprentice. I started work here October the first, 2007 and I’m currently 17.

Well I used to come in on my pedal bike, that wasn’t very nice and obviously it was in winter and I had to ride three or four miles to get in. now I’m coming in my very nice very dainty car and park basically wherever you want as long as you’re out of the way and you’re not going to get smacked by a truck.

Obviously all the PP, Personal protective equipment, needed to be issued the first day we arrived. So on my first day I remember following my manager around the stores. I got piled with two pairs of wool trousers, a jacket, a helmet, a pair of shoes, glasses and I couldn't see where I was going I had that much protective clothing on me.

Well since we are on our first year, we will normally do eight till four, Monday to Friday.

Well the original clocking machines are still there but obviously they are redundant now. You can still hear it clicking every so often, every minute but we actually get this it's like a small device. On the first day they gave us all a swipe card and when you're clocking in and out all you have to do is swipe it straight down. And as long as you are on time you are all right.

On Mondays we are at college on a what we call a day release where we will do about 11 hours of study so that we can obviously pass our exams and then progess to the next year.

We all have our individual danger tags so that we are able to lock off a switch, isolating it meaning we can work on a circuit or a piece of machinery without fear that someone is going to come up and think why is this off. Obviously preventing us from getting about 10,000 volts in there. It's not locked for no reason.

Obviously at work there is a lot of open windows everywhere so it does get very cold so we've got a few fires lying around everywhere so you can stop and warm up a bit.

Really have one break per day. It will be a one-hour break just for you to have your lunch and just relax and have a cup of tea and read the paper for a bit.

You can do what you want basically; you can got to the shops, the sandwich shops. As long as you are back in time they are fine with it.

Really we shouldn’t be playing any games such as darts and you'll not actually find any darts boards or any games.
Well at things like Christmas they will go to the dog tracks together and all put bets on and that and maybe got to the pub after or, but usually they keep to themselves so a lot of them are hanging around with their missus and that's about it really.

About one hundred and fifty pounds we end up for forty hours on week.

My first packet went, half of it towards my mum, and then, with finally having some money after bummin’ around for a bit, I went an’ bought lots o’ sweets actually. [Laughter] Lots and lots o’ sugar.

And some off things that we saw at first, like being in melt shop obviously there’s massive ladles of steel being moved around, steel pouring outta furnaces, almighty noises that make you jump out your skin at first, don’t they? And you get used to it after a while but I still look around and find everything absolutely amazing. It’s absolutely brilliant.

It’s like a family and everybody looks after everyone else.