19.12.18 Past Master Martin Payne

Coachmakers funds joint apprenticeship with the Wheelwrights


Pictured above: Chairman of Wealden Works Rupert Simmons, Past Master Martin Payne, apprentice Tom Carroll, Master Wheelwright Douglas Andrews , and Master Wheelwright Master of the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights Bert Wiegman

The origins of all Livery Companies include the need for financial stability, standardisation in the production of the trade/profession and above all, the continuity of apprenticeship schemes to encourage young students not only in the relevant trade but also to keep alive traditional skills, writes Past Master Martin Payne.

Keeping those traditional skills alive and relevant is particularly important for the Coachmakers whose origins can be found in early coach building. It is also encouraging when two or more Livery Companies share a common interest in supporting such an endeavour.
To illustrate this further, a joint apprenticeship between the Wheelwrights and the Coachmakers has been established to support Tom Carroll, who is learning the skills required to make coach wheels employing carpentry skills using many traditional tools.

Tom Carroll ‘s route to becoming an apprentice
“When I first contacted Wealden Works, I was looking for a career change and decided gaining electrician qualifications was the best choice. After a chat with the Wealden Works team it was suggested that carpentry may be more suited to my talents and that a work trial could be arranged to identify the best route to follow,” says Tom.

Apprentice Tom at work

Apprentice Tom at work

“I met Douglas Andrews, a local Master Wheelwright, completed a work trial and realised carpentry was definitely a route I wished to pursue, (as this suited previous work experience I had gained in forestry). I was delighted to be offered a job.

“Being the first apprentice under the joint Wheelwrights and Coachmakers Livery scheme is a great honour and opportunity as there are many parties invested in the success of the apprenticeship. Recently I had the great opportunity to go to London and meet people from both livery companies and saw the enthusiasm, passion and commitment they all have to the continuation of the craft and its traditions. I have also been invited to meet the Lord Mayor of London, which is a great honour.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the help, guidance and support Wealden works has given me throughout the process of finding and securing the apprenticeship with Doug. Especially dealing with the many different parties involved with getting everything over the line.”

For more information about Tom’s apprenticeship, visit http://dougandrews.webmate.me/dougs.wheelwrighting/The_workers.html