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Mining Review 19/3: People Who Matter - The Apprentice (1965)


Main image of Mining Review 19/3: People Who Matter - The Apprentice (1965)
Mining Review 19th Year No. 3: People Who Matter (1) - The Apprentice
November 1965
35mm, black and white, 5 mins
Production CompanyNational Coal Board Film Unit
SponsorNational Coal Board

Yorkshire teenager Malcolm Beach talks about his experience on the National Coal Board's mechanical apprenticeship scheme.

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John Slater's typically stentorian commentary promises another of Mining Review's dispassionate analyses - "For the coal industry of today and tomorrow, the apprentice becomes more and more important" - but the rest of the film is a far more personalised treatment of a single individual.

Teenager Malcolm Beach was the second successful applicant to join the National Coal Board's mechanical apprenticeship scheme. He and his parents are interviewed about the impact of his decision on their lives, and his day-to-day routine and what skills he's developing.

They also talk about their feelings about his career plans: his mother points out that she's a miner's daughter and that there are plenty of other miners in the family, though Malcolm's father was initially opposed. In what initially appears to be blatant pro-NCB propaganda, he explains that this was because he was unaware of the greater amount of training that apprentices get - though he also criticises the current scheme for what he sees as omissions.

They go on to describe Malcolm's personal life and interests (mostly sport), the film's clear intention being to emphasise his ordinariness. By stressing his parents' views, the film seems to be primarily aimed at their equivalents in the audience: people whose sons and daughters have yet to pick a career and might consider the attractions of the NCB scheme.

Michael Brooke

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