The "Alternative Apprenticeship" originally consisted of:
- two years of technical college resulting in an Ordinary National Diploma in Marine Engineering
- two years of college vacations spent at designated heavy engineering industries throughout the UK
- the third year and a half spent as an Engineer Cadet aboard one of the company's oil tankers
- the final year spent at a ship-building company on the Tyne or the Clyde

Apprentices in 1956The first two years of my Apprenticeship were spent at Acton Technical College in West London. Our classes were known as Dip. I and Dip. II Marine. I successfully achieved the Ordinary National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering, endorsed for Marine Engineering in July 1957. The photograph on the left, was taken in Acton in 1956 and shows class members from various companies, namely: Esso, Caltex, Shell, British India, Bank Line.

Day visit to British Progress, 1956During the college vacations of 1956 and 1957, I was sent to gain Heavy Engineering experience. In 1956, at Thom Lamont, a pump manufacturer in Paisley, Scotland. In 1957, to South Shields Marine and Technical College at The Tyne.
The picture on the left was a company organized day visit to the British Progress, at the Isle of Grain Oil Refinery in Kent.
My year of Heavy Engineering was spent from Sept 1957 to Sept 1958 at the Isle of Grain Oil Refinery, working in all parts of the refinery. Of special interest was four weeks in the Oil Tanker loading section, which allowed lots of time to visit company ships.

Tea time with Alfie ThomasonThe last phase of the Apprenticeship was commenced on Sept. 5th 1958, when I joined my first ship, M.V. British Empress at the Isle of Grain. I stayed with this ship until it was laid up at Methil in Scotland of March 28th 1959. After that I joined the S.S. British Justice on the 8th of May, 1959. I sailed on her until she went to drydock in Falmouth on the 5th of February 1960. My apprenticeship was completed on the 18th of March, 1960.
The picture on the left, is a self-portrait of myself and Alfie Thomason, another apprentice, taking a tea break after Cabin Cleaning.

This photograph was used in the 1957 Engineering Apprentices Newsletter #14. The apprentice on the right, in a shirt and tie(not in my time!!), is C. Shepheard, a 1952 or 1953 intake apprentice.

1957 BP Apprentices Document
Main Engine bearing scraping. This is the last phase of the apprenticeship training which took place at a shipyard. This apprentice is J.R. Barlow, with whom I'm in contact, a 1952 intake apprentice.

1957 BP Apprentices DocumentThese are two well-groomed, devout, studious apprentices. Must be extremely good promotional material, future Chief Engineers.
I believe these two apprentices are C. Shepard and H.G. Cattanach.