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The Rushden Echo and Argus, 24th August 1951, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Youth Evades Boot Industry
Only 24 new hands for Rushden works
Of the 122 school leavers in the Rushden district who have taken up employment during August, only 24 — 16 boys and eight girls — have entered the boot and shoe trade. Despite excellent training facilities which are available locally, and concentrated advertising, including cinema slides, the youngsters have again boycotted the staple industry.

In the shoe trade boys and girls both commence at a weekly wage of 41s. with graduated increases every half-year. There is a recruitment scheme within the industry which covers day school release on two (paid) half days a week over a period of three years. Every encouragement is also given to attend evening classes, the fees for which are paid by the manufacturers.

But, despite the predicted decline of the "white collar" occupations, 26 boys and girls have favoured clerical work. Engineering, agriculture and the building trade rate high in popularity among the boys, and office and shop work among the girls. Four who left school in July have entered a comparatively new local field as laboratory assistants.

Wage Points

It is not a case, in many instances, of receiving a higher commencing wage. True, the 15-year-old agricultural worker has 47s a week and the boy who chooses to deliver telegrams for the G.P.O. (bicycle provided) can earn 50s but these are the exceptions.

Apprentices to the engineering and building trades can only expect to receive 32s — the usual wage paid to the beginner — and 41s 6d is the top wage paid to boy shop assistants.

The girl who commences as an office junior generally receives between 35s-40s a week in Rushden, and the shop assistant 32s-40s.

In all, 70 boys and 52 girls have embarked on 23 different careers this month. Here is an analysis of the figures:

Boys: General engineering 6, general engineering (woodwork) 1, motor engineering 3, motor engineering (away from district) 1, electrical engineering 4, agriculture 4, building trade 8, furniture repairs 1, foundry apprentices 1, plastic manufacturers 1, iron ore mines (surveyor) 1, tool making apprentices 1, heating engineers 1, gas board technical assistants 1, G.P.O. 1, bakery and confectionery 1, laboratory assistants 1, clerical 10, boot and shoe 16, box manufacture 1.

Girls: G.P.O. 1, bakery and confectionery 1, laboratory assistants 3, retail distributive 14, clerical 16, boot and shoe 8, box manufacture 5, light clothing 1, printing 1, hairdressing 2, photographer's assistant 1.

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