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Rushden Echo, Friday, April 3, 1964, transcribed by Kay Collins
Rushden training scheme for women in shoe industry

PERHAPS one of the most comprehensive training schemes for girls entering the boot and shoe trade is in operation at the John White Footwear, Ltd training school in Wellingborough Road, Rushden.

At the present time 16 young girls—all hoping to become top machinists in the closing room which the firm has opened at Ammanford, between Swansea and Carmarthen—are undertaking a six-week course designed by Satra, before returning to their Welsh homes—and their new factory.

During the six weeks the girls receive basic training for closing-room work. They learn how to thread up their machine needles and bobbins, and work to a target time. They graduate to straight machining and finally to machining curves.

No experience

They are also given marks for the quality and accuracy of their work—an all-important factor in todays' competitive market.

Mrs. Ivy Hunter, the instructress in charge of the training scheme, knows after the first three weeks of the course almost exactly which job will suit each girl's individual capabilities.

Of the 16 girls now at the training school, two have never been in factories before and who had no machine experience before they left Wales, are well on the way to becoming under-edge trimmers—one of the most highly-skilled jobs in the closing-room.

Three girls are likely to become mudguard machinsts, which is another skilled operation, two others should become efficient side hands and another will be a back strap machinist.

Progress charts

The rest of the girls will do other closing room jobs such as machining linings and tongues.

Progress charts for each girl are kept and the trainees are given the incentive to learn quickly by trying to reach a set target for each part of their training.

As well as the more practical work on the machines, the girls are given demonstrations and talks by Mrs Hunter, who has been putting the John White training programme into operation at the Wellingborough Road factory for the past 12 months.

In charge

Together with Mrs Hunter helping to train the girls is Miss Ann King, who comes from near Ammanford and who has herself undergone the training scheme. Miss King will be in charge of training girls for the closing room when she returns to Ammanford.

Altogether three parties of girls from the Ammanford region have received their training at Rushden and when the Welsh girls have finished the course taking place at present, school-leavers and other young girls from the Rushden and Corby areas will start.

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