Preston watchmaker fights the corner for apprentices

The Watch Lab, a   Preston based business created a training scheme and currently  has five  staff training to become watchmakers, with three currently taking an apprenticeship with the North Lancs Training Group.
The Watch Lab, a Preston based business created a training scheme and currently has five staff training to become watchmakers, with three currently taking an apprenticeship with the North Lancs Training Group.
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A group of apprentices are clocking on to a study programme with a difference.

They are all learning to become watchmakers, thanks to a programme initiated by their boss.

Apprentices learning the trade

Apprentices learning the trade

When Colin Andrews FBHI, head of service centre and technical support at Preston-based The Watch Lab, wanted to learn the trade, he struggled to find a way in.

So, in a bid to improve training and get more people into the profession, he created his own scheme.

Colin said: “It was very disappointing for me that, when I wanted to get into the industry, there were no apprenticeship opportunities.

"Most smaller businesses can’t afford the potential risk and investment of time in taking on an apprentice, and most larger companies rely on recruiting overseas talent.”

He created a training plan so trainees could grow from having no prior experience to a commercially skilled watchmaker in five years, which proved so successful that within a year The Watch Lab has five staff going through the training programme, three of them working with North Lancs Training.

Colin said: “ It is incredibly satisfying that we can take a school leaver who isn’t sure want to do with their

future, and by the age of 21 have given them recognised qualifications in a specialised skill, a promising career with more opportunities worldwide.”