Smith of Derby invests in clock-making apprentices

Smith of Derby is investing in the future generations of the business with the employment of two new apprentice clock-makers.

Posted on 31 March, 2015


We are delighted to welcome to the team Mitchell Eaton,18, and Dominic Hilton,18, who are both from Derby and who have recently begun working at the company’s headquarters in the city. They have also been spending much of their time shadowing our clockmaking team installing and servicing clocks around the UK. 

 Mitchell and Dominic will be trained in the art of clock making and engineering whilst continuing their education at Derby College one day a week through Learning Unlimited. 

 Nicholas Smith, the company’s president, said: “The future of UK engineering and manufacturing relies on training young people and we are delighted to welcome two new apprentices to the business.

“I spent years shadowing my father. We are a company with a long history of offering apprenticeships, which we believe are the backbone of this country’s very strong tradition of manufacturing.”

Bob Betts, Managing Director, said that John Smith I, who started the business more than 150 years ago, was himself an apprentice clockmaker to John Whitehurst III.

He said: “Clockmaking is a highly skilled trade, using both intricate traditional hand skills combined with the most up-to-date technology, and we have found through the generations that encouraging young people to learn is the best way to ensure the longevity of the business and to keep the traditional skills of clock making alive. 

“Young people have the enthusiasm and the energy to learn and are the future of the company. It is a process we have always believed in and stood by, and it has always stood us in good stead.”

Smith of Derby create and maintain some of the UK and world’s most iconic clocks, including St Paul’s Cathedral, the Swiss Glockenspiel in London’s Leicester Square, the Customs House in Shanghai and Waldorf Astoria in RAK, UAE.

Its last apprenticeship programme was five years ago and one of the young men on that scheme, Richard Cox, is now fully trained and is training up the latest newcomers. The company is also helping a third employee, Kirstie Davies, 17, through an NVQ in customer service.

Mitchell, who is also studying for a Level 3 BTEC in engineering, said: “I have always been interested in the heritage and tradition of church clocks and this is a fantastic opportunity to learn and create a career for myself in this area.

“This apprenticeship interested me as I have the opportunity to travel as well as learn a traditional skill and study for a BTEC in engineering.” 

Dominic, who has completed a level 3 BTEC in engineering, said: “My aim is to continually train, learn about clocks and to become a skilled craftsman. Hopefully I will follow in the footsteps of my colleagues and have a long and interesting career at Smith of Derby, I might be lucky enough to retire here!


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