John Martin left school at 15 years old in December 1959 with no formal qualifications. He then started his remarkable journey to becoming a professional engineer by obtaining an apprenticeship with Eastern Electricity starting in September 1960.
The first 9 months of his training was spent at Eastern Electricity’s training college in Harrold Hill, London. He travelled there by train every Sunday evening spending 4 days at the college before returning to Norwich late Thursday each week.
A bicycle and a 10 mile journey
With no other means than a bicycle for his 10 mile journey, John attended City College Norwich for three study periods on a Friday of each week: 9am-12pm, 2pm-5pm and 6pm-9pm.
John attended City College Norwich for a total of 8 years on a mixture of day release or block release, undertaking eight different courses to develop his skills:
- 1960-61: Preliminary Technician
- 1961-62: General Engineering Year 1
- 1962-63: General Engineering Year 2
- 1963-64: ONC Engineering Year 1
- 1964-65: ONC Year 2
- 1965-66: Higher National Certificate Electrical Year 1
- 1966-67: HNC Electrical Year 2
- 1967-68: City & Guilds Utilization of Electrical Energy & Industrial Electronics
At the time, all of the exams were held in the main hall near the front entrance. They were three hours long with one in the morning and another in the afternoon.
Certificates were posted to you (there were no formal presentations like those held today) and John still has all his certificates from across the years.
This includes one for the Higher National Certificate in Maths, for which he used study books written by City College Norwich staff Mr S W Bell and Mr H Matley, which are still available to purchase today!
Apprentice to professional engineer
John’s career was as an apprentice electrician up until 1965. Once he qualified as an electrician, he decided to progress further becoming a student engineer in 1966 and subsequently a professional engineer with Eastern Electricity in 1968.
What an amazing achievement for somebody who left school with no formal qualifications. A great example of how with determination and the right training you can achieve anything!