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Apprentice given the tools for the trade

An Alton apprentice has been given a great start in his new career thanks to a treasure trove of tools he has received from a generous resident.

Irene Fielding had been storing her husband’s tools in her shed for nearly 30 years but has given them a new lease of life by handing them over to Gould & Williams apprentice Luke Gavin.

Irene’s husband Tony worked as an aircraft engineer for British Aerospace. When he retired in the early 1990s, he brought three big boxes of tools home with him which he would occasionally use until his death five years ago.

Now the tools that saw Tony through his long career will give Luke the best start in his. Luke is one of 60 apprentices to have been supported by East Hampshire District Council’s scheme, which provides funding for apprentices’ transport and training costs.

Irene said: “I had these boxes of tools and I just didn’t know what to do with them. I thought it would be such a shame to take them to the tip.

“Then I saw the article in Partners Magazine which mentioned apprenticeships, so I contacted the council to see if anyone could make good use of Tony’s old tools.

“What a good idea! My husband would have been so pleased to know that some young people would benefit from all his old tools and what’s more it clears out the shed as well.”

Tim Goulding, Director of Gould & Williams, said: “Personally, I am very enthusiastic about training apprentices. They will be the people working in and managing the factories in the future and sustaining our engineering industry.

“The partnership between employers and local councils is vital in encouraging the training of these young people in the skills required.

“Having an apprentice in your business is all about handing over our knowledge to the next generation to give them the tools to get the best start in life - and in this case, thanks to Irene we are doing that literally!”

Cllr Glynis Watts, EHDC Portfolio Holder for Economy and Placemaking, said: “We are proud to be able to support local businesses across the district and encourage them to take on apprentices and help develop the workforce of the future.

“It’s wonderful to see these tools passed on to a new generation where they will be put to good use.”

You can find out more about the Get East Hants Working initiative and how EHDC supports apprenticeships at


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