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RAF Museum Apprentice excels at skills awards

Published on: 25 June 2015

An Apprentice at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford has won an award at the Sheet Metal Skills Competition, organised by the Institute of Sheet Metal Engineering (I.S.M.E.).

The awards were held at the Morgan Motoring Company, Malvern earlier this month and Museum Apprentice Matthew Treanor-Cartwright, aged 20 from Stoke-on-Trent, beat off tough competition to win the category of ‘Best Written Document’ for his report on a test piece – a ducting made from sheet steel and copper rivets.

RAF Museum Apprentice, Matthew Treanor-Cartwright

Apprentices from all over the UK had to complete the same test piece following instructions given by the I.S.M.E. including; drawings for component details, dimensions and tolerances, materials to be used, and methods of joining. All test pieces were submitted with an accompanying written document describing how and why the various techniques were chosen and applied. Pieces were judged and marked on the dimensional accuracy, finish, written work, suitability of seam and joints and the quality of workmanship.

In addition to the ducting and written document, Matthew also entered a piece into the Open Class category where entrants could submit an article of their own choice using any type of sheet metal. There were no restrictions on the design of the work piece or on the materials used, the only stipulation being that the piece uses sheet metal as the principal material. Matthew entered a trim tab for the tail plane of the Handley Page Hampden, an aircraft he has been working on in the Museum’s Conservation Centre.

The Sheet Metal Skills Competition provides a great opportunity for young people to measure their skills against others in the sheet metal industry. The awards event was attended by Matthew, accompanied by the Museum’s Training Manager Mick Shepherd. Whilst members of I.S.M.E. we’re judging the entries, competitors and trainers were given tours of the Morgan Motors factory. Winners were later presented with their winner’s certificates and prizes.

RAF Museum Apprentice, Matthew Treanor-Cartwright said:
“I was really happy to win the award for my written report on the ducting piece. It’s important in manufacturing to keep a written record of how something is made in order for the next generation to learn the processes and the skills.

RAF Museum Training Manager, Mick Shepherd said:
“Matthew is an excellent Apprentice and has shown great potential since he started with us. In addition to his work at the Conservation Centre, Matthew has successfully completed a Welder/Fabricator Technical Certificate with City of Wolverhampton College.

During his apprenticeship so far, Matthew has worked on a variety of projects which have included repairs to the centre fuselage, rear fuselage and tail fin assembly of our Handley Page Hampden Bomber. He has also been a vital part of the team that looked after the initial decontamination and deep cleaning of our Dornier Do17. He is currently manufacturing another trim tab for the Hampden and has just taken on the responsibility for repairing the tail of our MK19 Spitfire.

In the aircraft engineering world it’s often said that the job is not finished until the paperwork is done and that is equally important in the museum world, where the record of the work Matthew does will become a vital part of our archive and history of the aircraft he works on. Needless to say we are all delighted that he won this award”

Matthew Treanor-Cartwright with his ducting test piece Matthew working on the Spitfire M19

The RAF Museum’s Apprenticeship scheme began in 2005, due to a shortage of people with the hand skills required to look after its historic aircraft collection. The Museum began running apprenticeships for heritage aircraft engineers who soon proved to be a source of enthusiastic, reliable, trustworthy, capable and safe pairs of extra hands. Nurtured by the Museum’s Aircraft Technicians, master craftsman in their trade, the Apprentices rapidly developed their hand-skills and their work is now enthusiastically incorporated into Museum exhibits for future generations to admire. The Apprentices are a vital asset in the Museum’s team and have enabled the Museum to be less reliant on outside contractors and to keep more work in house under its direct control.

For more information about the RAF Museum Cosford call 01902 376200.

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