Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Meeting Tariq 5.11.2014

The view from the apprentices'
My name is Tariq Abdel-Rahim but in the month that I have been at Harker's Yard I have acquired a number of different aliases of which Darius seems to have stuck. (Don't ask!) Joining the team was rather spontaneous for me and came about very luckily. I was starting my gap year and scrolling on the internet looking for a job when I noticed the apprenticeship space. Then, when I was building a box to bring with me to the interview, I found that woodwork appealed to me more than I'd ever had the chance to know.

For me this apprenticeship is everything I need and it just seemed to fall into place. There is the perfect mix of independent and team work and a brilliant sense of satisfaction. I think some people are put off by the sound of an apprenticeship because the pay is lower and it sounds like a perfect opportunity to be ripped of by an employer. But here at Pioneer they have been very professional in terms of my training, arranging what I will be doing in a such way that there is maximum benefit to me as well as to them.
Tariq, posing with his file

I do eight hours of lessons a week with John: two morning and two afternoon sessions, half theory and half practical. I find that these take away any feeling of monotony in the laying-up (cold-moulding) work which can be a little repetitive if there's nothing in between. The challenge of the cold-moulding is fitting each plank to the right size, not covering myself with glue and then finding my way around all the different tools and machinery and such like. The lessons are the other side which might feel irrelevant until a certain moment and then every thing you've learned intertwines to make the job a whole lot easier.

The team here have made me feel very welcome and I have already made good friends. This type of work allows you to choose whether you want to socialise or stick some earplugs in and ignore the world (as long as you get the work done). I agree with what Abbey said about 'healthy banter'. It's never unkind and people will soon lay off if they see that you're not in the mood. Personally I enjoy it. The workshop atmosphere makes it really easy to get to know one another and it never feels awkward to ask for help.

Battening applied to hold down the
second skin while the glue dries
They are very keen on their health and safety here, which is good. I have found that most things anyway are just part of a series of small mistakes that I hope I'll only make once – like running my finger across the sharp edge of a plane and then wondering why I'm bleeding. However leaving all little things like that aside I feel very safe using the machinery and tools as it's been explained so thoroughly what I should and shouldn't do.

Progress on the gig
All in all I'm happy to be here. I've learned a lot already – though I'm not saying I don't have a long way to go – and each day seems to offer a new challenge, so that there will be nothing to get bored about any time soon. I look forward to my first sail on Pioneer and all the fun stuff that the crew seem to get up to every now and then. There's been rumours of clay pigeon shooting over Christmas so that will be exciting. And then I just happened to look at the view out of the window from the apprentices' workshop and I thought – yes!

Tariq is 18. He took A levels in Economics, Sociology and Psychology and was all set to continue on the academic path and study Osteopathy at university after taking a gap year. He has no background in boats though he'd often wondered what it would be like to go sailing. It was the experience of building his tool box to bring to the interview that first made him realise how much he enjoys working with his hands. (JJ)

Tariq's tool box -
only a saw and a sledgehammer so far

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