Steve Hewitt - Thick Penny Forge

Posted: 06/09/2011

Author: Andrew Crystal

Category: None Specified

Award-winning Yorkshire farrier Steve Hewitt, of Thick Penny Forge at Moor Monkton near York, has spent more than half of his 20-year career training apprentices. In the last few years he has seen significant changes – not least a significant rise in the age of apprentices and substantially more female applicants.

Steve Hewitt, Approved Training Farrier (ATF)

Steve Hewitt, Approved Training Farrier (ATF)

“Once you’re qualified, the world is your oyster because this is the only country where you can qualify then shoe anywhere.”

Steve’s work helps others gain a qualification they can use anywhere in the world as well as the opportunity to run their own business.

Training keeps Steve skills up-to-date and he runs courses for established farriers. He sees great potential in continued training for qualified people – including professionals together.

"Training had been something at the back of my mind; that it might be nice to pass on what I knew. The prod came when I was approached by a lad’s parents to take him on after school.

"Since then 16 apprentices have qualified with me – 99% going off to work for themselves. Farriery is a job you have got to want to do because it’s a demanding job.

"An apprenticeship is four years and two months, starting with eight weeks when either side can walk away without any obligation. It’s a tripartheid arrangement between the apprentice, their ATF and the Farriery Training Agency.

Apprentices take an NVQ2 in Farriery, their diploma from the Worshipful Company of Farriers and time served, the four years two months. Steve gets 50 or 60 letters for each intake in January and July.

There’s a lot of theory as well as practice, which some apprentices find more difficult.

“Nowadays there are lots more female farriers and older apprentices – I have one now who at 46 is older than me. Today around 50% of applicants are female, which has only happened in the last few years.

“Once you’re qualified, the world is your oyster because this is the only country where you can qualify then shoe anywhere. Three of my lads worked in Australia and the US before starting on their own back here.”

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