Alvis apprentices – learning the trade

The Alvis apprenticeship scheme was always well regarded by managers in the automotive industry because it gave young technicians and engineers a thorough grounding in the skills they would need to succeed.

The Alvis programme was a five-year apprenticeship – plus six month probation period – and it was always very popular among young school leavers who wanted to work for this respected Coventry company.


There were usually 60 apprentices at any one time – with 12 taken on each year – and each spent a few months in the different departments of the factory, learning the technical, engineering and practical skills they needed, before focusing on a specific area in the last two years.

As well as on-the-job training, apprentices also attended technical college and night school to get their qualifications.

Former apprentice Peter Crowley, who joined the company in 1960 and stayed for 39 years before moving to Red Triangle after the company closed, said apprentices were valued and looked after by the company.

“Arthur Varney, the chief engineer, was on the apprentice selection committee, and gave me my apprenticeship and I never regretted a day of it,” he says.

The photograph shows a group of Alvis apprentices at the annual dinner in approximately 1965. Those seated (left to right) are: Derek Williams, David Kemble, Alan Stocks, unknown, and Don Carson.  Seated on the right are Gary Stevens (left) and Ian Tomlinson. Can you help us to identify the three young men who are standing and the apprentice who is seated second from the right?

Were you an Alvis apprentice? What are your memories of learning your trade here? We’d love to hear from you. You can email or write to us at Common Lane, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2EL.