A TEENAGER is keeping the future of a trade ticking after being taken on as an apprentice.
Joel Robson is learning the art of time at Collinson Jewellers from its timelords Dinkie Smith, 83, and the business’s founder Harry Collinson, 62.
Joel, from Southwick said: “It’s a bit like doing puzzles for a living.”
“It’s really good. I’ve always liked tinkering with things and I tried to get into science but it was too theoretical for me.
“When this position came up, I jumped at the chance.”
The 18-year-old got in touch with Harry through a mutual friend, and has been studying horology – the art of measuring time – for about four months.
The ex-Southmoor School pupil spends five days a week in the jewellers Blandford Street shop, repairing clocks and watches, and studies once a week.
Joel is taught at college by Bob Ian, a Member of the British Horological Institute (MBHI) and clock master.
As part of his eight-year apprenticeship, Joel takes clocks apart, repairs and creates time pieces.
He said: “You learn one thing then another 20 questions come up about what goes into the thing you’ve been repairing.
“It’s a bit of a challenge.”
He says he has already learnt a host of skills from his tutors, thanks to their wealth of knowledge.
Harry, who launched his business 30 years ago, said: “It’s a dying art. Only a few people can do it in the country, and very few people are coming into the trade.
“I put an advert in the Sunderland Echo for an apprentice but then Joel approached me and said he was interested in this type of work.
“He was right for the job.
“I’d been trying to find someone who was interested in the trade for 15 years.
“Joel’s working with Dinkie who’s 83. It’s unbelievable when you think about the different spectrum of ages.”
Joel’s friends and family are backing his unusual choice of career.
He added: “My family are really excited for me.
“My friends think it’s a strange job. But they are excited for me too.”