Roger is plunged into a major engineering works as an apprentice after an idyllic childhood in Sussex. As he progresses from one shop floor to another, he finds a common factor of good, earthy humour, real help whenever he needs it and a wealth of hilarious stories shared whilst sitting round on toolboxes during tea breaks.
Within the works, despite the practical jokes and the factory ladies' very colourful language, Roger becomes increasingly aware of the engineering import and deep skills in the workforce around him. Finally, Roger has his spell on Outside Erection. Here he comes face to face with real responsibility and learns the extent to which everyone's lives depend upon the reliable outcome of the manufacturing skills that he is learning.
Throughout their time at the works, the apprentices adopt a rather unconventional attitude to their learning that ensures life is never dull. Such goings-on are quite normal and indeed secretly expected by the management. After all, wasn't everyone in the business an apprentice at one time..? Tales from the Toolbox is a humorous autobiography which will appeal to anyone connected with the industry, past and present.
Born in Sussex, K. C. Parton studied at Southampton University and joined GEC as an apprentice in Birmingham in 1949. He remained there for 21 years, finishing as a senior manager. He then held similar posts in Plessey Telecomms and ICL before retiring in 1993 to become a specialist electrical consultant. He finally retired in 2005 and now lives in Worcester.