Harry Ridgewell joined Westland as a Design Draughtsman in 1974 and remembers his job interview

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Drawing office at Westland circa 1960's

My first impression when I arrived for my interview was how clean and tidy it looked, how the grass was cut, the flower beds and how it was all maintained and looked after. Of course, the company in those days, they employed their own gardeners. Even the caterers up in the canteen, they were all Westland employees. That’s long gone. Everything is sub-contracted these days. It was vast. It was a mind-blowing experience but I consider now or I did even then, I was very fortunate to be put into the liaison department because it gave me the opportunity, rather than just going and sitting in one office and just learning that little bit of work in that island, as it were. You know you might have a query to do with some hydraulic piping so you’d go and see a coppersmith or there might be something to do with some sheet metal work, some material that had been rolled so you were up with the tin bashers or you might have to go to the materials laboratory with a query about some protective finishings or whatever. You would go and speak to the engineer who was most knowledgeable on protective treatments so I was, I think, very lucky in working in tech liaison because it got me to all of those departments: flight shed, experimental flight shed, all around, just amazing. The structural test department where components were tested to destruction. Yes, it was a great opportunity to get a real feel for the company.



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