Trainees line the basement corridor during the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to the Royal Technical College Emergency Training Centre for machine operators, on 5 March 1941. The centre had been set up in the Mechanical Engineering Department for the Ministry of Labour. The King was accompanied by Sir Robert Robertson, who was Chairman of the College's Board of Governors, 1931-1946.
The demand for skilled technicians during the Second World War meant that the Royal Technical College was a hive of activity. The mainly female trainees in the picture would be munitions workers, being instructed in the use of machines for their work. 300 women trainees were working there in January 1942, learning a range of mechanical skills.
Male students were also numerous, often training for reserved occupations such as electrical engineers for the shipyards, and there were many Army personnel. Over 10,000 trainees passed through the Department of Electrical Engineering to become radar operators or wireless and radio mechanics for the RAF. Some electronic equipment was lent to the Ministry of Aircraft Production.
Reproduced with the permission of Strathclyde University Archives
electrical engineering, machine operators, mechanical engineering, Ministry of Aircraft Production, Ministry of Labour, munitions, radar operators, radio mechanics, RAF, Royal Air Force, Royal Technical College, royal visits, Second World War, wireless mechanics, women workers