June 18 2011: Choosing A Career With Raleigh… (Raleigh Industries leaflet, 1972)

Aimed at school and college leavers, this leaflet explains the range of career opportunities on offer within Raleigh’s operation at Nottingham to those looking for a post education role within the company. The leaflet is undated, but seems to have been printed either during or after 1972, evidenced by the mention of “a new social club situated in the Nottingham factory complex, opened in 1972”. At this point in its history, Raleigh was part of Tube Investments Ltd, with the Raleigh part of the group employing 9,000 people in offices and factories in Nottingham, Birmingham and Worksop (at the former Carlton Cycles workshops), producing 1.25 million bicycles annually, 70% sold for export.

This is, of course, only the finished bicycles: the leaflet adds that Raleigh is also the world’s largest cycle component manufacturer (making Sturmey Archer gears, hub brakes and Dyno hub lighting equipment) as well as having interests in broader ranges (such as Raleigh prams) and the production of automobile and other engineering components. Raleigh looks forward to further expansion, especially in the company’s development of applications for “newer processes such as cold forming, powder metallurgy and plastics”.  The leaflet goes on to list its main categories of training and employment, ranging from financial, craft and technical apprenticeships to laboratory, office and graduate training schemes.

All in all, it’s an impressive prospectus, from a company that – c.1972 – appeared to have a very bright future in the UK. However, any trainee taken on at the time this leaflet was produced would have been in store for, at best, a decade of reasonably secure employment, since around 1979 (and at an accelerating pace after 1984) a series of sell offs, closures and wholesale transfers of UK manufacturing to the Far East meant that by 2003 the last 280 jobs within Raleigh’s UK manufacturing operation had been lost, despite the product itself remaining a market leader internationally.

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