Clock Maker's Apprentice: A timely decision pays off
Saturday June 9, 2001
Venice Allen, aged 25, never dreamt of becoming a clock maker. She studied art at Central St Martin's School of Art and Design, and in her third year won a Jobs & Money competition which, she says, "seduced" her into a career in marketing.
"I worked for the Guardian Unlimited website for a while, then I worked for a dot.com company called bEurope," she says, but she never really felt happy in that career. "I wanted a job I could eventually do at home if I had kids. In marketing you have to go to parties and stuff."
She saw an ad for the AMA website. "I wasn't looking for a clock-making apprenticeship, but it really appealed to me when I read about it," she says.
Venice began her apprenticeship with clock-maker Jeffrey Rosson, of City Clocks, in November last year. "I think I'll be here at least another year. Jeff wants me to learn to restore clock dials so, at the moment, I spend two days a week at college learning enamelling and picture restoration."
The downside is money. Until she starts doing work that can be charged for she gets no salary. Rosson pays her travel expenses, lunch and "a little extra", but she's still trying to get housing benefit to cover her rent. "Coming from a job like marketing it's quite a drop to living off the same money students do." But she says it doesn't bother her.
"You know that being a horologist you'll never be very rich. And as I've already had my university grant I could never have afforded to pay for a course myself. This way I get to learn and to see the real day-to-day life of fixing clocks."
Venice Allen: "I wanted a job I could eventually do at home if I had kids."