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In 1960 Martins starts a programme of staff training, that says goodbye to many of the time-honoured ways of passing down knowledge from the experienced senior clerk to the “wet behind the ears” junior.  The establishment of Staff Training Centres is seen as important by many of the high street banks, and coincides with the arrival of new technology – for which there can be no passing down from previous experience.  Training centres or schools are set up in Liverpool and the North East to begin with, and later rolled out to London and other parts of the country.  Courses are run for female staff to show them how to operate the various accounting machines that will form part of their daily work. These are established all over the Country. Many courses are actually based and run from branch premises in larger towns and cities. 


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Here we reproduce an article from the Summer 1960 edition of Martins Bank Magazine, which introduces the idea of the Bank’s training schools and courses as:

The New Look…

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1960 02 MBM.jpgIn the old days you learnt your job from the man above you. You learnt it well or badly according as to whether his and your standards were good or bad, and to some extent as to whether he had the patience and the time to teach you. In a busy branch there wasn't much time for in­struction and you picked it up as best you could, learning by your mistakes and by having to do the job all over again. We have a better system nowadays and much more importance is attached to the value of proper training.

1960 The Liverpool Training Branch (1) MBM-Su1960P08.jpg


Mr E G Shaw is at the top right of the picture and Miss Pat Hart

can be seen standing at the counter facing the camera.

1963 Training Branch stamp MBM-Au63FC.jpgSchools or training branches are being established in the big cities and it is hoped that every new entrant will go to one of these branches in order to learn the Bank's  book-keeping system under expert supervision. First of all the training branches to function was the one at Man­chester which is located at Brown Street.  It does not operate all the year round, but just at the time when the annual intake of new entrants takes place. Mr. D. G. Settle was in charge of it last year under the supervision of Mr. R. Tanner, Manchester District In­spector, but other arrangements are now contemplated.  The North Eastern District Junior Training School was opened on 5th October, 1959 and is situated on the second floor above Northumberland Street branch, Newcastle upon Tyne. The accommodation provides for twelve students at each session of three weeks' duration.

The layout provides for three separate branches, each with a staff of four students, complete with adding machines and all necessary vouchers and ledgers to carry out a normal day's work in a branch bank, including the posting of the General Ledger and a weekly balance. The instructress at the time the photograph was taken was Mrs. S. Whyte, formerly of the North Eastern District General Manager's staff, under the supervision of the Senior Inspector, Mr. W. S. Blaylock. After a short address of welcome by the District General Manager, the first day of each course is devoted to an introductory lecture by the Inspector, covering a general survey of the banking system, the history, organisation and book-keeping system of Martins Bank, the standard of work and general conduct.


at Newcastle Northumberland Street Branch.  Mr W S Blaylock and

Miss S Whyte can be seen supervising their pupils.

Friend of the Archive, David J Watson recalls the North Eastern District Training School:

{The District Training School for juniors, machinists and cashiers was housed above Northumberland Street  branch. In the picture the door to the left led to the bank whilst the door on the right was the access to the machine school (first floor) and the junior and cashier courses were held on the top floor. When the branch moved to Market Street the training took place at Gateshead Branch.”}

{“In the article “Staff Training- The New Look”,  it refers to the Junior Training Course lasting three weeks, which may have been the case in 1959, but the time I was on the course it had expanded to four weeks. I did two weeks in December 1963, returned to my branch for two weeks to assist with the year end balance, before returning for a final two weeks on the course. At that time the course was run by Mrs Nora Murray and her assistant, Jean Hardy.  As the article says the twelve pupils attending were split into groups of four and each week each of us did a different aspects of the banks accounting procedures e.g. machine work, writing up ledgers, etc. Mrs Murray was in charge of the Cashiers' Course I took a few months later which took place in the same room, lasted only two weeks, and catered for six budding cashiers”}


A Cashiers’ Course in Progress.

The emphasis of the course is on practical work, which commences on the second day of attendance. Four students are allocated to each of the three separate training branches, with regular interchange of duties within each branch as well as between branches. On the same date, October 5th, 1959, the Liverpool District New Entrants Training School was opened above the Castle Street branch. Mr. E. G. Shaw is in charge of it and he has Miss Pat Hart to help him.  As in the case of the North Eastern District, the New Entrants Basic Course can accommodate twelve students, who are divided into three branches of four. There are also training courses for young cashiers. It is hoped to have the London training branch started. before the end of the summer.

Training is key…

Martins continues to take the training of its staff very seriously, and with a large influx of new entrants, the age at which staff achieve the role of Manager is coming down all the time.  Add to this the initial need to employ MORE staff to cope with computerisation, and you find that you have to work hard to attract the right people – hence the production of more sophisticated careers literature such as “A Career with Martins Bank”. (Click the leaflet at the top of this page to read more).  The following article is published in Martins’ Annual Report and Accounts for 1964, and shows that a training policy has been in place since the end of the Second World War…

Throughout the post-war period industry and commerce have become increasingly aware of the need to train management. Courses for senior management have been available at the business administration colleges at Ashridge and Henley-on-Thames, and a large number of firms have evolved their own schemes of management training. In the last two years, however, there has been a remarkable transformation in the attitude shown by British industry and commerce, as well as by the Government and the universities, to this type of training, as it has been felt that British industry, despite many notable successes, has in many respects fallen behind some of its competitors. Moreover, as the pace of technological and scientific progress has accelerated the business of management has changed. The transformation has affected all levels of management.

By far the most important decision that has been taken is to implement the recommendations of the Report by Lord Franks in 1963 to establish two business schools, one in London and one in Manchester, which would run on lines similar to business schools in the United States. Numerous courses for managers and potential managers have been initiated by various bodies during the last year or so. For some years now a series of advanced management seminars has been conducted under the auspices of the University of Liverpool. More recently, the Manchester School of Management and Administration was formed and initiated, last April, its first middle-management course of three months duration for junior executives. In July an Advanced Management Programme was held at Durham. This followed the pattern of similar courses which are held at Harvard for senior executives, and was notable for the fact that it was directed by four Harvard professors.

This growing interest in management techniques has not passed unnoticed by Martins Bank. In fact our appreciation of the need for training in the post-war world has been reflected by nominating members of our staff for attendance at the Henley Staff College on every possible occasion since the College was inaugurated in 1948.

Each year we have seconded staff to the International Banking Summer School; this has resulted in staff visiting most of the European countries, the U.S.A. and Soviet Russia, and a senior member of our staff is presently attending the 1965 School in Australia. Members of our staff have attended also the Oxford University Business Summer School, Liverpool University School of Business Management, the Manchester School of Management and Administration, as well as the Advanced Management Programme at Durham. Moreover, for some years we have supported courses in business administration and agriculture conducted by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

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The bank has thus been associated with a majority of the important developments that have taken place in management training. In Martins Bank about 50% of the male staff attain positions of responsibility in branch management or administration.  As there is no recruitment at managerial level, the need to provide a wide range of training facilities for staff to fill these positions will be appreciated. Moreover, the pattern of ordinary bank routine is changing and staff are called upon to assume responsibilities at a considerably earlier age than was the case some years ago. Weare fortunate in having a reservoir of young men and women who are able to accept such responsibilities after training. Less than twenty years ago under war-time conditions the bank operated with a staff of approximately 45% of its present strength, comprising 10% more women than men. Today there are 10% more men than women in a total staff approaching 6,400. The fact that the majority of the women on our staff are engaged on work of a routine nature does not detract from the importance of the contribution which they make to the successful operation of the bank. Mechanised bookkeeping, first introduced in the late 1920’s, has been progressively developed. We now have over 500 branches either mechanised, partially mechanised or dependent upon computer accounting. Research in the latter field has extended the use of the computer beyond current account operation and further major developments lie ahead. Our branch representation has expanded and routine activity has progressively increased, necessitating the substantial growth in staff. The planned direction of their efforts in the use of the additional mechanical and electronic aids to maintain our bookkeeping and other services is essential. The bank has met this challenge by a wide extension of training at all levels. Until the post-war years “on-the-job” training was virtually the only type available. Such training will continue to play a very important part in the day-to-day development and broadening of the knowledge of individuals. Interchangeability of staff is a prerequisite for the maintenance of a satisfactory branch service and a hedge against emergencies. A number of years ago, in the face of increasing pressure of work at the branches, training schools were opened under the control of our seven district offices in order to initiate junior clerks and machinists and interest them in the bank and in their work. At a later stage the schools are revisited for cashiering and advanced basic training courses.

1963 A career at Martins Bank Front Cover MBAOur decentralised system of control offers geographical convenience for such routine training and provides a more intimate basis of selection for the more advanced training. Selection for a Securities Course or other specialist department training is a reward for self-development and more particularly for initial success in the Institute of Bankers' Examinations. Completion of the Institute Examinations, in most cases, leads to an extended course in District Office as a preliminary to a responsible posting. During the past fifteen years the bank has been recruiting a small number of university graduates each year. These and a number of regular entrants of promise are given a special programme of courses in branches, departments and district offices to equip them to take posts of responsibility. Subsequently an intensive residential Training Course for Junior Management, in which members of the Board, General Management and Heads of Departments take a close practical interest, is operated on a syndicate basis and employs case study methods. Wherever possible training is organised as a team exercise to inculcate team spirit so essential to the harmonious working of branches and departments and to the development of desirable personal qualities in the individual. Further recognition of the importance of character development is shown by the sponsoring of young men for Outward Bound and Brathay Hall Courses. We appreciate to the full that it is the quality of our domestic performance which underpins the successful operation and progressive future development of the bank.


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