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Saturday, 30 August 2014

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Former Barrow AFC player returns to BAE Systems yard as apprentice - after two decades

A FORMER Barrow AFC player who quit an engineering apprenticeship to pursue a football career is about to start the same apprenticeship he left 23 years ago.

50060576B000
BACK TO COLLEGE Former Barrow AFC player Mark Shepherd JON GRANGER REF: 50060576B000

Mark Shepherd, 39, is joining Barrow shipyard for a second time as an apprentice.

Mr Shepherd started out with VSEL as an mechanical engin-eering apprentice as a 16-year-old.

He served a year of his shipyard apprenticeship, training at Furness College, but left when the late Barrow AFC manager Ray Wilkie offered him an apprenticeship professional place at the club.

The sweeper spent three years with Barrow and had first team experience, including playing in a testimonial game against Manchester City at Holker Street.

Mr Shepherd went on to coach football in New York and do contract work in construction and electrical work in Germany and the UK.

He had his own imprinted concreting business and also worked for his father’s company, JS Electrical.

Latterly he worked for Scottish Power, but last year he returned to Furness College full-time to study engineering.

Mr Shepherd, of Barrow, applied to BAE Systems and secured an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering.

He joins BAE on Monday and goes into the yard in July when he completes his college course in.

He said: “I wanted to get back into the shipyard and get set up for the rest of my working life.

“It was great to get into the yard because it was a big gamble to give up my job with Scottish Power.

“There was not a guaranteed job at the end of it. There are great opportunities with BAE.

“I want to serve my time and climb the ladder. I want do my HNC and hopefully a degree.

“The course at Furness College and tutors have been really good.

“It felt strange coming back to college and to be starting an apprenticeship again.”

His eldest daughter, Rosie, is studying business at the college.

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