London gunmaker John Rigby & Co. is pleased to share the appointment of Slade Stevens to apprentice gunmaker. Slade began his apprenticeship with Rigby in May after relocating to the UK from Kentucky in the United States to join the company, and has joined the Rigby Academy, a new five-year training programme created to preserve gunmaking skills and swell the ranks of gunmakers for the future.
Slade was brought up using rifles and shotguns from a young age, learning from his father, a lifelong hunter and his retired steel mill worker grandfather. The Rigby Academy is Slade’s first step into formal training in gunmaking, but it’s one that he is excited to be taking. Slade will learn the fundamentals of all areas of gunmaking on the apprenticeship before specialising in a chosen area further down the line. So far, he’s been learning the fine handcrafts involved in finishing a gun, such as polishing, bluing and as filing and measuring sights.
Slade commented: “Rigby stood out to me thanks to the rich history of the brand and of course the incredible quality and function of its products. I’m excited to be here in London as part of the team and am enjoying the process very much. It’s hard work, but everything worthwhile takes commitment and work, so that doesn’t faze me at all.”
Rigby managing director Marc Newton added: “The Rigby Academy is an important personal project for me, as I feel the industry isn’t doing enough to ensure gunmaking skills are passed on for future generations. Slade has come a long way to join us and brings a real passion and enthusiasm to his role, which has already seen him impress fellow members of the workshop team. I’m very much looking forward to seeing him progress and learn throughout the apprenticeship programme.”