We spoke to Callum Demkiv at Avon Protection based in Melksham. Avon Protection is part of Avon Rubber p.l.c. which is an innovative technology group with a varied history spanning 130 years. Today the business manufactures respirators and milking equipment and currently employs around 200 people at their UK site. 

Callum is 19 years old and has worked at Avon for 2 years. He is currently employed as a Mechanical Maintenance Engineer on a four-year apprenticeship. Upon leaving school, Callum went to college to undertake an electrical course. On completion of the first year, he reconsidered his options and began to apply for apprenticeships and felt that the opportunities at Avon were well suited to him.  

Callum prefers being hands on in the workplace rather than studying in a classroom. His daily tasks include changing moulds and completing repairs on machinery. He learns on the job and shadows experienced colleagues; this aids the retention of information and develops his skills as he can see and do. 

When applying for the role at Avon, the advertisement stated Electrical and Mechanical Apprentice but Callum has found the role is heavily centred on the mechanical aspects of the job. 

Callum was surprised that there were no women on his college course, and he doesn’t see why they should not consider engineering and the different roles available as a career option. Through his apprenticeship, Callum has been able to use various machines and tools that he wouldn’t have had access to if he had stayed on at college which helps his learning and development.  

When we asked Callum how he gets to work for a 6am start, he shared that he drives to work, something he would not have been able to achieve if he had remained at college. Earning good money and learning on the job have been just some of the benefits he has experienced in doing an apprenticeship.  

Advice to aspiring engineers is to apply for an apprenticeship, especially if you prefer to learn on the job. Callum said that he is often left to get on with tasks, he values the additional trust placed in him by his colleagues however he knows that support is there when it is needed.  

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