Jack Alexander, 22, is a Process Technician 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 280 people at their UK site.
Can you tell us about your education before you started an apprenticeship and why you decided to apply for this apprenticeship?
I finished my A-Levels at School, but I didn’t enjoy the exam process I found it quite difficult, so I knew an apprenticeship would suit me as I would be working as well as learning. I saw the role advertised in the Melksham News and applied online on the Gov website, I looked into Engineering because I knew it was a broad area, so I could find my niche. When I left School four years ago apprenticeships weren’t really spoken about that much, so I had to do my own research.
What journey has your apprenticeship taken you on so far and where do you see your career heading?
I started on a Level 3 generalist engineering course at Wiltshire College, I chose not to specialise in either electrical or mechanical as this gives you more scope to find the right role for you. In September I will be continuing with my studies onto the Level 5 course – which is a Higher National Diploma (HND). I hope to further my qualifications by getting my degree via an apprenticeship and in turn be able to move into a managerial role in the future.
In the four years I have been here I feel I have built bridges and learnt a lot working alongside others who are further into their career and have degrees and I am only 22. My role has allowed me to travel too, the most exciting trip was going to America. I have been keen to get involved with many of the extra activities that Avon gets involved in to further challenge myself personally and my engineering knowledge, going build bridges with other companies, this included the Seaworks cardboard boat regatta, Tough Mudder and most recently the Red Bull soapbox race London. Our fantastic team came in first place, securing the title with a brilliantly engineered soapbox that held up very well round the course, I was lucky enough to have been the driver in this event so see us across the finish line to accept a well-earned pole place.
What advice do you have for those looking at engineering apprenticeships?
You will need to be resilient, starting on the apprenticeship you will be working on the factory floor which is a huge difference to a school environment. But I am proud I stuck it out, so I can work where I really want to be at this point in my career – in a process technician role.
Avon Protection’s HR Advisor Mary Jo Cabanes-Book told us why it is so important to the company to recruit apprentices.
It fits into our company culture and HR strategy, whilst we have a graduate programme we knew we needed an apprenticeship programme as well. It is a way of developing young talent which is the only way we can grow. Apprentices bring fresh ideas and it is not always easy to recruit in this rural area. We will continue to look at how we can bring apprentices in and to up skill internal employees via higher level apprenticeships.