Following a successful work experience placement, Andrew Meese joined Coveris the day after his 16th birthday to start an engineering apprenticeship. 22 years later, Andrew is a Maintenance Engineer and valued member of the team at Coveris in Louth.
Why did you choose Coveris for work experience?
Representatives from Britton Group visited our school in Louth to help with mock interviews as part of our careers training. Britton Group, which later became Coveris, was well known in the local community as a large employer, and once they found out I was completing a GNVQ in manufacturing and had an interest in engineering, offered me a placement for work experience.
What did your two weeks of work experience involve?
My first week of work experience was in maintenance so I was in the factory shadowing people and completing different jobs. I was due to spend the second week gaining admin experience in the office but unfortunately got food poisoning instead! We then had two weeks of school holidays, so I asked if I could go back during the time off school and spent another two weeks working with the engineers.
What made you decide an apprenticeship was for you?
The manager at the time, Simon Rowe, was impressed with the work ethic and enthusiasm I’d shown during work experience and told me about the opportunity to complete an engineering apprenticeship at Coveris. My family has a history of working in engineering and I knew it was what I wanted to do, so I joined Coveris as an apprentice the day after my 16th birthday. Coincidentally, Simon re-joined Coveris in Louth recently after working at other sites in the business, so we’re back working together over 20 years later.
What did the apprenticeship involve?
For two years I spent four days working at Coveris with on-the-job training and one day a week at college studying for a Level 2 NVQ in Mechanical Engineering. It was a good balance that gave me experience and a qualification.
How has an apprenticeship prepared you for a career in engineering?
Starting as an apprentice gave me the practical skills and knowledge to work as a successful engineer. After completing my apprenticeship, the company relocated to a new site in Louth where we’re still based, and during that time I moved into a development engineering role, converting one of our slitting machines to manufacture anti-fraud products. After that, I started a Level 2 NVQ Electrical Engineering course and became qualified in both mechanical and electrical engineering, giving me a wide skill set to support the needs of the business.
Have you completed any other development opportunities as part of your role?
I’ve continued to complete engineering courses to support my development and gained ONC Level 3 Electrical Engineering, ONC Level 3 Mechanical Engineering and NVQ Level 3 qualifications. More recently I also gained an HNC qualification in Engineering following a two year course.
You’ve been with the company an incredible 22 years. What has made you stay so long?
I like working and enjoy my job! I enjoy the constant variety, challenges, and no challenge is ever the same challenge, and work family environment. We spend a lot of time at work so a good environment is important. I like to keep learning and developing, and Coveris has given me opportunities to do this.
What are your roles and responsibilities at Coveris now?
I’m a Maintenance Engineer which includes a lot of different jobs, including servicing and repairing machinery, scheduling pre-planned maintenance (PPM), and anything else that comes up. The site operates using the Coveris Performance System (CPS) which focuses on operational excellence and lean manufacturing, so we complete a lot more proactive maintenance that keeps our machines running well and helps to reduce the number of repairs we make.
What are the biggest challenges you have experienced?
Moving sites and the Britton Group joining other packaging manufacturers to become Coveris in 2013 has resulted in change, but also improvements and investment at the site. Communication between departments in a fast-paced large company also has its challenges but improving!
What advice would you give to someone thinking about joining the Coveris team?
It’s definitely worth it! Every role is important; you’ll need a good ethic and be up for a challenge.
Simon Rowe, Operations Director at Coveris in Louth added:
"Andrew impressed us from day one with his enthusiasm and commitment. He gave up his school holiday to work with us having missed his term time through illness, I don’t believe many youngsters would have done that. When you find those exceptional qualities, you need to keep those people, and Andrew has proven through the years those levels are embedded within him as he continues to learn and progress. It is great to work in the same team again twenty years later, and although mature and skilled, he still possesses the qualities that marked him out as an exceptional school boy. A great example to young people wanting to progress in life."