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Callum Buck – Apprentice, Student & Engineer

Callum BuckStannah have a long history of apprentices. As Joseph Stannah wrote in his letter to The Engineer in 1889, “it is undoubtedly the duty of every engineer to instruct his share of the rising generation, but it is also his duty to do it in such a way as shall conduce most to the general prosperity of the future.”

Callum Buck has been working at Stannah for just over 2 years, joining the apprenticeship scheme after finishing secondary school as a 16 year old. He works as an apprentice engineer within the stairlifts manufacturing and engineering department.

The department is responsible for all the processes behind assembly and fabrication of our world-renowned stairlifts, so jig design, document control, KanBan and other topics are just some of the tasks a working day can encompass.

Callum talks about his experience of working at Stannah.

“Stannah is a great company to work for and a fantastic gateway into the engineering industry. Some people may have the opinion that a stairlift might be quite boring to manufacture. However, once you begin to understand the levels of engineering that go into the design and manufacturing, I can assure you that this is a huge misconception.

Stannah promise to ‘always take care’ and as an employee everyone benefits from this – you’re looked after and valued. I enjoy the department I work in, the people I work with and the environment I work in  – it is things like that which make you enjoy work each day.

Stannah has supported me through my education as they see me as an apprentice as a valuable asset to the business that will be able to pay them back through the skills I learn. I do a day release at college each week and Stannah support me within work to help with the learning.

I have been able to learn from other employee’s knowledge of the industry and their experience. This has massively affected my career development, as I have been able to

expand my engineering knowledge at a much faster rate than I would have ever expected.”

Calum has completed his BTEC Level 2 extended diploma in mechanical engineering and an NVQ level 2. In the coming months he will be finishing my Level 3 in both college and NVQ before looking to start university in September.

In the year of Stannah’s 150th birthday, the company remains as committed as ever to the recruitment and development talented young people who will continue to drive Stannah forwards in the years to come.

For more information on our apprenticeships, contact us by emailing grouphr@stannah.co.uk or calling 01264 364311. You can also apply online.

Read more about Callum’s experience at Stannah in the full interview below:

1. How long have you been working at Stannah?

I have currently been working at Stannah for 2 years and 5 months. I joined the apprenticeship scheme just a couple of months after finishing secondary school as a 16 year old.

2. What inspired you to start/join the company?

Living in the local area I had heard lots of good things about Stannah through people that I know. My desire to end up in a line of work that involved mechanical design was one of the main reasons behind applying for the job in an engineering environment as it has always been something that has interested me. Alongside this, important figures such as my graphics teacher in the last year of school was another influencing factor as he spoke highly of the business through visits he had attended over the years.

3. What made you decide to get into the engineering industry?

The enjoyment of seeing something move from early design stages to a finished product was something that always fascinated me. Being able to produce these designs and watch them end up as a finished component (that works) was something I wanted to experience firsthand, hence why I chose the engineering route.

4. What is your current role?

I currently work as an apprentice engineer within the businesses Stairlifts Manufacturing Engineering department.

5. Can describe a typical day?

The good thing with my department is that it is never predictable what you will be working on as new problems pop up all the time, eliminating any form of repetitiveness. As the department is responsible for all the processes behind assembly and fabrication, these problems have to be dealt with as soon as possible as they can potentially effect production. Jig design, document control, KanBan and other background projects are just some of the tasks a working day can contain for me.

6. How has Stannah aided your career development?

Work experience is key nowadays for people my age as it prepares you for life ahead. Seeing as I began my apprenticeship at such an early age instead of going straight into college, I feel it has helped me mature and become more accustomed to the ‘real world’ that you are sheltered from at a young age.

Due to the department I work in, I have been able to sponge off people’s knowledge within the industry due to the experience they have. This has massively impacted my career development as I have been able to expand my engineering knowledge at a much faster rate than I would have ever expected.

7. What qualifications do you have? What are you working towards?

I currently have a BTEC Level 2 extended diploma in mechanical engineering and an NVQ level 2. In the coming months I will be finishing my Level 3 in both college and NVQ before looking to start university in September.

8. How has/is Stannah supported/ing this?

Stannah has supported me a lot through my education as they see myself as a valuable asset to the business that will be able to pay them back through the skills I learn through my apprenticeship. They allow me to do a day release at college each week to attend lectures, alongside supporting me within work time to help with areas that may not have been fully covered in the short space of time I am at college (my boss James Rowe is to thank for that).

9. What is the main thing you have learnt from Stannah so far?

I have learnt lots of things at Stannah in terms of engineering knowledge but it is difficult to just pick one skill. However, I have learnt that it is important to maintain strong working relationships with your colleagues as it helps massively when trying to complete tasks/ projects by deadlines. If teams work in harmony, work is completed much more efficiently. An example of this would be between myself and the tool room as they machine the components that I design. Understanding what they want from me when releasing drawings is very important as it saves them time when it comes to carrying out their work.

10. What is the most interesting thing you’ve come across whilst working at Stannah?

Hearing facts that you would never expect always interest me a lot. I remember once when somebody explained to me the loads that stairlifts are load tested to my jaw nearly hit the ground with disbelief. It helps you appreciate the engineering that goes into the product as it is quite incredible. Understanding that the lasers we have are two of the oldest in the country, but yet still turn out components day in day out was also quite interesting…

11. What advice would you give to someone starting out at Stannah?

Enjoy it as much as you can but do not waste the opportunity. What’s better than earning and learning at our age? Also, try and get as much experience from around the business as possible so you are able to understand different people’s roles.

12. What do you like most about working at this company?

Because of Stannah’s morals of keeping the business family orientated, I feel myself as an employee benefits from this on a large scale. You are looked after and valued and this is highlighted by rewards such as the monthly performance plan that not all businesses offer. I also enjoy the department I work in as we all have good working relationships. The atmosphere in the office is good and it is things like that which make you enjoy work each day.

13. What’s the biggest misconception you’ve come across Stannah or the industry?

Some people may have the opinion that a stairlift might be quite boring to manufacture from an outsiders point of view. However, once you begin to understand the levels of engineering that go into the design and manufacturing processes, I can assure you that this is a huge misconception. The capabilities of the stairlifts themselves are very intriguing.

14. Would you recommend the company to other young people looking for a career in engineering?

Yes I would. Stannah is a great company to work for and is a fantastic gateway into the engineering industry as you aren’t hidden from the basics you need in engineering that you may not gain the exposure to in workplaces that use high end CNC machines for production.

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