A long-serving employee at Hill’s Panel Products (HPP), Ellis Smith has become the firm’s oldest apprentice, at the age of 32, having embarked on a career change.
He has swapped his office-based role as a production planning administrator to join HPP’s mechanical maintenance team.
Prior to joining HPP, Smith served four years in the Royal Engineers before joining the Oldham-based firm.
He is working on his Level 2 Maintenance and Operations Engineering Technician apprenticeship with Oldham Training Centre (OTC) before moving on to the Level 3 qualification. It is a plan that maps out the next three years.
The day-release apprenticeship sees Ellis Smith undertake installation, testing, servicing, removal, replacement, maintenance and repair of a range of equipment, as part of planned preventative and reactive maintenance
“Doing the apprenticeship is fantastic opportunity to be given. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and learning more and more,” said Ellis Smith.
He added: “I worked in both board production departments and then moved to production planning.
“But then Covid came along, and the role changed from planning big contracts to more of a processing role, which wasn’t really my cup of tea.
“So, when the opportunity came up for the maintenance role about six months ago, I jumped at it.”
HPP marketing and business development director Dan Mounsey said: “Apprenticeships are generally thought of as something for people straight out of college.
“But the world of work is changing and the traditional route into things is changing with it.
“For someone like Ellis with his army background and doing a skilled apprenticeship, this type of development is good for him and good for the business too.”