Vital to keeping the lifeblood of the fenestration industry pumping, fresh minds, young people and new ideas need to be recruited. One of Avantek Machinery’s operational priorities is to bring in young people with fresh eyes and talent for working with specialised window fabrication machinery. With a decrease in skilled workers reaching critical levels because of the percentage of experienced staff reaching retirement age, the need for young people to discover the fenestration industry is now more important than ever.

Like its sister company, HL Plastics, Avantek is committed to bringing young people into the industry by offering comprehensive, rewarding apprenticeships. Recently, Avantek had another apprentice finish his programme and we sat down with him to hear his story.

Kieran Heywood was introduced to Avantek by his friend James Barker. James was the first apprentice to work at Avantek and finish his programme – and he knew that it would be something that Kieran would enjoy. Kieran was working at a retail establishment at the time; he’d finished school and knew that University wasn’t something that he had any interest in. He wanted to get paid to learn and start a career at the same time – which is why he sent in his apprenticeship application to Avantek Machinery.

‘I had an interview with one of the Directors, who gave me a tour of the facility. The site was immaculate and everything that they did was incredibly interesting. I knew straight away that this was somewhere I could see myself working.

‘I began my apprenticeship in mechanical engineering in 2014 and since then have learned a lot. I’m now the head of the parts department at Avantek. I read electrical and pneumatic drawings, do stock takes, assist customers in replacement parts and order what’s needed for the company. In July 2018 I finished my engineering apprenticeship and in 2019 I received my NVQs.’

Since beginning his apprenticeship, Kieran has excelled in his studies and exceeded his quotas and targets for parts sales at Avantek. When we spoke to Avantek’s Service & Parts Manager Dominic Gillett about Kieran, he gave us rave reviews and explained why apprenticeships are so vital to the company.

‘Many of our employees have to go abroad to learn about the machines our suppliers manufacture. They’re specialised machines and you can’t just send a guy out of the country who has no idea about the machine or what it will be used for. Kieran now has the basis to go onto these machinery processes, having done an excellent job within his apprenticeship, and is a valued member of the Avantek team.’

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