An apprentice heavy plant operator at Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK is following family tradition, by learning to drive a machine previously operated by his grandfather.
Jamie Owen, 19, started his training on the loading shovel his grandfather, Wyn Edwards, had operated during 33-years’ service with the company.
And the teenager, from Corwen, is also aiming for a long-term career at Jones Bros.
A former pupil of Ysgol Y Berwyn, Bala, Jamie studied automobile mechanics at Yale College, Wrexham. Soon after, he started to think about a career with Jones Bros.
Jamie said: “My taid worked for them and I knew a few others who worked there. Everyone I spoke to said that Jones Bros is a good employer. When you start work here, there is a development structure for every role. You get lots of training and qualifications, and they make sure you get experience on different types of site.
“If you have a problem, the managers will sort it, and if you are struggling they will be there to help you.”
Jamie is now studying for an NVQ in plant operations. He said: “The company pays for all the training and exams. That helps a lot, as otherwise it would cost me hundreds of pounds to get all my construction tickets.
“You also get lots of good experience on sites, at the same time as learning and passing exams.
“The managers explain that they are investing in staff for the future success of the company. They are building the skills base required to deliver the projects that they will be winning in the future.”
Jamie added: “I want to progress to a management position as a foreman or ganger in the long term.”
Jamie started his apprenticeship in autumn 2017, just after his grandfather, Wyn Edwards, retired aged 68.
Wyn drove machines including a Moxy dump truck, and a D155 bulldozer, then a loading shovel, supporting crushing operations. After working on sites as far away as Dunbar, Scotland, Wyn took over the management of the company’s quarry at Horseshoe Pass, which he ran for five years up until his retirement.
Wyn said: “When Jamie was given the piece of plant I had retired from, I felt our family had come full circle.
“Now he’s getting opportunities to work on both plant and groundworks, and the advice I’ve given him is to get his head down and gain experience.
“I recommended Jones Bros because it would give him a good grounding and the opportunities the youngsters have there are fantastic.
“We’ve always had younger operatives coming through the ranks in Jones Bros, but the apprenticeship system now gives them even more of a head start.
“There is a bigger selection of apprenticeships to pick from and lots of different types of sites all around the country for placements to get practical experience.”
Jones Bros contracts director, Hefin Lloyd Davies said:
“I’ve known the Edwards family all my life as we live in the same village, and Wyn was a great help to me when I first started with the company as a trainee engineer.
“Wyn has given excellent service to the company as a very experienced and consistent plant operator, who has been one of the main crushing operatives and very good at maintaining long term external hires.
“I knew that Jamie was interested in the mechanical side and I discussed with him and his father to have a chat with our training department and enquire about enrolling onto the apprenticeship programme.
“As a company, we have always promoted the apprenticeship route into the company, but the opportunities now available are a lot more structured and sets them up for a long term career in civil engineering.
“I would like to personally thank Wyn for the 33 years’ service he has given Jones Bros and hope that Jaimie can also have a long career in civil engineering with the company.”