A dedicated Jones Bros employee who has carried out hundreds of training exercises over a 42-year career has filled out his final marking sheet.
Training manager Ken Jones, who first joined the civil engineering company in 1971, is due to leave the company next month.
Ken, 67, has already retired once before in 2010, but his enthusiasm for helping develop members of staff meant he just couldn’t keep away from the company’s training centre in Ruthin.
And even though he is due to clock off for the last time in early April, Ken will still be showing up at the Jones Bros offices, as he plans to write a book chronicling the civil engineering company’s history.
He said: “Even when I’ve not been working there, I’ve been writing about it! I’ve been working on the book for the last ten years, so hopefully I’ll now find some time to actually get on with it.
“The book’s a bit autobiographical, as it starts with me leaving college before joining Jones Bros in the 70s. I’ve been working here for 42 years, and I’ve seen it grow into a major player in the construction industry, going from 50 odd employees to more than 300.”
“I’ve been very lucky to work at Jones Bros, they’ve given me lots of opportunities over the years. I’ve absolutely loved it here.”
As well as finding time to write his book, Ken will be spending his spare time indulging his passion for model engineering and enjoying breaks away in his custom-built mobile home.
He will also continue to give talks to local schools on the merits of a career in engineering, as well as acting as a mentor to students who visit Jones Bros for work experience.
He said: “I’ll still be going into schools to do talks about engineering, as that’s something else I really enjoy.
“At the end of the day, they really are our future, and it’s brilliant to see young people get inspired to follow a really rewarding career in engineering.”
“There’s something really satisfying about training. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to pass people here, from apprentices to plant operators, and it’s brilliant to help people gain new skills.”
Ken first joined Jones Bros after responding to a newspaper advert looking for an apprentice mechanic to repair agricultural machinery.
He went on to become a field service engineer with the burgeoning company, as well as spending time running the company workshop and filling in as the plant manager to cover a colleague’s sick leave.
Ken then joined the Jones Bros training centre in 1992, initially as a plant instructor before being promoted to the role of training and safety manager. As well as stepping down from his duties at Jones Bros, Ken will also be relinquishing his role as the chairman of the North Wales Working Well Together group, which offers health and safety training and advice to small and medium contractors.
Ken got his final exam under way two weeks ago, putting a group of staff who his successor Huw Isaac Williams, Jones Bros’ new senior trainer, had earlier put through their paces.
Training manager Dave Gibson said: “It was great to see the two pass over the torch of training here at Jones Bros.”
“Ken’s contribution to the Training Centre, and this industry has been immense.
“I wish Ken all the best in his retirement – but he has said he will be around if any of us need his advice in the future!”