Congratulations to Aaron Tilston, Apprentice Engineer at Coveris Louth, who has been awarded Engineering Apprentice of the Year at North Lindsey College. A fantastic achievement for Aaron, he is two years into his engineering apprenticeship at Coveris’ Louth site in our Films BU. Aaron joined Coveris in 2016 and before making the move to engineering in September 2019, has experience of working in our logistics, planning and artwork teams. Aaron talks to us about the apprenticeship, his reaction to the award and what’s involved in engineering.
Congratulations on your award, Aaron. What was your reaction when you found out?
Surprised! I didn’t know I was nominated for an award so it was a great feeling when I found out and the team here at Louth have been really happy for me. It’s good to know my hard work is paying off.
What does your apprenticeship involve?
I’m completing an Engineering apprenticeship which can be either a three or four year course. I’m on a normal shift pattern with the other engineers which are 12 hours shifts working two days and then two nights followed by four days off. The course is mostly practical and I’m learning on the job which I provide evidence of for my qualification, but I also have one day a week in college for theory lessons, and complete written assessments, coursework and exams.
What attracted you to the role of apprentice engineer at Coveris Louth?
I’ve always been quite practical and good with my hands, so engineering is something I’ve been interested in and I wish I’d looked into it more when I was 16! I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to start the engineering apprenticeship after working at Coveris for three years in different roles. I’m enjoying this role and hope it has opened up a career for me.
What do you typically do during an engineering shift?
Our shifts are 12 hours and are really varied. At Coveris Louth we have extrusion and print departments and I’m learning skills and knowledge to work in both. We have specific checks for each shift to make sure everything is safe, such as fluid levels, and log anything that needs further investigation. Our other tasks can include PPM (planned preventative maintenance), installing new machinery, site project work and repairs.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The satisfaction when we have got a machine back into production and identified ways to improve how a machine is operating. It’s a good working environment, we all strive for the same goal and want to get our work completed to a high standard and the site working well.
Is working in engineering what you expected?
Yes, it’s very ‘hands on’ which suits me, and I enjoy the different challenges like fault finding.
What are the challenges?
If there is a breakdown, we repair machines safely and effectively to get them back into production so we can continue operating. Sometimes you feel the pressure knowing people are relying on you to solve the problem so we can fulfil customer orders. I also have college work to complete and have to balance that with work and home life.
What is your biggest achievement at Coveris so far?
I’m really proud to receive the Engineering Apprentice Award from college. We have also done a lot of work to streamline our operations and make our site more efficient which has involved successfully redesigning and adapting machinery.
What do you find most interesting working in the packaging industry?
It’s interesting to understand the whole process of how a product is made, from extrusion through to print and finishing, and the different techniques used to make the packaging we buy in shops.
What is your favourite part of being in the Coveris team?
Working together with colleagues.
Do you have any advice for someone considering applying for an apprenticeship?
Take the plunge! It’s a brilliant opportunity to complete a funded qualification and get paid while you’re learning.
What are your interests outside of work?
I’m a family man with a wife and two little boys, one who’s nearly three and a seven month old. We enjoy going out for walks and trips to the beach. I also like to keep healthy and go the gym when it’s open, as well as seeing friends and family.
Congratulations on your award Aaron, and thanks for giving us an insight into your role. Interested in career opportunities at Coveris? Visit coveris.com/careers/join-the-team