Liam in line for top award after changing career to Ford engineer
Twenty-six-year-old Liam Gill from Swansea, who has successfully made a career change from personal trainer to engineer, is in contention to win a major award at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2015.
Liam, who works for Ford Motor Company, Bridgend, is one of four finalists shortlisted in the Apprentice of the Year category at the high profile awards ceremony to be held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Thursday, October 29.
The coveted awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who have exceeded expectations, shown a dynamic approach to training and demonstrated initiative, enterprise, innovation, creativity and commitment to the improvement of skills development for the Welsh economy.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and media partner is Media Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme, led by the Welsh Government, is supported by the European Social Fund.
Now working as a Mechanical Engineering Apprentice with the Ford Motor Company, Liam is making quite a name for himself by coming up with new ideas that have saved the company more than £80,000 a year.
Liam said: “I decided fitness wasn’t a long-term career for me. I’ve always been fascinated by how machinery works and decided to train in engineering.”
He attended Bridgend College in the first year, learning workshop skills, maintenance techniques and more. The second year he spent with the training department at Bridgend Engine Plant, with one day a week in college.
Liam completed his Apprenticeship in Mechanical Maintenance and Level 3 Extend Diploma in Engineering Maintenance with distinctions in all modules.
“I started my apprenticeship with Ford at the age of 24, older than most others on my course,” he said. “I have always given my best efforts to achieve high standards and as well as this I wanted to set a good example for the younger apprentices. I want to build the best career that I possibly can out of this opportunity and have always shown willingness to learn, enthusiasm and initiative.
“The Apprenticeship has been the best thing I have ever done, the training techniques and fault diagnosis have been superb and I will be able to use these experiences to take with me when I qualify. I have developed skills specific to my career in engineering as well as other, broader skills that will benefit my career.”
“I’m over the moon to have been shortlisted for the award. I really enjoy my work, something I never thought I would say. I find the problem-solving part of my work really fulfilling.”
He’s now studying for a Higher National Certificate at Bridgend College and is also starting a degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering at Swansea University this autumn. “Studying for two qualifications will be difficult, but I am absolutely committed to it,” he said.
His manager, Gary Fender, said: “I have been in engineering for 33 years and Liam is one of the best I have ever seen. His effort and commitment are outstanding, as is the quality of his work.”
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James congratulated Liam and the other 36 award finalists. “We have some truly exceptional apprentices here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements,” she said.
“Equally important are the training providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices. Developing skilled young people is vital for our economy. The Welsh Government is committed to training programmes such as Apprenticeships but investment must be a shared responsibility with the education sector, businesses and individuals.”