From Apprentice to Manager - Phill Mason’s Journey in Manufacturing

From Apprentice to Manager - Phill Mason’s Journey in Manufacturing

From Apprentice to Manager - Phill Mason’s Journey in Manufacturing

As a two-time apprentice, Phill Mason of Ontic knows why apprenticeships work within manufacturing to achieve the ultimate goal.

In 1999 when starting his apprenticeship in mechanical engineering little did he know that twenty years later he would be doing it all over again, but in a different subject; business administration.

Financial freedom, life lessons and work ethic are just some of the benefits of joining an apprenticeship scheme, as a youngster starting out in the world of manufacturing. Having the ability to learn how to act around colleagues, how to be safe in a working environment and what actually happens in a factory are key benefits an apprentice has over a purely academically trained engineer.

Having worked 4 days a week in a foundry, learning all aspects of investment casting from ceramic shell technologies through to metallurgy and metrology of finished components, it was clear to Phil from a very early stage that the academic aspects of engineering would not be enough to progress within the casting industry. Phill said:

“You need to know how to handle delicate wax models, be able to tell if the ammonia tank is on, lift part dipped moulds and stand the heat of the furnaces, all while using the engineering skills and knowledge you learn one day per week at college."

"Attending Worcester Technical college, whilst holding down a job and starting a family was tough and many prospects dropped out, some for the lure of a full wage, others because they no longer wanted to work in manufacturing or engineering, but those that stuck it out felt the benefit.”

Having worked within the industry from being an engineer, through quality management, auditing, then into the supply chain, programmes and now into business development and focusing on licensing and acquisition of manufacturing and repair product lines, Phill has gained huge levels of experience, not just technically, but also managing people, risk and customer expectations. 

Without apprenticeships, Phill may well have had a career in manufacturing but it certainly would not have been as successful or rewarding as the past 20 years. The hope is that with a second apprenticeship under his belt that the next 20 years will be equally enjoyable and rewarding.

Made Futures was created to encourage people to get jobs in manufacturing, in support of those who have lost their jobs over the course of the 2020 pandemic. There's still time to sign up and be part of the exhibition by registering here.

You can now watch Phil's Made Futures LIVE interview here.