14th January 2020 | Jonathan’s success is testimony to the career opportunities that Metsec apprenticeships provide.
Metframe Drawing Office Manager, Jonathan Heardman reflects on his time at Metsec and the grounding that the company’s apprenticeship scheme gave his career development.
“It’s not unusual for people to stay at Metsec for a long time, but little did I know when I joined Metal Sections, as the company was then called, fresh out of school in 1996 that it would be the start of a long and fulfilling career with an employer that I would grow to love.
“I left college at eighteen with a handful of GCSEs but no firm idea of what I wanted to do. What I did know was that I didn’t want to continue with academic studies at school or college; I wanted something more practical, ideally with good career prospects. I also wanted to start earning some money, having seen friends struggle financially when they were at college.
“I had always enjoyed technical drawing and my dad suggested that I look for an apprenticeship that would suit my interest in this area. Other members of our extended family had taken similar career paths and done well, so it seemed the sensible thing to do.
“I applied to a few local companies and was fortunate to be accepted as a trainee in the Purlins drawing office at Metal Sections in Oldbury.
“The Metsec apprentice training scheme has improved massively since my first days at the company. Nowadays, apprentices start learning as soon as they join us and are given much broader experience across all divisions and disciplines. When I started, I was pretty much the office gofer, making coffee, printing drawings and filing documents.
“One thing that hasn’t changed is Metsec’s commitment to developing home-grown talent and providing the foundations for a career at the company, with opportunities for personal and professional development.
“I wasn’t making coffee for long, however; as new trainees joined and people above me moved on in their careers, I was given more responsibility and started to gain experience in different departments within the Purlins Division, including the drawing office, production, sales, contracts, design and the shop floor.
“In 2000, Metsec formed a new division, SFS, providing framing solutions for the construction industry. I joined the division, producing basic Autocad drawings and production data.
“It was an exciting time which gave me fantastic experience; a new factory was built and there were only four of us in the technical department. I got involved in virtually every aspect of the operations, liaising with customers, scheduling deliveries and learning to communicate with people at all levels.
“SFS became part of Metsec’s Framing Division and I moved to the drawing office, learning to use StruCAD 3D modelling software and gaining wider experience of key departments, such as sales, production and detailing.
“Throughout this time, the company encouraged me to study for relevant qualifications. I did a day-release course at college working towards a GNVQ in Construction and the Built Environment. Subsequent to this, Metsec supported me in gaining an HNC in Civil Structural Engineering from Wolverhampton University.
“I am now Drawing Office Manager for Metframe, with responsibility for a team of skilled technicians, diligently working on creating value-engineered solutions for a wide variety of building projects. The work is varied, interesting, challenging and rewarding.
“I have fond memories of my time as a trainee/apprentice and I now appreciate that my career progression has been no accident; the company deliberately provided me with the experience, training and opportunity to develop a career at Metsec. What’s more, the positive and friendly working environment makes it a pleasure to come to work and engenders a high degree of loyalty to the company.
“I am living proof of the career opportunities that Metsec’s apprenticeship scheme provides. With the right attitude and application, today’s apprentices can look forward to the same, if not more, opportunities to progress within the company and achieve their full potential.”