Apprentice turned manager appeals to next generation

2 August, 21

A former apprentice who has gone on to become Maintenance Manager for the company he trained with is appealing for young people to consider a career in engineering.

Otto Mathiesen began working at Russell Roof Tiles in Burton upon Trent as an apprentice 11 years ago. He started out running the machines as an operator and from there, honed his engineering skills further as a fitter before going on to run shifts as a supervisor and ultimately becoming Maintenance Manager.

Russell Roof Tiles is the largest independent manufacturer of concrete roof tiles in the UK pitched roofing market and currently employs 140 staff across its three sites (two in Burton upon Trent) and Lochmaben, Scotland.

During his time at the company, Otto has felt invested in by his employer and has also achieved additional qualifications, including an ILM in Leadership to support his career progression. Otto is supporting Burton and South Derbyshire College and helping them to promote their courses within engineering and manufacturing.

Russell Roof Tiles has recently recruited three new apprentices to join their team and Otto is passionate about encouraging young people into engineering to help tackle the skills shortage within the industry.

The company produces thousands of tiles every week that are used on roofs across the UK by premier housebuilders and developers.

Otto commented: “There’s a massive skills shortage in engineering. I think it’s important for young people to realise that university isn’t the only option. An apprenticeship in a heavy industrial manufacturing environment is exciting! There’s plenty of things to learn, from welding and fabrication to electrics, fault finding and mechanical engineering – the opportunities are endless.”

Otto is a keen ambassador for apprenticeships and is equally committed to encouraging more women to join the industry. Otto said: “I would definitely encourage more girls to consider a career in the engineering industry. It is so often a male dominated environment but there are many opportunities and I think it’s important to break down those barriers.

“I would urge more young people, regardless of gender, to start thinking about jobs in our sector because it can often be overlooked. You’ll not only be earning money and learning but you’ll also be developing your career. It doesn’t just stop with your apprenticeship either – it’s the years after – the more hours and hard work you put in, the better you can develop yourself and your career.”

The company is also currently recruiting for mechanical engineers and operators for its sites as well as forklift truck drivers and is also taking on apprentices to nurture youngsters to start a career in manufacturing.

Russell Roof Tiles is a leading independent pitched roof tile manufacturer supplying products for the top housebuilders and high-profile social housing and commercial projects. The company produces thousands of tiles every week that are used on roofs across the UK, for all of the UK’s premier housebuilders and developers.

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