56-year-old welder adds spark to Carmarthenshire company’s future
A Carmarthenshire welding business has shown its commitment to investing in its older employees’ skills by backing a new Welsh Government campaign designed to challenge stereotypes and show ‘people don’t have a best before date’.
Paul Evans was 16 when he left school. His last day was on a Friday and he took a job as a welder’s mate the following Monday. His new job was at Amcanu, now a global player, but then a small family-run company in Burry Port in Carmarthenshire.
40 years on, the 56 year old is now Welding Shop Team Leader at the company which designs and builds world-class metal industrial enclosures.
Paul and Amcanu are supporting the Welsh Government’s Age of Investment initiative launched during Skills for Work Week, which highlights to employers across Wales the importance of retaining their older workers.
It warns employers that within the next five years, one in three people of working age will be over fifty. Therefore, investing in skills throughout an employee’s working life has never been more important.
“I didn’t know much about the job and didn’t want to go to college, so I learned my trade here on the factory floor. I started cutting metal with saws and drills, and then learned the skill of welding. You watch, have a go, listen and learn. You do that over and over until you get it right. It was drummed into me that quality was everything. You can’t cut corners here,” said Paul
“I’ve been on a few short courses at the local college when I needed some specialist knowledge about a different type of welding, but most of my learning has been here in the factory and now I am confident at making anything.”
Paul has been a foreman for 25 of the 40 years at Amcanu and currently looks after a team of 8, including apprentices.
He continued: “I teach the apprentices the way I was taught. I want to be fair to everybody, giving them the support they need to produce the high quality work Amcanu expects and is known for.
“It’s great to play a part building the team and watching the company grow. I’ll keep working this way until the day I finish.”
Owain Davies, Managing Director for Amcanu, said: “Workers in the older age bracket are a huge asset and we need to shout about them, louder and more often. We benefit so much from their experience. They are great teachers, great at motivating others. They understand that failure is not a bad word. That you learn more about yourself and the job when you get it wrong and reflect on that, than when you get things right all the time. Their success breeds success.”