Simon achieved 9 O’Levels at school and was initially encouraged to go to university however he didn’t feel it was right for him. He studied A’Level Art at Bewdley Sixth Form and during this time he also got involved with the Young Enterprise Scheme as Sales Manager. Simon’s team won not only the Young Enterprise Competition within the school, but also the regional competition too – an experience that was to prove invaluable to his career progression.
At around this time, out of curiosity, Simon attended an interview at local graphic design company, following which they provided him with feedback about the quality of his art portfolio which contrasted with the standards they would usually hope to see. This feedback prompted Simon to reflect on whether college or university was in fact going to provide him with the results he was hoping for.
Simon decided to apply for a job as a trainee engineer at Morgan Matroc. As the sponsor of the Young Enterprise Competition they recognised him as being on the winning team. Seeing his career potential, they offered him a job in Estimating and Works Studies. The company enrolled Simon onto an apprenticeship studying 1 day a week for an HND in Production and Industrial Engineering at Worcester Technical College. The course would take him a total of 5 years during which his career was already progressing and included a spell at Bloxwich Engineering, returning back to Morgan Matroc in a sales role. Simon excelled at this and was soon appointed Sales Manager, however he was determined to finish his qualifications, which he completed in 1989.
Simon spent many successful years with Morgan Matroc working internationally in France, Italy, Germany and USA, including a 3-week business trip at only 21 years old. His transferable skills as a sales manager helped him to become Product/General Manager, making efficiency savings, reducing waste from 9% to 3%, and enabling the company to become even more competitive in the market by reducing costs by 12% and increasing the profit margin.
In 2003 he became Sales and Service Manager at Zoeller and 18 months later he became Managing Director. In 2005 Zoeller merged with FAUN . FAUN Zoeller is now at the forefront of innovation in modern technology in refuse collection vehicles and road sweepers, currently developing hydrogen cell powered vehicles. They firmly believe in developing their staff through apprenticeships (taking on 11 apprentices in 2014 alone), internal mentoring and training, and Investors in People.
Simon recognises the value that his apprenticeship provided him – the mix of studying at college and immediately applying this at work, learning from experienced colleagues, freedom to learn from mistakes, listening to the guidance from mentors and playing to his strengths. He readily admits to early lessons in avoiding arrogance and learning humility, which has stood him in good stead for the rest of his career.
To start your career as an apprentice or discover how apprenticeships can help you create your workforce, contact Worcestershire Apprenticeships Hub on their website www.worcsapprenticeships.org.uk or phone 0300 666 3 666.