Duplo: Boy to Man, Apprentice to Product Specialist

DUPLO AND ITS PEOPLE: from Boy to Man, Apprentice to Product Specialist

In October 2009, age nineteen, Tom Mist joined Duplo International as an apprentice engineer. Studying a BTEC in general engineering at college, with the guidance of the careers department, Tom applied for a place on Duplo’s apprenticeship scheme and has never looked back.

Tom’s three-year apprenticeship allowed him to work whilst studying on a day release and enabled him to gain a BTEC national diploma in general engineering. Tom applied for a role within the UK Service Team, as a Service Engineer, where he spent two years out in the field, dealing with customers problems and resolving their issues, before taking up his current role within the International technical team.

What is your current role within Duplo?

Product Specialist Booklet Makers

What attracted you to the Technical specialist role?

Increased knowledge of machines and the travelling.

What is a typical day at Duplo like for you?

Working within the Technical team, means that no day is the same. My time can be spent leading a Technical training course for overseas distributors or our internal UK Service Team. These courses usually run for 5 days and have 2-4 attendees for a main product or sometimes just a day for a smaller product.

My role also includes travel throughout the EMEA & R regions, supporting the International distributors with any Booklet Maker issues that have not been possible to fix via the helpdesk or over the phone. My main aim is to get their machine up and running, as quickly as possible. Travel can be with little warning and this helps to keep my role interesting.

I am also involved in evaluating and testing new products prior to launch. Each product is thoroughly tested in various Beta sites and put through various tests in a production environment and monitored for any issues. Any issues are then reported back to the design and manufacture team for future development.

I also cover any technical questions or issues raised via the Helpdesk, which is an online service where engineers can log any technical issues regarding their Duplo equipment, leaving detailed information which is recorded and logged for future improvements and references of errors.

How much have you changed both professionally and personally since joining Duplo?

My confidence has soared during my career with Duplo, which is due to a combination of increased product knowledge, travel and interaction with lots of different people, such as customers, dealers, engineers etc. This has helped me to expand my communication and people skills, both professionally and personally.

What is the best piece of advice that you would give to a young school leaver looking for an apprenticeship to start their career?

Make sure you enjoy what you do!


If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?

A carpenter, creating things

If you were stuck on an island what three things would you bring?

A machete, beer and cigarettes

Least favourite food?

Blue Cheese, Stilton in particular

People would be surprised if they knew?

My actual age!