In October 2008, Mark Owen was shown an advert by a recruitment company for an apprenticeship scheme in engineering, with Duplo International. At age twenty, Mark began his chosen career path in engineering and began a three-year apprenticeship in Manufacturing based engineering with Duplo, which included a day release study programme at Brooklands college.
Eleven years on, Mark is an integral part of the UK Service team, visiting and supporting Duplo customers daily, within the London and South East region. He enjoys using his own initiative to make repairs and enjoys making Duplo customers happy.
What attracted you to the apprenticeship programme with Duplo?
I liked the option of having a dedicated training program, with a career path of becoming a service engineer at the end of it.
How was your training apprenticeship structured?
During my apprenticeship, I worked within the Pre-Delivery Inspection team, checking, testing and preparing machines prior to installation into customers premises and refurbishing second hand machinery for re-sale, all whilst being supervised by a more experienced engineer. This gave me great hands-on experience and I received great support and guidance from my mentor.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A UK SERVICE ENGINEER
Within my current role, myself and the other engineers are responsible for responding to call outs from Duplo customers who are having technical problems with their machines, which are usually down. My key objective is to get the system back up and running as quickly as possible, to enable the customers, generally commercial printers with hard commercial deadlines to complete their jobs on time and ensure they get paid.
Everything within the Service team is geared to providing the fastest response and resolution to problems that occur and keeping our customers happy and satisfied, so that they will continue to buy the Duplo brand.
What training did you receive to make the transition from apprentice to Service engineer? How did it work?
As an apprentice it was a lot of machine refurbishments, so the breakdown of machines to component level, cleaning and rebuilding, which is the best way to learn. It also builds confidence for taking mechanisms apart, with hands on experience.
As a service engineer its more learning on the job, assessing a situation quickly and correctly and using the experience of the team around you to share best practice and understanding. When a product is launched, all Service engineers attend an In-House training course, led by the Technical Team Product Specialists, who are always also on hand to support any issues.
Which products within the Duplo range do you cover?
All of Duplo’s product range, along with some UK specific brands, such as Multigraf creasers and Ideal shredders/ guillotines.
How much have you changed both professionally and personally since joining Duplo?
Since becoming a service engineer I feel I’ve learnt to be more independent, resourceful and more customer focused.
The Service engineers come face-to-face with Duplo customers daily and are therefore brand ambassadors for the business. Presenting a professional and confident image is key to my role.
What is the best piece of advice that you would give to a young school leaver looking for an apprenticeship to start their career?
I would always suggest for youngsters to look at engineering as a potential career path. There are always apprenticeships available, as there are so few young people going into it, but every part of industry has machinery and therefore will always need engineers. Engineering is a transferrable skill, so there are many options for a career.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Three words to describe yourself?
A Passionate foodie
If you could do any other job for a day, what would it be?
A Chef. I love cooking and spend my spare time recreating recipes.
Favourite Football Team?