Fabrication is the front end of the business from a manufacturing perspective, where most of the parts start their production life. We manufacture Sheet Metal and Plate work components and weld using stainless steel, mild steel, aluminium, brass and copper. We maintain a high level of skilled individuals and continuously improve their skills so we can consistently produce a quality product, maintaining our world class engineering capabilities and reputation.
The environment is highly supportive and we value our employee’s contribution – we maintain our reputation because of them. Our skill transfer from long service engineers to new engineers joining the business is second to none and a lot of this is achieved by creating an environment where individuals feel comfortable enough to express themselves and share their knowledge.
Our entry qualifications are set at a level that represents the ability to learn within the Fabrication department. The role requires both a creative and focused mindset as you learn to produce a multitude of parts in various shapes and sizes, and in all forms of metals from flat sheet/plate. We are looking for individuals that enjoy physical activity as well as applying a methodical thought process towards their work. This is the purpose of development through the apprenticeship programme and we fully support each individual throughout this bespoke process.
Dimitrijs had previously spent his whole career within Food Manufacturing Managerial roles before joining Baker Perkins in May 2022. It was a strategic business decision to create this new role to support our growth and expansion plans, with the focus on maintaining high levels of H&S and awareness within the team, alongside highlighting departmental bottlenecks, and looking for future solutions regarding resource capacities, Production KPI improvements and future growth plans and projects.
On joining Baker Perkins, Dimitrijs says “Taking on this job brings loads of learning with it which I’m grateful for. I am a big believer in good healthy working environments where everyone has the right for their say, however, I value honesty, respect and boundaries.”
Section Leader Fabrication
Mark joined the company back in 1991 after leaving school and applying for a Sheet Metal/Plate work apprenticeship. He left school with the required grades for an apprenticeship and after completing this went on to study his BTEC ONC. He progressed from Sheet Metal Worker to Charge Hand and then onto Team leader before becoming Assistant Production Manager, culminating in his current position of Fabrication Section Leader.
Speaking of his own opportunities, he said “These have all helped me create a pro-active environment that enhances development across all aspects and helps individuals enhance their own development through the correct pathways. The fact I am still working here and enjoying my experiences 30 years later speaks volumes about the environment and the versatility and opportunities within the company.”
Section Leader Fabrication
Andy was working in a small garage when the opportunity arose to start an apprenticeship at Baker Perkins as a Trainee Fitter in 2022. He completed the apprenticeship in the Fitting Shop and then went on to Further Education, with the company supporting him whilst he studied for an HNC alongside his practical training.
Soon after completing his HNC he got the opportunity to learn another skill and transferred to the Fabrication shop to learn sheet metal/plate work and welding, which gave him the opportunity to multi-skill. He enjoyed the experience and creative side of the job so much that he decided to stay in Fabrication and has worked within the department for the last 15 years.
In his own words “The opportunities kept coming my way with the support of the company and I progressed to Team Leader within the department before taking another step further on my progression journey to become the Section Leader alongside Mark. I never thought it was possible to join a company with such a diverse and supportive culture, but my experiences so far have been amazing and I look forward to many more years within Baker Perkins”
Sheet Metal/Plate worker/welder
Taylor joined Baker Perkins in September 2017 at 16 years old after completing his GCSEs and leaving school.
“Over the last 5 years, Baker Perkins has transformed me from a schoolboy with zero engineering experience into a mature fully skilled man with the confidence to tackle any challenge put in front of me. The support and teaching Baker Perkins has given me has been incredible and I am very grateful for the continued support and patience the business has shown with me. I left the company in July 2021 to take a gap year, which the business supported me unconditionally with whilst I was away. The support and opportunities Baker Perkins has given me since I’ve re-joined the business has been so appreciated and I’m back enjoying my position as a Sheet Metal/Plate worker/welder.”
Rhys joined the company just over a year ago and has recently moved into the second year of his apprenticeship.
“My first year was an enjoyable experience learning about the Fabrication shop and the importance of Health and Safety, not just for myself but being aware of how my actions can influence those around me; being safe is one the most important things within my learning process. I have really enjoyed the physical and creative side of the job, learning to weld, form and cut sheet metal and plate work. I feel I have learnt so much in my first year and am really looking forward to enhancing my knowledge and skills base over the remaining 3 years of my apprenticeship and becoming more independent so I can work and be confident as a Sheet Metal worker/welder.”
Like Taylor, Josh joined us at 16 in 2019 having only just completed his GCSEs a few months before.
“I initially felt quite intimidated stepping into a full-time working environment as I was so young, but the company was really supportive in guiding me into a skilled career. I have now finished all my college-based work and am now in my final year of my apprenticeship where I fine tune my skills to the high standard of the company and to become a skilled Engineer.”
Mark and Dimitrijs share what a typical day looks like in their different roles…
My first priority in the morning when I walk into the factory is to check that all the Overhead Cranes and Hoist Cranes are in good working order and traverse through their movements. This ensures anyone using them throughout the day will have no issues but most importantly it maintains a safe working environment for everyone within the business/shop.
Along with this a healthy mindset is another of my first priorities within my current job role for the employees within my team before I start to focus on the day-to-day manufacture of jobs within a specific schedule. Communication is the key element to nurturing the right environment and helping everyone feel appreciated and valued within their role in the department and is one of the parts of my current role I enjoy the most.
Solving engineering problems as a team on a daily basis is hugely important, showing we all still have more to learn so I can help everyone foster a continuous growth mentality. One of the key aspects is how we approach mistakes with regards to the manufacture of parts. Mistakes are a natural occurrence within the learning process but our perceptions of these need to remain positive and helping everyone understand they are a key element to the learning process is a daily experience as it’s learning from the mistake that helps us move continuously forwards and learn.
Beyond the shop and its environment, customer focus is also a huge priority, maintaining a consistent workflow through the shop to fulfil assembly requirements but most importantly to fulfil business demands for our external customers, in a timely and accurate fashion.
Communication is the biggest part of my role, so my day starts with a 7:30 meeting with the Assembly Team, going through projects and highlighting priorities for the day/week. I usually make notes related to the Fabrication Department and brief out to my Section Leaders. As the day progresses I am attending various business meetings gathering information that is used when reviewing the job load versus resource capacity. I liaise with Managers/Leaders of the business in cross-functions on targets and deadlines, highlighting and focusing on the business’ critical needs. Every day I try to spend some time on the Shop Floor communicating to our colleagues about work tasks, challenges, H&S aspects and sometimes non-work-related topics.
I promote a good healthy working atmosphere within the team, so everyone feels free to express their thoughts and very often we gather good Continuous Improvement ideas from colleagues in the workshop. It’s also created a healthy, friendly environment in the team, promoting teamwork and good opportunities to learn/share skills and knowledge within the business. Every 2-3 weeks we get together and I present a Team Briefing where I brief out business information and highlight challenges/issues we are experiencing throughout the business. I also inform the team on upcoming projects, business events and opportunities, and ask for feedback on any work-related subjects. This in my opinion is most valuable information – many good ideas come out of this that we can use to improve our daily routine while at work.
On a daily basis we will liaise with the Technical, Accounts and Purchasing departments, Machine shop, Metal finishing, the Production Engineering department and Assembly. This is an everyday process with regards to continuous improvement and successfully fulfilling business requirements and improving communication between the many different sectors.
The main reason for liaising with all these colleagues is to locate or find dates for when we receive critical items holding up the build, or to create more work so we can maintain a consistent workflow and react efficiently to any breakdowns or urgent requirements. It gives us real focus and ensures we don’t impact business operations.