Apprentice Blog: Rising to the Top – From Apprentice to CEO
It’s National Apprenticeship Week, and we’re bringing you blogs throughout the week from our current adi apprentices as well as some of our employees who completed apprenticeships back in the day.
In today’s blog, entering the adi Hot seat is adi Group CEO, Alan Lusty, who talks about his inspiring journey of rising to the top. From failing his 11-plus’ exams, to completing an Apprenticeship and climbing the engineering ranks to the present day as CEO of his own highly successful company – adi Group!
What apprenticeship did you do and how long did it take to complete?
I was an instrument apprentice at a company called Albright & Wilson based in Oldbury near to where I grew up. Albright & Wilson were an international chemical manufacturer and it was here that I learned how to operate in a business environment. I did a four-year apprenticeship before qualifying as a technician and progressing to an engineer in Albright & Wilson’s Petro-chemical operations by the age of 22.
During your apprenticeship what kinds of projects did you support and what type of work did you undertake on a daily basis?
I started all my tasks at the first rung of the ladder, therefore giving me a good understanding of why the tasks were actually being done. Some of my initial daily tasks were reading electricity, gas and water meter reading across the site, another task was to change paper charts on recorders used for measuring say plant temperature, pressure etc, today this sort of recording would be done electronically on Computer based systems.
These routine tasks were just to get me to understand the Chemical plant I soon moved into much more detailed and interesting tasks all focusing on giving me a good grounding for me career.
What made you decide to do an Apprenticeship?
I am very lucky that I have known what I wanted to do as a career from a very young age. From the age of 10 I just knew that I wanted to work in engineering. I had an older brother who used to bring his friends home from the pub and one day I spoke to one of them who worked as an Instrument Technician and I thought that it sounded amazing and knew that, that was what I wanted to do as a career.
How has completing an Apprenticeship benefited you over the course of your career?
My apprenticeship helped me in understanding what adi apprentices would want and need which is helping us as a group to develop a great apprenticeship programme.
What is your role now after completing an Apprenticeship?
I am now the Chief Executive Officer at adi Group which I founded in 1990 – a position I am extremely proud to hold 25 years on. To have seen the company progress from a single division when we began to the Group of 22 divisions we have today is just incredible. It has been an amazing journey and I look forward to seeing the Group continue to develop in the coming years.
Following my apprenticeship, I continued to work for Albright & Wilson for a number of years. It was a huge learning curve, and I was always pushing myself to progress further and to work on bigger projects. Four years down the line, I applied for another position within the company as a Group Engineer based in Cumbria. I didn’t tell my line manager at the time and unfortunately, the move was not possible and I ended up leaving to join the engineering consultancy firm Lamdec. My time at Lamdec gave me the chance to gain experience in new sectors such as food, waste and nuclear.
I then decided to go solo and after persuading my wife to join me, I founded adi in 1990 and the rest, as they say, is history!
What advice would you give to youngsters looking into engineering apprenticeships?
It’s a great point to start a career, it gives a good grounding and if started at a young age then gives benefits to your prospective employer sooner than a perhaps graduation route. The UK skills shortage is predominately in the hands on area, so if you are not an academic person the apprenticeship route is an excellent platform to develop your future aspirations.
For more information about adi Group apprenticeships and careers please visit www.adiltd.co.uk/careers.
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