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National Apprentice Week 2020

To celebrate National Apprentice Week 2020, we get to know Joe Rhodes who began his career at Chem Resist as a Fabrication Apprentice back in 2004. Joe is one of our longest-serving apprentices and is currently a Design Engineer.

What did you do prior to joining Chem Resist?

I began my apprenticeship back in September 2004, before that I was at school and working part-time at weekends for ASDA, in the Dewsbury store. For 8 months, I worked at Chem Resist and kept my weekend job, but it became too much and I handed my notice in at ASDA.

How did you find the Apprenticeship?

I found the apprenticeship through Calderdale Careers Service who sent my application in. An interview was arranged and I got the job as a Fabrication Apprentice, which also involved a day studying each week at Huddersfield Technical College.

What do you do outside work?

We try to go on holidays and have days out to get as much family time as we can. I also play football for Littletown FC in Liversedge.

Since joining Chem Resist, what training have you received?

I initially received training on the machines and in different fabrication techniques. I can only learn so much by being shown how to do something, the best way for me to progress is to physically do something myself. After that I was pretty much improving technique and building up my experience. After completing the apprenticeship for 3½ years, I spent a total of 10 years on the shop floor. An opportunity came about working for the Pipework Systems team, I was successful in applying for that and used my welding skills and experience. Eight months later, an opportunity arose this time for a Design Engineer which I got. I then received training in 3D modelling, and over the last 4 years I’ve been designing which is totally different from where I started, but really does combine all my skills and experience.

What does a typical week involve?

Being a Design Engineer is so much more than drawing, but I do enjoy that aspect the most. Every week is a real mixture so I have to manage my time and keep on top of everything. A week could include a project handover with Simon (MD), Gary (Sales Director) or Seamus (Chairman), or all 3 depending on how big the project is. After that I’d liaise with the customer, complete the drawings and send them for approval. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to complete a project, such as creating databooks, job packs for production and organising deliveries with crane companies that need to be done too. A week would usually include a visit to a customer’s site which I enjoy, meeting new people and getting out and about.

if you were stranded on a desert island who would you want with you?


I’m assuming this is going to be a pleasant experience so I’ll say my family, I’d want them to share it with me.


What’s the best thing about working at Chem Resist?

The people I work with, it’s actually good to come to work because of the friends I’ve made. Everyone’s really nice, so it’s the people over and above anything.

Tell me about the most challenging project you’ve worked on so far?

It’s probably the one I’m working on at the minute, which is a solution to store and pump effluent from a laboratory. The specification and scope of the project has changed so we’ve not managed to make progress as I would’ve liked, but meeting customer requirements is what we do.

What’s your favourite music artist and programme to watch?

I’m real old school, I don’t like current music, if I had a tape recorder I’d be listening to that! All I do really listen to is the radio in the car, my favourite stations are Heart, Absolute and sometimes Capital. As for TV, I really enjoy the comedy on ‘League Of Their Own’.

Describe Chem Resist in 3 words?

Enjoyable, Demanding and Exciting. I won’t say Relaxing away from the kids!

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