A MAN who started as a young apprentice is now in the driver’s seat to witness a rail revolution take shape in South Tyneside.
Jonathan Ovington, 24, started off as an apprentice at Siemens in Hebburn as a teenager in 2007.
Now, he has been promoted to a role of lead craftsman and will oversee a section of workers carrying out the production of 20-metre cable harnesses for the fleet of electric trains.
Mr Ovington, from South Shields, is delighted to be playing a key role at a milestone moment in the Hebburn site’s history.
He said: “I started as an apprentice in 2007. I was given the lead craftsman role a fortnight ago, especially for this project.
“I did training in Germany with experts on everything from the beginning to the end of the process, from how to lay the cable and cut it, and document what should be done with each bit of cable.”
Mr Ovington is leading a small team of less than 10 workers, but this number is expected to swell to about 50 as the recruitment drive is stepped up.
He added: “It is good to see everything up and running.
“It feels like it is our, the workers’, project just as much as it Siemens’, as we have been given an input into what will happen.”
Mr Ovington says Siemens continues to offer great opportunities for young people keen to get straight into work rather than continue down an academic path.
He said: “A lot of people feel they have to go a certain route of going to college and university.
“College turned out not to be for me. An apprenticeship is a great chance to get working, and take steps up the career ladder.”