Celebrating our 50th birthday is a real family affair

Filtermist’s 50th birthday has given everyone the chance to reflect on the changes over the years, as well as their own journey within the company. For two fathers working in the manufacturing department, their time with Filtermist has seen them welcome their sons into the team. Ahead of UK Fathers’ Day on Sunday, June 16th, they have been reflecting on the family feel of the company:

In the manufacturing department, there are two father/son teams who’ve notched up nearly 40 years with the company between them. Welder Paul Allen joined 11 years ago, while metal spinner Ben – his son – has been in the team for nine years; and Mark Dixon has worked for us for 15 years and is now a spinning supervisor, overseeing both Ben and his own son Brandon, who joined straight from school three years ago.

Paul says one of the biggest changes has been the introduction of robots, which enables them to manage their time better and be more efficient.

“The robots can’t do everything: we still need to know how to do it so I have tried to give Ben advice. But I also try and let him get on with it, he’s very good at working everything out. As a dad, you can see the opportunities because you’ve been given them yourself. If you can pass those on to your son, that’s definitely a must. The way it’s going at Filtermist, his future is going to be good.

“These youngsters want to keep moving forward and you’ve got to teach them they’ve got to stick at it and be patient. We have had to learn and be patient, and we are still here and moving forward. Knowing how to do that is also good for the business.”

His son Ben says lots of the work is still done by hand, and there will always be tasks it’s not viable for robots or machines to complete, but there are lots of opportunities in the future for them to increase their use of technology to enable them to become more efficient as a department.

“The job we do is very niche and it’s a lot about confidence as well as the skills. In my view, I should be better than my dad is and my son (who’s only four at the moment) should eventually be better than me when he grows up. If that happens then we’ve all learned something and we’re passing it down the line and getting better as we go. Not only are things becoming safer as we go on, but also more efficient.”

For Mark, bringing his son Brandon on board has been a learning curve: “As a supervisor, you have to learn to adapt to not being a dad at work and I did struggle at the start keeping the father and supervisor roles separate from each other.

“When I started here, we were making 75 units a week…over the years, it’s turned into more like 350 to 400 units a week. We moved to Telford four years ago and have more or less already outgrown this unit. When myself and Paul left school, you could just drop into a job, but it’s not the same for our sons. Filtermist have been really good organising college for Brandon so he could get his City and Guilds apprenticeship and there are lots of potential opportunities here.”