After 50 years of service, Victor Ricketts has written about his time at Helipebs
I joined the Helipebs in August 1971 after being accepted as an apprentice. My first year was off-the-job-training with 30 other local apprentices from different companies. I was apprentice of the year and was presented with a 0 – 1” micrometer, which I still have to this day.
My apprenticeship was carried out through the EITB (Engineering Industries Training Board). At this time, the company had a machine shop and foundry on site which relied too heavily on sub-contract work, so after finishing my apprenticeship, Helipebs carried on investing in my training on a variety of different machines and I became multi-skilled; one of only a few at the time.
When I reached 25 years old, the Managing Director asked me if I would be interested in running the company’s first night shift, I jumped at the chance and bit his hand off. This came about as a result of receiving a substantial order for pneumatic cylinders for delivery over a two-year period within the Aluminium Smelting industry.
After receiving this order, the company purchased its first CNC machine to produce various components required for these units, so I was trained to programme, set and operate it, I was then able to train other employees to use the machine.
When the night shift came to an end, I was rewarded with staff status and tasked to work alongside the Works Manager. I was promoted to Works Production Engineer expanding my responsibilities which now included: quoting, dealing with suppliers, tooling, sorting out machining and inspection issues whilst still turning my hand to machining in an emergency.
For the last eighteen years. I have been Machine Shop Manager, running the machine shop, fitting shop, test areas and the paint shop. The Company has gone through both good times and difficult times and has always done its best to keep people employed and I am grateful that Helipebs has stuck with me. I have completed nearly all my ambitions and hope that I have been able to help other colleagues following on behind me.
Having completed 50 years with Helipebs, it is now time to lock up my toolboxes, spend more time with my wife of 42 years and go fishing more often.
Helipebs is very much a family unit with fathers & sons (including my own two sons) and wives & partners being employed, I wish everyone the best for the future.