Working During a Pandemic — Ben Spain
Lewys Gammond Phillips
Marketing Officer, Kontroltek Ltd
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has affected all our lives. At Kontroltek, our workshops have remained open to support key industries during lockdown. Ben, one of our engineering apprentices, has told us what life has been like for him whilst working during a pandemic.
I’m Ben and I’m an apprentice electronics engineer at the Kontroltek workshop in Bridgend.
How has coronavirus affected you personally?
It hasn’t affected me personally, as much, because I’m still at home with my parents but I’ve also got to be extra careful with that. Work has kept me busy and also the Kontroltek workshop has put in social distancing measures, which has eased my mind a lot in and out of the workplace.
How has coronavirus affected your studies?
Obviously, being an apprentice, I’m in a four-year apprenticeship with Kontroltek. This was supposed to be my last year and obviously, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted that last year of studying.
This doesn’t mean to say that I’m not busy with my studies. I’m still studying from home on weekends, keeping myself busy, doing my final pieces of coursework. There’s no rest for the wicked, unfortunately.
What’s it been like in the workshop?
Social distancing and staggered breaks were a bit surreal, but now we’re a few months into this, we as an entire workforce have got to use to this now.
We did think at the start of this it would be a lot quieter in the workshop, but we found that in the past few months, as companies start move their production lines to pharmaceutical and food and drink, just to keep these industries alive and moving during the lockdown, we’ve found our work has started to increase. If anything, we’ve been busier than ever.
You have been involved in Kontroltek’s own PPE efforts. How has that gone?
At the start of the pandemic, we started to realise that a lot of people who work in the care home industry and pharma industry were struggling to get hold of PPE as there was a nationwide PPE shortage—more in the sense of there was a shortage of face shields.
We noticed this and decided to invest in one 3D printer to start making PPE for our local care homes and local pharmacies, which you can see operating behind me right now.
Originally, we only started doing about 10 face shields a day. This has now increased to about 20 face shields a day which then increased to 100 face shields a day, and so on and so forth.
Through making these face shields, we as Kontroltek have received some great, positive feedback. Every single day we are receiving phone calls from people asking for more face shields.