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Ukrainian, Anton, offered engineering job by fellow student

Anton Vasili, a Ukrainian national, arrived in England in April of 2022, seeking new opportunities and a better life for himself and his family. After the war broke out in Ukraine, Anton and his family were forced to leave their homes and wait for their visas to come through while staying in Germany for about a month.

Upon arriving in England, Anton began searching for work and landed a job as a sales manager at The Range in Paignton. However, he wanted to learn more and improve his skills, so he started taking English courses and spoke with his friend Kate about wanting to learn more about management.

Ukrainian national Anton Vasili standing with Rafal Ciechaki
Left – Anton Vasili, Right – Rafal Ciechacki, Operations Manager at Foundry Fabrication Ltd

Kate suggested management courses at Level 2 and 3, but Anton, who had a degree in management from Ukraine, wanted to study at a higher level. This is when he discovered the CMI Operations / Departmental Manager Apprenticeship at Level 5, which he enrolled on and where he met Rafal Ciechacki.

Rafal Ciechacki, who is also enrolled on the course, is the Operations Manager at Foundry Fabrication LTD in Totnes. During their introduction on the first day of the course, Anton mentioned that he was a qualified engineer and worked at The Range in Paignton. Rafal saw an opportunity and had hoped they would be able to speak to Anton at some point to see if he would be interested in getting back into engineering in any way.

After a few sessions, Rafal invited Anton to visit Foundry Fabrication LTD to see what they do and the operations they have going on. Rafal hoped that the visit would engage Anton’s technical mind and that he might enjoy working there. The visit did just that, and Anton became interested in the company and the job opportunities available.

Ukrainian national Anton Vasili talking with Rafal Ciechaki

Foundry Fabrication LTD had been looking for a long time for someone with a technical mind to inspect their products as a Quality Engineer. They were also looking for someone they could elevate to another level and a natural material for that kind of person. Anton’s skills and qualifications made him a perfect fit for the company, and after a first sit-down with the general manager, Anton was offered a job as a Quality Engineer.

Anton received the job description and had a read-through, and within 3-4 days, he responded yes and accepted the offer. Foundry Fabrication LTD was happy to wait for Anton to work out his notice at The Range, and he is now a Quality Engineer with the potential to grow within the company.

Foundry Fabrication LTD is owned by the Holdan Group, a large group of companies that had just invested approximately £5 to £7 million in new buildings and machinery to increase their output by 40%. This means there will be many more opportunities for those working for the business.

Ukrainian national Anton Vasili talking with Rafal Ciechaki

There is a shortage of engineers, particularly in Devon, and particularly for metal works, making it difficult to find skilled workers. Foundry Fabrication LTD has recruited engineers from Coventry and Sheffield who have relocated to work for them. The well-skilled people in the area are already occupied and well-settled, making them hard to recruit.

Anton’s skills, qualifications, and interest made him a perfect fit for Foundry Fabrication LTD. The company found him to be an intelligent and skilled worker and is looking to retain him. They have created a plan for his progression within the company, including opportunities to become Head of Quality or Technical Engineering.

Anton is happy in the quiet and safe area and is planning to stay in England after the three-year Ukrainian Programme has finished. In the backs of their minds they have the structure of the country they left and Anton said “however you look at it, the prospect of living and quality of life is better in the UK. You are continuously thinking of how to survive whereas in the UK, if you are a reliable person you can have a good life.”

This is a great example of the unexpected opportunities that can come from studying, and how no matter what the circumstance, you can use education to change your circumstance and change your life for the better.

To discover what management courses you could study, visit the South Devon College website. Or, if like Anton you’re looking to study at a higher level, visit the University Centre South Devon website. If you have any queries, click here to get in touch with the College.

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