An Apprentice’s Journey of Dedication, Growth, and Success at AAF

Steven’s journey began at the age of 17 when he decided to leave college and embark on a technician apprenticeship with AAF, a decision that would shape the course of his career.

In celebration of National Careers Week, we wanted to spotlight the breadth of opportunities that an apprenticeship, coupled with a desire for learning and professional development, can provide. And who’s better to demonstrate that than one of our remarkable employees, Steven Gray.

Steven’s journey from apprentice to graduate and then on to director is one built on ambition and a drive to excel in the field of engineering. We hope his career journey both inspires you to pursue what is a challenging, varied, and rewarding field and demonstrates the breadth of opportunities available at AAF.

From Apprentice to Director

“My aspirations as a young person were to establish myself in a successful local engineering company with the potential for growth and travel to expand my experiences in the industry.”

His introduction to AAF came through a recommendation from a local recruitment agency.

“I was intrigued by the prospect of a career in engineering and drawn to AAF’s strong reputation and proximity to my home, so I applied to become a Technical Apprentice and began a rigorous four-year program.

“I spent my first year at the Vickers apprentice training centre, acquiring fundamental engineering skills such as welding, electrical installations, fitting, CNC machining, and technical drawing. Simultaneously, I pursued a BTEC ONC at Newcastle Technical College on a day-release basis.

“The subsequent years of my training involved rotations through various operations departments within AAF, where I gained hands-on experience and expertise.”

The apprenticeship provided Steven with a solid foundation in engineering skills and knowledge.

“I also pursued further education, obtaining a BTEC Higher National Certificate in Mechanical and Production Engineering and later achieving a Diploma in Business Management from the University of Durham Business School.”

Steven’s career at AAF has been marked by continuous growth and advancement. He transitioned from an Applications Engineer to Project Management, eventually rising to positions of increasing responsibility, including Head of Projects and Engineering, and Regional Head of Projects (EMEA).

In December 2022, Steven’s career took a new direction as he moved into the Supply Chain, accepting the role of Sourcing & Logistics Director (P&I EMEA), where he remains today.

A Challenging and Rewarding Career

Reflecting on his journey, Steven acknowledges the challenges he has faced and the changes he has witnessed within the organisation. However, each change brought with it opportunities for growth and advancement, both professionally and personally.

“I have really enjoyed my career and relished the opportunities to grow that AAF has presented me. I have had the opportunity to travel the world, visiting exciting countries and meeting interesting people. Working with exceptional colleagues, who have been both knowledgeable and supportive, has made my time in AAF the most enjoyable and incredibly rewarding.”

Steven Gray’s story is a testament to the power of dedication, perseverance, and seizing opportunities for growth. As we celebrate National Careers Week, we commend Steven for his remarkable achievements and contributions to AAF, inspiring others to pursue their paths of success in the world of engineering and beyond.

Whether you’re interested in an apprenticeship, the field of engineering, or forging a rewarding career with us, take a look at our careers page. There you can find more information about life at AAF and explore our current vacancies. We regularly add new opportunities to our job board so make sure to check for updates.