Young manufacturer of the year

Each year, The Manufacturer MX Awards throw the spotlight on great companies who test themselves to the limit and exceed it. We also honour young people who have demonstrated the same determination.

Each year, The Manufacturer MX Awards throw the spotlight on great companies who test themselves to the limit and exceed it. We also honour young people who have demonstrated the same determination.

The Young Manufacturer of the Year 2017 award went to Thomas D’Arcy, an MSc level Apprentice at Rolls-Royce plc. We asked him what impact winning the award has had?

Tom d’Arcy of Rolls-RoyceTom: At the time, I didn’t really understand what it really meant to me, but over the past couple of months, some of the opportunities that have come out of winning that award, both internally and externally, have been amazing.

At work, I’ve been given opportunities to meet senior leaders and discuss how I think Rolls-Royce can improve, both as an early careers provider and as a manufacturing organisation, to continue to be a world leader in manufacturing.

On a personal level, it’s given me the opportunity to have a bit more confidence in my abilities, and it’s a recognition that, as a very young person in manufacturing, leading a team of hugely experienced fitters and electricians, I’ve got the ability to do the role.

It gives me the confidence to develop, and look at where I need to be developing in the future as well.

It sounds to me like entering the Young Manufacturer of the Year Award – or any other category – is worthwhile because the award really does mean something.

Definitely, even just at the shortlist stage – even just applying for it! It was a great experience, to really sit down and understand what have I done, and what have I accomplished over the past two, three, four years.

Then, to go down to the judging day in London, you get to really understand how to present yourself, which is something we don’t do very often. We often do presentations about things we’ve worked on, or things other people have done, but actually talking about yourself is a real challenge.

We’re not very good in manufacturing at talking about ourselves, but there’s a lot of talent out there, as you demonstrate so clearly. There’s an amazing buzz about manufacturing at the moment, isn’t there?

Definitely. In recent years, there’s been a massive shift in how manufacturing is perceived; from being a traditional, maybe dying industry, to being a really vibrant exciting place where technologies like AI, virtual reality and 3D printing are coming right to the fore.

This article first appeared in the May issue of The Manufacturer magazine. To subscribe, please click here.

The Manufacturer MX Award 2018 TMMX Entry Promo
At what stage in your life did you set out on the journey that brought you into manufacturing?

I’m 21, and have worked in manufacturing for roughly three and a half years. I left school after finishing my A levels. The key development experience was at 16, doing my work experience from school, working in a local manufacturer in the printing industry.

It gave me that insight that I had never had before, that manufacturing can be a really exciting, dynamic place to work. I just love the industry.

SAGE - Young manufacturer of the year 2018SAGE - Young manufacturer of the year 2018And now look at you: Rolls-Royce!

It’s a fantastic company. They’ve given me brilliant opportunities over the past three and a half years.

If someone had asked me when I left school, by the time you’re 21, you’d be leading a team, that could be up to 50 people, you could be managing suppliers and you could be leading multimillion pound projects, I just wouldn’t have believed them.