In our Bright Lights series, we’re showcasing some of our brilliant employees and their experience of working here at STG Aerospace. This time, we caught up with Mark Jones to discuss his experiences of taking on a new challenge at STG, almost 30 years after embarking on his previous role.
A lot can, and does, happen in 27 years. In that time, the UK has had eight Prime Ministers; seven FIFA World Cups have been hosted around the world; Google, Facebook and TikTok were invented; and the global population has grown by two billion – but, in contrast, Mark Jones has dedicated his expertise to just two businesses.
After a quarter of a century at Lloyds Banking Group, where he progressed into the role of Automated Services Manager, Mark decided it was time for a completely new challenge. That ultimately presented itself as an opportunity to join STG Aerospace as an Internal Sales Executive, a role which Mark took on last year.
However, before beginning this next chapter, it was time for a well-earned break, time which Mark used to its full potential.
“I took a couple of years out and we bought an old cottage as a bit of a project,” Mark explained. “It needed a lot of work and I committed myself to that, before I found that I had a bit more time to relax. It was at that point that I realised it was time to get back into the world of work!”
There was something rather serendipitous about this particular cottage, though. Not only was it a project Mark could throw himself into as a getaway from the hubbub of professional life, it also inspired his return to the world of work, when his neighbour happened to mention that an opportunity had come up where she was working.
That neighbour? Our very own Internal Sales Manager, Nadia.
While there are similarities between working in banking and in aerospace – strict regulations, technological innovation, and plenty more – it is still a considerable change of environment to take on. Mark acknowledges this, but it wouldn’t take much convincing to take the challenge on.
“I’ve always been a bit of an aeroplane buff,” Mark joked. “I wouldn’t admit knowing everything about them, but I’ve always been fascinated. I always thought one of the best parts of going on holiday was the flight, so the opportunity to be involved in aerospace was a really intriguing one, and one that certainly appealed to that sort of boyhood passion.”
“It was a little scary, a bit daunting, and you always feel a bit like a rabbit in the headlights coming into a new business. It took a little while getting used to all the products and all the number codes. Yet over the past six months, my confidence and knowledge has grown, to the point where I now manage our Boeing account. That’s a great barometer to see how far I’ve come since joining.”
Not only is it a different industry, but a different business model altogether. Lloyds Banking Group employs almost 60,000 people and ranks among the biggest private employers in the UK. STG, on the other hand, is a tight-knit team of 60 working on emergency exit and cabin lighting systems for aircraft manufacturers and airlines across the globe.
That brings with it its own challenges, but more importantly, its own incredible opportunities.
“The amount of contact you have, and the ability to work so closely with teams of people is so refreshing. Being able to reach out to people or walk over to their desk and talk to them about a product, rather than a person at the end of an email who never replies, it’s amazing. You get an answer straight away!
“The openness here has made settling in such an enjoyable experience. You get to know everyone, and you see them every day, whether that’s someone in the production team or a member of the Board. The atmosphere is amazing and one that I don’t think you’d get in many other places.”
Is it somewhere Mark would recommend working, then?
“I have!” he replied immediately. “I’ve got a friend who’s a Project Manager in the Civil Service and when a position came up at STG I passed it straight on to them. I know what it’s like to work at a huge organisation like that and I’ve had the experience of coming somewhere completely new and its refreshing, so I couldn’t recommend it highly enough to them.
“Ultimately, working at STG was an opportunity to do something completely different at a stage in my life when that’s exactly what I needed – and I’m so glad I did.”