Pontypridd RFC rugby player’s aviation career takes flight

A former Cardiff blues academy player has swapped the rugby pitch for the factory floor after securing an apprenticeship with a top Cardiff aircraft engineering firm.

22-year-old, Callun James, from Brecon, has decided to hang up his boots to instead pursue a career in aircraft engineering to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather.

He has now landed a three-year apprenticeship with AerFin, a leading global specialist in providing cost-saving aftermarket support solutions to the aviation industry.

The apprentice, who is currently in his first year studying an aircraft engineering apprenticeship at Coleg y Cymoedd, originally dreamed of a career playing rugby professionally and previously played rugby for the under sixteen and under eighteen teams at Wales and Cardiff Blues before securing an academy contract with the latter.

However, after hearing his uncle and grandfathers speak about their jobs as aircraft engineers after work each day, Callun became increasingly interested in the aviation industry and was inspired to change direction and pursue a career in the sector.

To kickstart his journey to aircraft engineering, Callun decided to return to college this year, opting to complete a Level 3 at Coleg y Cymoedd.

Callun said: ‘I’ve always had an interest in aircraft engineering and loved hearing about the job from my family, who always spoke passionately about it. I loved rugby but I felt as if I needed to follow a true passion of mine which was aircraft engineering, as it has been a trade that I could follow my families footsteps in.

“As part of my apprenticeship, I am currently working at AerFin during the half-term holidays, while studying full-time at Coleg y Cymoedd. From September, I will be working full-time at AerFin which I am really excited about.

“Coleg y Cymoedd has been incredibly helpful, allowing me to gain a realistic insight into what it would be like to work in the industry, as well as hands-on experience that will help me with my career, thanks to the great facilities they have for aircraft engineering.”

Callun previously worked within the warehouse at AerFin and after seeing the apprenticeship advertised on LinkedIn, put himself forward for the opportunity, beating others from across the country to be on the programme.

David Howells, Head of Computing and Engineering at Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “The future is bright for Callun. He is a very talented young engineer and we are incredibly proud of him. We look forward to following his journey with AerFin and seeing where his career will lead.

 “It’s great to see learners from the college achieving their dreams. We have worked closely with industry to design courses and apprenticeships that ensure our learners leave college equipped with the skills they need to enter industries career ready.”