Saving lives every day as an Apollo engineer

Published: 05 Feb 2018

Recently celebrating its 40th Anniversary, Apollo Fire Detectors is no new kid on the block, but its continued drive for innovation and passion for integrity and excellence are apparent in its products and people.

Apollo’s fire detectors save lives and protect property around the globe – a huge responsibility that is taken very seriously at the company. In fact, as part of its recruitment process, candidates are asked “How many lives have you saved today?”.

With its proud heritage, a Royal Warrant and numerous awards, Apollo is a leading manufacturer of fire detection solutions for commercial and industrial applications. The company is part of the Halma Group (FTSE-100) and has offices in the UK, Germany, USA, China, India and Dubai.

At the heart of the business is the UK headquarters in Havant, Hampshire. One of the keys to Apollo’s success is that every aspect of the business takes place at this site – from research & development right through to manufacture and sales – there is a great ethos of collaboration and a monumental team effort. The site facilities include a unique in-house purpose-built laboratory for testing products to meet international standards.

What are the engineering opportunities at Apollo?

With a large manufacturing contingent, the engineering staff at Apollo makes up around 15% of the workforce, in key areas such as electronics, software, firmware, mechanical, systems and research. This figure grows annually, with the technical team doubling in the last 5 years.

Engineers of all levels of experience are drawn to the company’s friendly, welcoming environment and reputation for personal growth and professional development. Apollo offers student placements and secondments and the challenge of working collaboratively with both international colleagues and those within other UK teams on ground-breaking, innovative projects.

Working with local universities, Apollo attends careers fairs and supports students by offering  technical projects as part of their course. Depending on the requirements at the time, the company offers sandwich placements to students in various engineering disciplines. These students gain a constructive insight into the world of work and are valuable, integral members of the team.

What are the benefits of being an Apollo engineer?

A key benefit of being an engineer at Apollo is the sense of co-operation across all departments – a bonus of being located together in one building. Teams work together right across the business in design, testing, manufacture, finance, sales and operations, all coming together to work on projects, utilising the extensive knowledge base and experience held at Apollo.

As the largest company in the Halma Group, Apollo has offices and R&D facilities around the world and can draw on expertise from other group companies too. Opportunities to work at international locations within the group are available. For example, an Apollo engineer permanently relocated to the US office in recent months and two engineers from India are currently on secondment in the UK working on an innovative new project.

The open plan style of the office, state-of-the-art testing facilities and manufacturing capabilities all at one location are just some of the key features that help Apollo to counteract the ‘brain drain’ of skilled engineers that many companies are facing.

The diverse, multi-skilled workforce at Apollo is highly valued and opportunities are on offer to develop skills outside of the workplace through the company’s community and charity programmes. The proceeds of staff ‘Dress Down Friday’ fundraising are donated to a nominated charity and teams of volunteers recently took part in gardening and maintenance work at a local hospice and also helped at a food bank.

Flexible working, a company pension scheme, healthcare insurance, a cycle to work scheme and a company bonus are just some of the benefits on offer to new recruits, not to mention the subsidised restaurant, free tea, coffee and fruit, and showers and parking – Apollo knows how to look after its people.

Apollo’s location on the beautiful south coast of England offers the chance for an excellent quality of life to employees who enjoy the beaches and countryside surrounding Havant.

A mechanical design engineer at Apollo tells her story:

I studied Product Design at University in London and started working as a graduate with an automotive company. After a couple of years I was looking for a change of focus and saw the Mechanical Design Engineer vacancy at Apollo. Not sure if my skills and experience would fit in the world of fire detection, I came for an interview and was really impressed with the company’s values of integrity, curiosity and passion, which mirrored my own.

I was offered the job and started in June 2016. Already I have found there are real opportunities for progression at Apollo, and recognition of work achievements too. I was asked to become a STEM Ambassador to encourage more young people to take up a career in science, technology, engineering or maths. I love this role; recently I delivered a design challenge workshop to 96 11-year olds with the support of a couple of my colleagues!

I have worked on some innovative projects at Apollo and my skills have been recognised by the company directors. I will soon be moving to the operations team in a promotion which I’m really looking forward to. Apollo is a diverse and friendly place to work. I have fellow female engineers in the test lab, in performance, research & development and lots of female co-workers in our manufacturing facility.

Apollo’s Technical Director tells his story:

I worked for Avire Ltd, another of the Halma Group of companies, before I joined Apollo in 2016. My background is in electronic engineering. I currently manage a team of around 50 people across the laboratory, conformance, research and engineering.

I really enjoy collaborating with other Apollo departments and global offices; I can see the opportunity for even more partnering within the Halma Group in the future. One of our UK engineers who relocated to our US office is back with us taking part in a technology hackathon – working with our sister companies and partners on a secret concept for a new project, it’s very exciting.

We encourage all our people to challenge themselves and it really helps to have other functions  close at hand to share ideas and expertise. We like to recruit a mix of experienced and graduate engineers, each bringing a different set of skills and a fresh approach to the team. There is a terrific family atmosphere at Apollo. Each smaller team comes together as one big team that can work on large scale projects, utilising our flair for new technologies and our great lab facilities.

It feels good to have the support of a large umbrella parent company, offering opportunities to travel and work abroad, but we are still awarded the autonomy to work independently in our own sphere of expertise.

Individuals can really make a difference at Apollo and we are all very proud that our products are trusted the world over to be of the highest quality and reliability – we truly save lives.

Apollo Fire Detectors are currently recruiting, you can view their vacancies here.

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