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Making light work of lamps.

WHEN Wayne Hembling went for a part-time job as a packer last year, he never guessed where it would lead.

He walked into the workshop at Farmer's Cottage Lamps 18 months ago to ask if they had any packing-work.

Initially he was taken on part-time to help pack the company's Victorian-style lamps but the job later became fulime.

These days the 23-year-old often finds himself minding the shop at Maxstoke near Coleshill, Warwickshire.

The company manufactures a range of ornamental lamps and garden furniture for individual back gardens and whole town centres.

He said: "I started part-time but soon ended up with a fulime job. The company has a small workforce and the owner and the sales manager go to garden shows a lot of the time. I have to keep things running smoothly while they're away."

Wayne has found that his duties stretch far beyond packing. He also gets involved in many other aspects of the business.

Wayne said: "I weld the lamps, gates and railings that we produce and deal with the distribution side of things. But I still do the packing as well.

"I also have to sort out the suppliers and make sure the stock levels are checked. I have to be able to turn my hand to anything. The most important thing is keeping the customers happy."

The amount of time Wayne spends doing each job depends on the time of year. They do get particularly busy in the summer so he often works longer hours then.

"It depends how busy we are. Sometimes, if I'm busy getting things packaged to go, I fall behind on the iron work."

The lamps come in a range sizes and designs. They are made from a cast iron base with lanterns formed from steel or cast in aluminium.

Wayne, who used to work on a farm, learned his trade as he went along.

"With the metal working it was just a case of learning on the job. I didn't have any formal training. We don't use a forge in the process though, we have a folding machine."

Wayne said there are similarities between working at Farmers Cottage Lamps and working on the farm - but they are not to do with the name.

"After I left school I went straight on to work on the farm. I've never worked in an office and I don't think I'd like to."
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Sep 13, 1998
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