In August 2018 Tinmasters acquired the Swansea based coating and printing company Afon Tinplate Ltd. For the past 20 years, Afon has joined forces with The Worshipful Company of Tinplate Workers alias Wire Workers to offer a 10 week work placement to a second year materials engineering student at Swansea University. Tinmasters already enjoys a close relationship with both the University and the Worshipful Company and is committed to continuing this important industry placement.

This year the work placement was offered to Zachariah Nye. Over the course of 10 weeks, from early June to mid-September, Zac spent time working alongside the planning, health & safety and quality control teams at the Afon printing and lacquering facility, developing his skills and broadening his experience.

Zac said, “I am very grateful for my recent work placement. Not only did I learn some important time and people management skills, I was able to discuss the different routes into management with people who are already there, living it. So the experience helped me to decide on the kind of engineering path I want to follow after I graduate and the steps I need to take to achieve my career goals. I have also been offered the chance to become a Yeoman with the Worshipful Company, which is quite an honour at this stage.”

The Worshipful Company was founded in London in 1670, when craftsmen involved in tin plate (making household items such as drinking vessels and lanterns) and wire workers (crafting needles, fish hooks and chains) set up a trade guild to protect their joint interests. Today 90% of tinplate is used for can-making and packaging while wire is a mainstay in engineering, electrical and electronic industries – and the Company is just as committed to promoting the excellent work of modern-day artisans in both areas through its educational and charitable functions. Tinmasters has enjoyed close links with the Company for many years through their mutual interest in the Metal Packaging Manufacturers’ Association.

John O’Shea, speaking for the Company, said “We are delighted that our vacation sponsorship programme will continue through Tinmasters. We really value Tinmasters as a company, especially with it being in Wales, where the iron works, tinworks and rail working originates from.”

Tinmasters also has a strong relationship with Swansea University’s College of Engineering, which has one of the top industry-led research departments in the UK. Tinmasters has worked with the Swansea team for many years, helping their researchers to turn academic theories into testable prototypes and sponsoring a PhD student to work on our own industry project.

Dr David Penney, co-director of the Materials and Manufacturing Academy at Swansea University, said, “We work with lots of industrial partners. Tinmasters is particularly good as they put a lot of consideration and effort into both their project formation and student supervision so we are really happy to work with them.”

According to Richard O’Neill, CEO of Tinmasters, the company’s active links with research and education are vitally important. As he explains, “These relationships help to fuel our industry innovations, keeping us up-to-date with emerging technologies and in contact with the people who will be driving innovation in the future.”


The Master, Peter Wilkinson, and Tinmasters CEO Richard O’Neill with Swansea University student Zac Nye, who received a certificate confirming his second year work placement, at the  Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers’ alias Wire Workers’ annual Christmas Dinner in London.

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