Education and Qualifications:
Authorised Person Boilers and Pressure Systems (JSP375), City & Guilds
Authorised Person Lifts, City and Guilds
Boiler Operation Accreditation Scheme (BOAS), Combustion Engineering Association
Commercial and Domestic gas, United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS)
NVQ and City & Guilds in Plumbing and Heating
Job title: Engineering Officer
Employer: Serco (Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital)
What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
I have always enjoyed working with my hands, building things, and fixing things. I am naturally drawn to how things work and how they are made, which made an engineering career an obvious choice.
Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
I work in a team of seven engineering officers, where we each have our own areas of speciality. We support the tradespeople with a higher understanding of engineering principles, helping them to resolve issues and ultimately ensure the smooth running of an acute medical hospital. I also liaise with contractors and ensure statutory compliance of machinery and equipment within my remit.
Can you describe a typical working day?
Although I am office based, I try to get out and meet the tradespeople every day. I visit every piece of plant that I am responsible for and check its operation. I often have contractors on site so I will check Risk Assessment and Method Statement’s (RAM) and competencies and issue permits to work. With 15 years’ experience as a plumbing, gas, and steam engineer, I will often get asked for my expertise to find resolutions to problems on site.
Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
Working in an acute medical hospital means that access is nearly always an issue and is something that we are all mindful and very sensitive of. This becomes an extraordinary challenge when an emergency arises like a leak or an interruption to services, and it means that we have to work closely with the healthcare trust to resolve issues in an efficient but also understanding way.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
I still love problem solving! My favourite thing to do is get out on site with the tradespeople and work out why something isn’t working, or not operating correctly, and taking it apart and discovering the fix. I also enjoy working closely with contractors, building relations with them, and understanding the part they play in running the hospital.
Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
In the past I was instrumental in solving long-standing issues with a steam system used for humidification and autoclaving. I took over from another engineer who didn’t understand steam boilers or systems and who had made a series of clumsy repairs! When I got involved, I fixed issues at their root cause, put a programme of planned work in place and introduced daily water testing. Not only did this lead to a much more robust system that the end user had trust in, but enabled major cost savings as the gas use was reduced by 12% and water by 30%.
What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
A change to my place of work made me feel more valued and that my opinion and expertise was valid. This confidence boost led me to apply for professional registration to gain the recognition that I deserve.
In what ways has registration benefitted your career?
Being in a new job role and gaining professional registration has proven to my colleagues that I am a valuable member of the engineering team and that it was a good progression for me from working on the tools.
How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?
As a service provider to an NHS trust, professional registration gives them confidence that we can provide a good, professional robust service and that we apply the right principles to ensure the continuity of the hospital.
Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
See professional registration as a way of making the next step in your career, once your engineering competence and commitment are recognised it could open doors to a promotion or a job change.
Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time or what are your future ambitions?
I feel proud to support the NHS, so I’d like to carry on here, continuing to gain knowledge and experience of the site.
Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time that relates to engineering? For example, do you participate in mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
After many years of providing an all around the clock service I now enjoy downtime with my friends and family, but still get called upon by them to fix things!