Education and qualifications:
City & Guilds Advanced Craft, Plymouth College of Further Education.
Current job title:
D B Heating Ltd
What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
When I left school, my qualifications were average, and I was unsure what direction to go in. I secured a place in college to learn electronics which didn’t start for a further four months, so I got a summer job with a plumbing and heating company. It very quickly became evident that this was a learning curve that would never end and that was exciting.
Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
I’m the Works Manager – I quote for future works, organise the company’s diary to book work in, supervise and check ongoing work and deal with any issues that may arise. I also organise safety equipment, order all the materials and check stock levels for our store.
Can you describe a typical working day?
A typical working day would start in the office at 7.30am, making sure all the engineers have the relevant information and materials they need for the day. After they have all left, I will ring customers and book in future works that have been accepted and order the materials for that job. I’d then check the store for any pipe and fittings that may need to be ordered. I will then be out and about, checking on our ongoing works, making sure customers are happy and that our engineers have all they need. I will do a few jobs myself before I go back to the office to answer emails.
I also mentor during our day-to-day workload as we are all learning all the time and there are always questions from apprentices and engineers that need an answer.
Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
The main challenge is organisation. From organising work dates with the customer to ordering materials, booking in the correctly qualified engineer, making sure the materials turn up on time, liaising with the customer and engineer to help the job run smoothly – and doing that for twelve engineers!
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
It’s the satisfaction of a handshake at the end of the job to thank our team for completing a good installation.
Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
We were called to a job in a castle, for the National Trust, that was undergoing major renovations. The biomass boiler fed a very large heat exchanger that was leaking badly. We had to replace it quickly as we didn’t want the exhibits in the castle to get damp. Unfortunately, the delivery of a new heat exchanger was not available for ten weeks. We decided to strip down the 80 plates, clean and re-gasket them, fit new port seals and re-torque the heat exchanger back together, with great success. Our head Installer, Neil Fleet, was instrumental in the repair of the heat exchanger. We couldn’t have done it without him!
What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
To be registered with a professional organisation such as the Engineering Council raises the profile of the company I work for. Our customers are confident that they are using a professional company. Access to professional registration is one of the benefits of my membership of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE).
In what ways has registration benefitted your career?
Registration benefits my career because being part of a professional organisation gives customers more confidence to use our services, which in turn, boosts our workload and helps me to be able to train more apprentices.
How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?
The two directors of D B Heating are very keen to give all their employees the opportunity to enhance their skills by sending them on the relevant courses they need to be competent and confident in the work they are doing. A registration from a professional body will always benefit an employer as customers have trust in the company if they can see its staff are professionally registered and assessed against an external standard.
Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
Definitely do it. There’s no downside to being professionally registered.
Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time or what are your future ambitions?
In five years’ time, I hope to have been able to pass on my knowledge to as many apprentices as I can and hope to develop a good programme for our future budding engineers.
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?
I do a lot of yacht racing. Quite often things will break during a race due to the high strain on a yacht; these breakages need a quick fix so we can continue the race safely.