When I was an electrician I regularly worked alongside various craftsman and technicians from WPD and Central Networks on jobs.
They always seem to have the best equipment, PPE, vehicles and found their work really interesting.
Watching how they switched out the HV overhead lines and earthing them up, the shrouding of LV underground cables and working with live electric seemed a lot more exciting them wiring up sockets.
My role as a Distribution Manager is to ensure the 313,000 customers within my area receive the best service possible by ensuring we keep the lights on 24/7, provide connections in a timely cost effective way and keeping them inform of any activity we undertake.
A typical week I monitor reports on safety, finance and productivity. Ensuring my four Team managers are given correct direction so we work as a team to achieve our targets for faults, maintenance, network upgrades and connections
I carry out regular site safety visits on craftsman and technicians helping support WPD in any contracts we have with service providers to get the best value for money/service. Help build relationships with local authorities and other stakeholder groups.
Every day brings a new challenge; you can get involved in every aspect of the business from running a depot to meetings with MP’s.
As an individual you can make a difference to the company because your ideas and challenges to the accepted practice are listen to, you can make things happen to improve WPD.
The culture at WPD is all about team work but also enjoying the role you do and making a difference each day to you colleagues or customers.
Being successful in WPD is about working hard, having positive can do attitude and also being able to work as a team to overcome any challenges is vital.
I started out as a jointing apprentice where I learnt my craft skills, as part of my apprentice I planned costed and completed a LV overhead line undergrounding scheme for 50 houses. I really enjoyed the planning; organisation and dealing with customers side of the works, which made my mind up that I wanted to become a technician. I spent as much time as a craftsman with technician’s onsite and in the office to fully understand the role out onsite but also importantly in the office to see the preparation side of the works and the systems they used.
I applied for the first technician job that came up in South Lincolnshire and was successful.
I worked with my Team manager and all the technicians in my team to gain as much experience as I could learn from their own personal strengths within the role to gain my SAP authorisation.
Having worked closely with my team manager and saw what he did running the team, making the decisions on the works program, finance and safety I knew this was the next step for me.
I let my team manager know that I wanted to progress to a team manager and he was very supportive in giving me advice. When I knew the next team manager role was coming up I spent lots of my own time trying to learn as much as I could about my area, the team I might be managing and how I could improve things.
All the extra effort was worth it as i was successful in becoming TM in the Stamford team.
I worked hard as a Team Manager and worked with my DM Ian Brooks to understand the role of TM fully and also the importance of the DM role.
Again putting in the extra effort not only to progress in my role as TM but understand the next step up allowed me to be successful in getting the Distribution manager position in Northampton.
Working through the various roles within WPD has given me a very good understanding of how the business runs and what can be achieved if people work together.
Being the second youngest person to be appointed DM, I believe I was beaten to being the youngest by Phil Swift. Second to that is my old team Stamford winning the safety aware for no accidents for a 12month period.
The biggest challenge if had so far was when I was standby manager and a primary transformer failed at Grantham South which affected a lot of customers in Grantham.
I had to firstly arrange switchers to start to get the 11kV network back on to as many secondary substation and HV customers as possible.
Then there was the challenge of not all the HV circuits could be back fed due to load on the circuits we had to coordinate 500kva lorry generators and teams from across the east midlands WPD area to be fitted at site across Grantham.
Everyone worked together to achieve this, from the DM to craftsman onsite. We had support from all other WPD East Midlands depots including Team managers, technicians, planners it was a real team effort.
All customer were resorted within 12 hours and all works carried out safely.
It’s an incredible opportunity to do an engaging job with potential for great long term progression and development. Every day brings a new challenge.