Working in the utility industry is challenging and rewarding. Our activities are part of everyday life and for most of the time we are unnoticed, but if things breakdown, we then become another emergency service. This diverse scope of activities and the team working environment are very rewarding.
As Network Services Manager I have a team of over 1,500 people working across the whole of the East Midlands. A typical day will start with reviewing all the performance reports for the previous 24 hours to make sure we are delivering the service levels our customers expect. After that the focus is on the short to medium term, so responding to requests from colleagues for support, reviewing and authorising sanctions and orders and using the management information to track our delivery programmes. With a diverse work force I spend a lot of time travelling to each of my depots as I always want to hear and feel what is happening close to the customers. Then I also make time to think about the longer term and this is normally about people; so our apprentice and trainee programmes, succession planning and making sure we are well positioned for the future challenges.
The sense of achievement. This can be seeing a large asset that has reached the end of its life changed for a new one, knowing that the new asset will continue providing a supply to our customers for years to come. Through to the challenge of dealing with the unknown where the plans for a day may be completed changed when a fault occurs, which needs to be prioritised.
Team work. We all need the help and support of other colleagues to achieve an outcome. The linesman in the field needs the support of the supply chain to ensure the overhead materials are available. The network needs to be made safe to work on it and that will involve operational staff and control staff working together. Customers need to be kept informed of what is happening when their supply is lost and our contact centre can only do that if the people in the field let them know what is happening.
Enthusiasm, determination and a willingness to learn.
I began as an electrician back in 1984, so from then to now I have been lucky enough to have many opportunities to develop. I have always been willing to take on a new role and I believe that when you do that you learn much quicker. We have a great training centre now for new staff and that is supported by external providers for specialist training. When I look at the team now, there are so many opportunites for people to develop as the team continues to evolve and the challenge should be for people to develop themselves so that they are ready for the next opportunity that comes up.
Being appointed as Network Services Manager in 2011. It was the job I wanted and I have thoroughly enjoyed it ever since.
The weather. We often receive adverse weather reports. The one thing we can’t do is change the weather, so all we can do is prepare for it and then react quickly. Like a lot of people in my team, you are committed to the team and the customer and when the weather is bad, the place you would like to be is at home, in the warm with the family. But we don’t do that, we get our kit on and head out into the weather to deliver a service for our customers. I am immensely proud of my team who make this commitment on a regular basis.
Join the team, it’s a rewarding career and it is one that is evolving quicker than it has in many years due to the new technology coming on to our network.