7 December 2021

Creating career paths

Written by Nina Brown

With three quarters of our directors having started out as apprentices and 60% of our staff having been promoted from within, we caught up with Contract Supervisor Jack to discuss his journey.

When we talked to Jack, his drive and ambition came across in everything he said. With a strong work ethic, stretching back to his first job, a paper round at 11 years old, it’s clear to see how he has progressed to where he is today. And with no plans to stop there, he discusses the highlights and challenges of his journey, as well as his goals for the future.

What was your role when you first joined Hemlow?

I joined Hemlow 12 years ago when I TUPE’d over from my previous company as a Lead Engineer on a static site.

During my 5 years in that role, it transitioned into more of a Mobile Engineer position, as I began to split my time between two sites.

I found myself enjoying the variety this gave me and I decided to move into a full-time Mobile Lead Engineer role, covering the M25 and South.

What were you doing before you came to Hemlow?

Most of my family are in the military, so I thought I may have taken that route, but when I was younger, I was at a family friends house and their toaster broke. I remember taking it apart and identifying it as an electrical issue, and at the time I managed to fix it! I really enjoyed identifying the issue, finding a solution and resolving it. So, I set about finding myself an electrical apprenticeship. That was my route into the industry.

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get. You have to go beyond the call of duty in life”

Following my apprenticeship I had a couple of electrical based roles, including working for a data cabling company at Terminal 5 and working on motorway street lighting. However, it was when I started my role as an install engineer at Honeywell that my M&E Maintenance career really began.

How did you find the transition from an onsite engineer to working within an office-based role?

Prior to my role in the office, I was a Lead Engineer, managed by Vince Neal, one of our Contract Managers. He was like a mentor to me and played a major part in giving me the confidence to take the next step in my career.

He trusted me with extra responsibilities, and this enabled me to build a good knowledge base and gain an insight into what a role in the office could look like.

“I feel that was the springboard which made the transition easier”

The opportunity to move into the office had actually come up 2 years prior to me accepting the role, but I didn’t go for it. I was already getting job satisfaction at the time and enjoyed being active and out on site. However, when the opportunity arose again, I felt ready and that the timing was right.

What are some challenges you have had to overcome?

Sometimes in this line of work, it can be a bit like a pressure cooker environment.

Especially at the early stages of your career where you don’t have as much experience, responding to multiple tenant issues and trying to prioritise jobs.

However, for me, the satisfaction of solving an issue, always outweighed the negative.

What do you like most about your role?

I enjoy being able to use my personality, working style and ethic to inspire and lead my team. I am glad I am in a position where I can pass on my knowledge and help other engineers progress in their career.

In addition to my role, I am also a mentor to four of our engineers. As much as it is challenging at times, I really enjoy it. For me it humanises the workplace and offers a safe space for open discussions.

What would be your advice for people entering into the engineering sector?

Ask questions! That’s something that has really helped me at Hemlow. Someone is always there to support you when you aren’t sure about something. And focus on where you want to get to.

Hemlow have now introduced a Scholarship Scheme for all employees, showing a clear career path and what is needed to be achieved to get there, that’s something that has really helped me visualise my future and what I need to do to get there.

What’s the next step for you?

From a team perspective, I have quite a young team so I would like to bring them on a journey and help them progress as engineers both technically and from an administrative perspective.

On a personal level I have set myself a target to become a Contract Manager by Summer 2022.


“If you don’t set yourself goals, then you’re never going to push yourself. When setting them, aim high, as if they are easily achievable, you won’t push yourself”

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