Airfield Engineer - A conversation with Chris
What did you do prior to joining Birmingham Airport?
After successfully completing my electrical apprenticeship in the 1990s with a small company based in Selly Oak, the recession hit the UK which had a massive impact on the building industry. The electronics sector was a growth market at that time so I started working for a small local company, before eventually settling with a large multinational company. I travelled around the West Midlands and North Wales repairing and servicing integrated security systems for a variety of large chain stores, local government agencies and the banking industry. The travelling aspect was difficult with lots of hours on the road compounded with the fact of no real potential to progress or development route. This was enough incentive for me to start looking to move on.
What attracted you to the role?
I was looking for a new challenge in my career. I had seen the post for an Airfield Electrician advertised in the local newspaper and applied for the position. The opportunity to work within the aviation industry was something quite different, with the appeal of working at one location and outside on the airfield. Combined with the possibility to up skill, train and hopefully progress my career path with such a prestigious company was a real positive goal to pursue.
Tell us about your training?
While working at Birmingham Airport, I have had the opportunity to attend a number of training courses to increase my knowledge and skills base. I have completed four Aeronautical Ground Lighting residential courses based in Yorkshire, as well as a few High Voltage and Health and Safety courses. I have also undertaken a number of electrical courses to keep up to date with the latest electrical standards and compliance levels. All the courses taken are recognised by approved examination boards (NVQ/ B-Tec / City & Guilds).
My personal experience is that Birmingham Airport are real investors in their employees.
So what’s a typical day for you then?
Primarily managing the operations of the Airfield Technicians, a team of ten personnel, working on shift 24hours a day, also one part time electrical fitter and one apprentice.
I oversee a number of projects, faults and engineering problems which may arise on the airfield. I proactively seek to resolve any issues with a sound engineering solution. Like many staff working at Birmingham no day is ever the same, each day will bring new challenges.
So what do you like best about your job?
It is such a unique position to be in - I enjoy working in an airfield environment with the support of a close knit experienced team. I also thrive on the different challenges which arise daily, and gain great satisfaction when working together with other departments throughout the airport to maintain the smooth operation and deliver a quality service to our customer base at Birmingham Airport.
And what qualities are most beneficial?
Being able to listen and learn from past experience, these are the qualities I find are most valuable and beneficial in this working environment.
Are there opportunities to develop in your career?
I joined the company working as an Airfield Electrician in 2003 and always looked to progress my career. In 2010, I was promoted to the post of Airfield Engineer, managing the team of Airfield Electricians, so who knows what else the future may bring. There are always opportunities for personal progression within the airport.
What would you say to someone thinking about joining BHX?
If you a looking for an interesting career with the potential to progress and learn new skills on the way, then I would encourage anyone to look at working in the aviation industry, especially Birmingham Airport where careers certainly take off!