Eight years ago, I applied for a cleaning job at Houghton International. After my interview I received a call from Craig Hutton, the Operations Director. I still remember what I said to my wife after the call, “I didn’t get the cleaning job I applied for… they’ve asked me to work on the shop floor as a labourer!”
A hands on role on the shop floor with lots of opportunities for training and progression – it was an easy decision! I didn’t have any experience in the industry but I’ve always been interested in anything mechanical. When I was given a tour around the department and I saw the work being done on the shop floor, I just thought, “yes!”
The company has taken quite a bit of time and effort to train me over the years. I started working at Houghton International in 2011 with essentially no qualifications. I’ve now completed my NVQ level 2 and I’m looking to start my NVQ level 3 soon. At first I wasn’t sure about the idea of going to college – it felt a bit like going back to school. However, it proved much better than my expectations and the sense of achievement from getting my qualifications has been well worth the work.
An average day for me starts early at 6am. The Rail division works around the clock and there’s always work to be done. We all get together for the team brief and that’s when I find out what I’m doing that day.
I will log on to the job on our system, then I will get the tools I need and get started. I could be dismantling a motor, washing and stoving it, conducting electrical and mechanical checks, cleaning, painting or reassembling. Although we’re doing the same kind of work each day, there’s always something unexpected.
It doesn’t matter what kind of work I’m doing, I take pride in what I do and I always put in 100%. I genuinely enjoy what I do, and I think that makes a huge difference. I especially like helping and teaching people. We’re a team and we’ll help each other out whenever we can.
I enjoy training others and at the moment I’m helping one of our apprentices learn the ropes. I often help with training other staff and apprentices, and I like that people can come to me and know I will do my best to help them. Other people in the business have passed their knowledge on to me, and now I have the opportunity to do the same. I’ll never say no when someone needs help.
I love being on the shop floor so I don’t see myself ever sitting behind a desk as a manager, but I do want to keep learning new skills, progressing and getting better at what I do. The more I know, the more knowledge and advice I can pass on to others. In this job it’s important to be enthusiastic and willing to learn. Our PDP (personal development plan) process helps with this, as when I want to learn something new I can ask for it to be added to my training objectives.
I’d say one of the biggest highlights from working at Houghton International was this year, when I was awarded the Houghton International ‘Living the Values’ award. To receive an award in front of everyone in the company was a bit daunting, but it was also a very proud moment for me and I was humbled to know that the effort I put in is recognised. Looking back eight years, when I applied for that cleaning job I would never have expected to be where I am now.