Engineers at gas company Cadent keep on working to make sure all customers are supplied with energy and able to power their homes. In this interview for our #CrisisCareersHeroes series, three supervisors talk about how work has been affected by coronavirus for them and their teams.
We also hear from Adam in a video interview about how he has had to adapt as a first call operative - an engineer who visits customers' homes to fix gas problems.
If you feel inspired by our interviewees' stories, Cadent's apprenticeships are open now and you can apply here.
|Will Rowley||Repair supervisor||Liverpool|
|Oliwia Knowles||Network supervisor||-|
|Gina Wong||Network supervisor||Birmingham|
- Career Zone: Energy & Utilities
- #CrisisCareersHeroes area of work: Keeping things clean and working
- Employer: Cadent
What does your job look like on a daily basis?
Co-ordinating up to 12 two-man teams in Liverpool to ensure any gas escapes are fixed in the safest, most effective way possible. This involves digging holes in the road, on pavements, in people’s gardens and sometimes in the middle of farmers’ fields to expose the leaking gas pipe and permanently fix them using various techniques. Some of the gas pipes my teams fix are about the width of your thumb, others are over a metre wide!
You’d be amazed at the network of pipes and cables under your feet all over the country and ensuring the gas pipes can continue to transport gas to people’s homes is vital in keeping the public safe from dangerous situations; and to enable our customers to cook and heat their homes – especially important now so many people are staying at home.
I manage a team that responds to any gas-related emergencies, such as:
- leaks on the service pipes feeding customers’ homes
- damage to the main gas pipes in the street
- loss of gas supply incidents
- support for the emergency services in emergency situations
We also carry out routine maintenance on our gas distribution network to keep the gas flowing safely and reliably, and to prevent any emergencies in the future.
I manage a team that locates and repairs gas leaks, reinstalls service pipes for customers who may be off gas, and carries out various planned jobs to maintain our infrastructure for the future. My job is to manage the workload that comes in on a daily basis and ensure that my teams have all they need to complete their job safely and efficiently. Each day is different because the workload is reactive, meaning at any given time jobs can come through from our emergency line which could changes our priorities instantly.
How does the coronavirus outbreak affect your job and what new challenges do you face during the crisis?
We have stepped up the level of PPE that we wear, particularly when dealing face-to-face with customers. This is to protect our Cadent employees and our customers alike. Some of the public are understandably nervous of anyone coming into their houses and so sometimes we will have to go the extra mile to reassure customers we are doing everything we can to limit the risk of spreading coronavirus. Once customers understand the important work we do, they are happy to support us and are grateful.
During the outbreak, we have had to scale back our work and focus on emergency situations only. I have had to ensure my engineers have the correct protective equipment and that face-to-face contact with customers is kept to a minimum.
In the case of evacuation due to gas leaks, I have had to arrange for welfare units for people/families who are self-isolating, so they can be kept at a safe distance from our engineers and other members of public.
Coronavirus has not changed our responsibilities to keep the gas flowing. It is even more crucial – now that more people are in their homes more of the time – that our customers do not experience disruption to their energy supplies. The main task we now face as supervisors is making sure all the engineers have the correct knowledge and PPE when working outside and in people’s homes to protect both themselves and the public. At times they may come into contact with customers who are self-isolating; we must make sure that the engineers are prepared when facing potentially challenging situations.
Video interview: Visiting customers' homes
Adam is a first call operative who goes out to customers' houses to fix leaks and other problems. In this video interview, he talks about how he has had to adapt to the new situation:
Thank you to Will, Oliwia, Gina and Adam for speaking with us. Our #CrisisCareersHeroes campaign highlights workers looking after us during the coronavirus crisis. Check out the full series here.
Lead image by kubanek via Freepik