‘It’s a great industry with endless opportunities!’
William McLean is a project engineer at NG Bailey and is at the same time working towards a foundation degree in Building Services Engineering. He explains why he’s so enthusiastic about the career he’s chosen.
Q Why did you choose a career in building services engineering?
A I have to admit it was initially because of my granddad! He was an electrician for the whole of his working life and I saw what great satisfaction he got from his job. When I investigated the possibility of a career for myself it quickly became clear that the sector offers tremendous opportunities to progress and fulfil your potential. It’s also very rewarding – both personally and financially.
Q Do work and study combine successfully?
A Without a doubt. I travel to the University of Northumbria in Newcastle one every month for one week, and should complete my foundation degree in December 2010. The rest of the time I’m at NG Bailey or out on-site.
Q Do you think having the right qualifications will be important to your career development?
A I think it’s essential to get as many qualifications as possible. Once I’ve completed my foundation degree I want to study for a Masters in Engineering. This will enable me to move into contracts management and take my career even further.
Q Tell us about a typical day at work
At NG Bailey I have plenty of responsibility. On a typical day I might have meetings with sub-contractors as well as with my own operatives. I have to make sure that all materials are on-site at the right time and may also have to liaise with the main contactor to ensure the project progresses as smoothly as possible.
Q Does one project stick in your mind as being particularly challenging?
A My current project is very interesting - Deans Community High School based in Livingston. It's a £5 million mechanical, electrical and plumbing contract. When we started the job we had almost no profit margin to work with. The first step was to re-engineer the job and explore cost-effective and innovative solutions. This challenged my knowledge and experience because I had to redesign the job as well as carrying out the installation works. It was a pretty steep learning curve!
Q What would you say to someone thinking about a career in building services engineering?
A I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone with ambition who is willing to work hard. There are endless opportunities for someone who’s really committed.
Q And finally – what does a good day at work mean to you?
A It’s a day when targets are met and everyone is happy and motivated.