Jade Richardson was once keeping her career options open when she was studying Health & Beauty and Plumbing! She is now a Smart Meter Engineer and Technical Specialist at Morrison Utility Services overseeing and supporting a team of 20 engineers. Find out more about Jade's qualification and her journey in the energy and utilities sector.
Tell us about your role...
I am a Smart Meter Engineer and Technical Specialist for Morrison Utility Services (MUS). As I am a technical specialist, I provide technical support to other engineers - helping them if they run into difficulties, signing off new engineers who I think are competent to continue as engineers and managing work in progress (WIP). Generally, I make sure that the work we do is done right, is of good quality and our engineers follow the procedures for safety and quality.
Why is your role important?
I provide support. It’s a really important part of being a team that works well together. When you are working on your own there is only one person to call so I need to be able to help the engineer sort out the problem. I have 17 engineers who can call on me and there are 50 engineers in total working in London. There is a good chance they might all ring me! The way I see it is that we want to avoid aborting jobs, where we simply close down a job we cannot do. If I can provide support, say for example, helping an engineer resolve a problem by using Facetime, I’ll do it. I can see the bigger picture and it keeps everyone happy and motivated.
"I was studying Health & Beauty and Plumbing. I thought I should keep my options open!"
Which parts of the job do you enjoy most or find most rewarding?
I like helping and being able to offer a different way of looking at something. It doesn’t have to be work related! My aim is to keep everything running smoothly. I like being organised and I am very precise about what needs doing and how to go about it. I had a management role in retail and I think some of that is coming into this role now, especially dealing with problems and helping people become self-reliant.
What path did you use to get the position you hold today?
I studied plumbing and found a local company who could support me through my Level 2 and 3 qualifications. I also became Gas Safe qualified and worked for five years installing central heating systems. Physically it was hard work especially moving boilers up flights of stairs but I did it! Then I applied for this role and was successful. MUS has provided training in electrical installation which I passed with flying colours according to my Supervisor. I’ve been working for MUS for just over a year and was promoted three months ago which isn’t bad.
What did you do before?
I starting my working life in retail and was studying Health & Beauty and Plumbing at the same time as working. I thought I should keep my options open!
Has it met or exceeded your expectations?
It has definitely been the best job I’ve had. I’ve had training to increase my skills and as a lone worker I have lots of support and steps put in place to keep me safe. I am also looking at my next step up! I’ve worked hard to get where I am and I love it but I know there is more that I can do if I want to.
I’ve also just been awarded a company award for Going the Extra Mile for a customer. An elderly gentleman I went to had no power or heating in January, he had just one candle and a radio. I contacted his housing association and they did not know, he had never complained and no one had ever checked. I arranged for the housing association to put him up in a hotel while the necessary work was done on his flat.
What advice would you give to the people reading this article who want to work in a similar field?
Step out of your comfort zone, you never know what could happen and I never thought I would be where I am today. MUS recruits Apprentice Meter Engineers which means you get all of the training while earning and can become a fully qualified engineer in two years, which is quicker than the way I did it.