#lifeatheathrow as an Airport Duty Engineer

Heathrow

By Heathrow

Published 7th November 2019

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Every wondered what it’s like to be one of Heathrow’s Airport Duty Engineers?

We’ve caught up with Louis and Raoul who tell us more about their career at Heathrow and what it’s like to be in the Heathrow Engineering team.

Louis Cruickshank

How long have you worked in engineering?

12 years

What did you study to become an engineer?

I undertook the BAA advanced modern apprenticeship which lasted for four years, which were some of the best years of my career at Heathrow.

The first year was full time at Kingston College. There were 20 apprentices in my year and we all got on really well. Almost all of them still work at Heathrow in Engineering in various roles, we all bump into each other from time to time and have a catch up.

A couple of years later I went back to college for two years to gain a HNC in electrical/electronic engineering. I have also obtained qualifications in NEBOSH (Health and Safety at Work) and am a QCF assessor.

What inspired you to seek a career in engineering?

I always knew I wanted a career in something hands on and wanted to do an apprenticeship. A family friends son had completed the BAA apprenticeship a few years before I finished secondary school and recommended it to me, so I knew it was something I wanted to work towards.

Ensuring I obtained the GCSE’s and experience required to apply for it. I have always enjoyed problem solving and love learning new things. So, a career in engineering was a perfect fit!

What would you say is different about engineering at Heathrow?

The vast majority of Engineers and Engineering Managers at Heathrow have come through the apprenticeship scheme. Engineering at Heathrow has a great support network at all levels, as most people have taken the same path in their careers and can offer great advice.

I think it’s a really inspiring thing that an apprentice can see so many senior managers at Heathrow who started where they are and have work their way up through the ranks.

Aside from that working in Engineering in one of the busiest airports in the world comes with its own challenges, and with ever changing technology you are always learning new skills and thinking of more efficient ways to work. With such a large asset base and many different engineering disciplines, no day is ever the same and always presents a new problem to solve, making it a very exciting place to work for an engineer.

 What one piece of advice would you give to a person considering a career in engineering?

I would always recommend a career in engineering to a young person considering it, with the number of disciplines and departments you can work in within engineering, you can always keep learning and building new skills.

There is never a dull moment and when you feel you have achieved all you can in one department, the option is to take on another. My one piece of advice would be to go for it – you’ll never look back!

What do you think are the biggest myths in regards to engineering?

Certainly, at Heathrow people just assume you repair the aircraft and are not aware of the asset base here that needs to be maintained and controlled.

Another myth is that engineers just go around with clip boards ticking boxes or technicians spend all day turning equipment on and off.

How would you explain your job to someone new?

I currently work as a control engineer in the airport operation and control centre (APOC), whilst on shift my job is to monitor and control high priority assets airport wide such as: the potable water and fire main network (the largest privately-owned water network in Europe) and much more.

I also manage all safe systems of work (confined spaces, hot works, high temperature hot water and the low voltage electrical system), offer technical support to all engineering teams at Heathrow and I’m also first line engineering responder to major incidents.

Raoul Parker-Labastide

How long have you worked in engineering?

5 years

What did you study to become an engineer?

I completed an Electrical Engineering Apprenticeship with Crown House Technologies. I then obtained my 2391 Inspecting & testing, Level 4 Electrical Design and Verification qualifications before becoming Senior Authorised Person on the Terminal 2 Construction Build.

I then moved to HAL as a Terminal 2 Duty Engineer for 11 months before becoming an Airport Duty Engineer in 2015.

What inspired you to seek a career in engineering?

My Dad was an Electrician and my mum was a Bank Manager. Growing up in the school holidays, I would spend time in both workplaces. With my mum, I would sit at a desk all day however the time I spent with my dad involved working in various locations, football stadiums meeting the footballers, airports, using different tools, building stuff and understanding how different things worked. I think I was only ever going to seek one career…

What one piece of advice would you give to a person considering a career in engineering?

GO FOR IT…. Engineering is such an innovative industry which is constantly changing and improving. It’s exciting to be a part of!

What has been your favourite project to work on here at Heathrow?

I will always have a soft spot for Terminal 2 as I was part of the construction, the hand over and the running of it once it was fully operational.

What do you think are the biggest myths in regards to engineering?

That we sit around and drink tea all day…!!

How would you explain your job to someone new?

I control Engineer and Senior Authorised Person on 33KV /11KV High Voltage network consisting of 300 plus substations with a total power demand in excess of 60MW. I monitor and control all systems via Heart network and co-ordinate any response required whether utilising direct or contract employed labour in order to avoid any major impact on safety, business or the environment, thus ensuring that all the assets are performing to a level that allows the operation to function efficiently on 24-hour basis. I also respond to major incidents, engaging with the Emergency Services.

For more information on Careers at Heathrow, visit our new website at: www.careers.heathrow.com

Heathrow

By Heathrow

Published 7th November 2019