Find out more about what makes the drainage sector such an attractive proposition for those looking for a change in career.
A switch from training to be an electrician to working in the drainage industry has led Paul Copsey to a career that he enjoys every time he goes to work.
Paul, 30, is a senior CCTV drainage engineer based at the Lanes Group Preston depot and says every day has been different since he joined the company in 2007.
“I was 18-years-old and an apprentice electrician,” he says. “The company I worked for went bump and I needed another job pretty quick. A friend was working for Lanes, and recommended I try for a job.
“I’m glad I did, because I enjoyed working for Lanes from day one, and still do. Every day you do something different with a new challenge around the corner.”
After two years’ being trained as a water jetting engineer, Paul became an assistant on a CCTV drainage survey unit. Then, once trained and fully-qualified, he was promoted to a full CCTV drainage engineer.
Paul has since been promoted again to become the Preston depot’s senior CCTV drainage engineer. He provides support for three other CCTV drainage engineers and supervises some of the largest and most complex drainage projects the depot undertakes.
He says: “I control mini video camera systems, including robotic crawler cameras, so we can see and record the condition of drains and sewers.
“That allows me to compile survey reports for customers, so they can plan their drainage maintenance. Also, I guide colleagues as they use water jetting to clean sewers and drains or rehabilitate pipes by lining them.”
As CCTV drainage engineers can see what is going on underground, Paul takes charge of projects where he is working with colleagues. It is a responsibility he enjoys.
He says: “We work together as a team, but I am happy to supervise on site. Health and safety is a big priority. I make sure our risk assessments are done correctly and that each Lanes operative is clear about what they must do to contribute to getting the job done safely.”
Paul has worked on many memorably drainage jobs over his 12 years working for Lanes. He was the lead CCTV survey engineer working on a project to install a new main sewer serving Preston Docks, which was 1200-2000mm in diameter and had 25-metre-deep service shafts.
Paul says he gets great support and training from Lanes. The pay is good – it has supported him in getting married, buying a house and starting a family. Spending large parts of his working life driving around Cumbria is also a bonus.
Would he recommend Lanes to a friend?
“The best way to answer that is to say that, about three years ago, I bumped into an ex-colleague,” says Paul. “He told me he was bored with his new job.
“So, I said, why not come back to Lanes? I told my operations manager. He called this person, and he did re-join as an assistant CCTV drainage engineer. Now he’s fully-qualified and is loving it.”