News

British Engineering Services

23rd Nov 2018

“It’s a very rewarding role,” said Andy Kidd, Chief Engineer at British Engineering Services Ltd, when asked why people become engineer surveyors. “And you get to meet an awful lot of very interesting people. It could be a school one day, energy authority the next, military academy; one of my favourites was Williams F1. But the downside is that sometimes you could end up at a slaughterhouse or a tannery! But in all seriousness, it can be a great role for many people.

“It’s not a nine-to-five job and may require early starts or late finishes to work around a client’s schedule; flexibility is the key but it all evens out over time. It’s very much a safety critical role; the engineer surveyor certifies that an item of equipment is safe for further service. Examinations are scheduled for six, twelve months or even longer. Engineer Surveyors are professional engineers, which is why we insist on substantial engineering qualifications supported by a significant internal training program.”

Andy has been working in the engineering inspection business for 32 years, joining (what was then) National Vulcan after leaving the Merchant Navy in 1986. He has done a variety of different roles since then – mainly on the technical side – including consultancy and support functions for surveyors. So, what has kept him in the role for so long?

“When it comes down to it, people go to work to get paid, but if you can make the role fun, exciting, with lots of variety, then I think it makes it more worthwhile. Engineer Surveyors all understand the importance of their role; however, mistakes could cause serious injury and must be avoided.

“We’ve got a lot of engineers who have been with us for 30-40 years. I’ve had my current role for ten years now, as Chief Engineer, which means I have technical accountability for all that the business delivers,” said Andy.

“It’s very important to keep up with technology in our industry. It’s getting more and more complex all the time – the people doing those examinations need to be on top of it all.”

Part of his role is in ensuring that the surveyors – 450 of them at British Engineering Services – have the right skills, training, and support to deliver what customers need.

“We’ve got six new engineers this week – I like to do the first slot on the Monday morning – I talk about the background of the company and, most importantly, how they develop as a professional engineer. We talk about registration, behaviours, language – right down to dress code – if you behave like a professional engineer, then you’re more likely to be treated like one,” said Andy.

For such a safety critical role, British Engineering Services recruits must have at least a level four engineering qualification, such as HNC or HND, plus five years practical experience. And only after four months training will they be permitted to start their role as a surveyor. As the role is fundamentally an inspection of a piece of equipment’s functionality, continuing professional development (CPD) is crucial, and so too is the sharing of information.

“We deal with CPD in two areas. At British Engineering Services we make sure our engineers can do the job to the high standards we and our customers expect. We have annual technical days, annual health & safety days, accompanied days on site with the engineer surveyor’s team leader and audits, to make sure engineers retain their competency,” added Andy.

“Then there’s the self-generated CPD, which could be the SOE evening lectures, for example. Even if it’s not directly related to the role, we would still encourage participation. It’s very important to keep up with technology in our industry. It’s getting more and more complex all the time – the people doing those examinations need to be on top of it all.

“The business is split up into three separate disciplines: pressure, electrical and machinery. Each of those disciplines has a technical manager and each has a team of technical specialists, who carry out audits, conduct training and support, for our engineers and customers. We work closely with SAFed, and that helps us keep up-to-date with movements in the market.

“We do talk to other inspection bodies; the other large inspection bodies are Allianz Engineering, Bureau Veritas, HSB and Zurich Engineering. If we’ve identified a problem on a piece of machinery we try and share that with other inspection bodies,” said Andy.

As a corporate partner, British Engineering Services work closely with SOE on many projects and initiatives. Part of Andy’s role is to inspire his engineers to get the recognition they deserve and become registered with the Engineering Council. He also travels the country delivering his technical lecture entitled ‘Competency in the Workplace’ in which he explores the cost and safety implications of hiring an engineer surveyor whom does not have the necessary skills.

“We want to give encouragement for young engineers to become professional engineers; to be registered with the engineering council. We will only fund SOE membership for those engineers that gain registration at one of the three levels. I try and encourage them to seek registration at IEng or CEng level and we’ll support them through the process, but the drive must come from them.”

For more information about how to become a corporate partner, go to: soe.org.uk/about-soe/corporatepartners/

To book Andy for his presentation, email: regions@soe.co.uk

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