Tell us about you and your job
I am a Service Engineer for Commercial Maintenance Services (CMS) UK Limited with over 10-years of experience within the Building Services industry. As a multi-skilled engineer I have air conditioning (AC) and electrical experience as well as more recently in refrigeration.
As a national facilities maintenance company, CMS have engineering hubs located throughout the UK and commercial property maintenance experts, plumbers, electricians and air conditioning technicians located throughout the country. I am part of the company’s Scottish division and was brought on board to help expand their AC offering nationwide. It’s an honour to be part of an exciting new venture.
During the pandemic, I was made redundant and went self-employed. The call from Megan at Coleman James was serendipitous as only the night before I was considering looking for roles.
I trusted Megan from our first phone call and was interested to see what opportunities were out there. Honestly, I was impressed with the opportunities that were available but it was CMS that really stood out for me. Not only did they offer the chance to learn new skills such as plumbing but also to help develop their AC division. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
What key skills do you need as a Service Engineer?
Curiosity for me is the key. It’s one thing to identify a problem and it’s another to delve into the how, what and why. I’m always learning something new on the job. You need a wide knowledge and awareness of so much that the drive to continually learn is vital.
Practically, as a multi-skilled engineer, I’d always advise it's best to have a good understanding of maths and be digitally minded. There’s so much we can do digitally these days but sometimes being able to fall back on ‘traditional’ methods puts you in good stead. The digital and the traditional go hand in hand.
Over the years I’ve picked up various skills but I’d always advise if you’re looking to specialise in say air conditioning or perhaps refrigeration, to invest in electrical training and qualifications. No matter the job, the electrics are bound to play a part in the fix or identifying why the issue arose. It’s a key transferable skill that will see you throughout your career.
What does your typical day look like?
As restaurants, retail and hotel chains are opening up I’m currently working with a number of different clients helping them to open their doors again.
Day-to-day I’ll have set jobs to attend or follow-up on which can be anything from air conditioning maintenance to refrigeration servicing. A popular request right now is to fit eco dispensers onto commercial refrigerators. They essentially make the fridges able to self-clean efficiently reducing their impact on the environment.
I’m always on hand to help any of my colleagues on bigger or more complex jobs. There’s always a chance as well that I’ll be asked to go on an emergency call out. There’s never a dull moment from speaking to clients and understanding the situation and their needs, to getting the job done right. Every day is different and I like it that way.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
That I am heard. It's a quality in an employer that’s very often overlooked. As a Service Engineer, you need to communicate effectively with colleagues and clients. Knowing you can pick up the phone to ask a question, advise or help your manager or boss is vital. Their trust in me enables me to do the very best job I can. Each and every time.
The ability to learn from each other goes hand in hand with being heard. As a Service Engineer, you’re often problem-solving as you go. There’s always a new piece of equipment to understand or very old air conditioning systems you need to ask advice on. Working alongside the team at CMS has been brilliant so far. We all share our knowledge and experience so we can keep improving, together as a team.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career such as yours?
As my dad would say: “It’s not always what you’re doing that is important. It’s why you’re doing it.” If you are driven and invested in entering this industry you’re going to learn a lot faster. As the UK emerges from lockdown there is a growing demand for services across all sectors from leisure to healthcare. No matter your specialism or ideal sector within the industry - right now is the prime time to make your move.
Alongside investing in qualifications and getting the right training, nothing can beat hands-on experience. If you can, opt for as much onsite experience as you can. When there, don’t be shy. Ask your peers questions, understand why they do things the way they do and observe how they work - not just fixing an AC unit but how they communicate with the client. Your soft skills are just as important as both your practical skills and theoretical knowledge.
How did you find working with the team at Coleman James?
Megan was top notch. What struck me was her work after I landed the job, taking the time to call and follow up with me, making sure everything was ok.
I couldn’t fault my experience. From her initial phone call with me, she took care in everything that she did, and I never once felt like just a number or opportunity to her. She took the time to understand my situation, my experience and my ambitions. I can’t thank her enough for what she has done for me.