Consider a drainage career path, says Ellis, after his week with Lanes

Preparing digital drainage reports, visiting high-tech equipment suppliers and even doing his health and safety training – Ellis Firth has achieved a lot in his week of work experience in the Lanes Group plc national CCTV survey processing centre.

Then again, he joined the team at the Lanes depot and headquarters site in Eccles, Greater Manchester, full of vim and ready to learn.

Ellis, a 15-year-old student at Stretford Grammar School, in Trafford, wants to become a marine biologist.

However, after spending a week with Lanes technical and operational teams, if he did not already have a career plan, he says he might be tempted by a career in the wastewater and drainage industry.

He said: “Before, I thought cleaning drains would be easy. But after spending a week at Lanes I can see there’s a lot more to do, with lots of technical issues and solutions to problems, and it’s very interesting.

“It’s also an important job and seems quite fulfilling. Everyone here seems to like what they do and they get on really well as a team. I’ve really enjoyed being here and I can’t believe how much I’ve learned.”

CCTV Administrator Sandra Byrne, who has supported Ellis during his work experience week, said they were pleased to welcome him to the team, not least because of his eagerness to learn.

“Ellis has been a joy to have here,” she added. “It must be a bit daunting to come into a large office with lots of people you don’t know. But he’s not been put off at all and has been very enthusiastic.

“It’s been great that he’s seen the potential of working in the drainage industry. We use a lot of new technology, it’s fast-paced and every day brings new challenges. All the sort of things that should excite young people looking for interesting careers.”

In a packed week of activity, Sandra and the CCTV processing team have guided Ellis through a whistlestop tour of what it takes to do their jobs.

He spent Monday with Sandra, learning about the nuts and bolts of the CCTV survey process, from carrying out the task, to the equally important bit, being paid for the work.

On Tuesday, he joined Chris Wilde, who heads up the team as Lanes CCTV Systems Manager, in a visit to the offices of Minicam, which supplies Lanes with many of its advanced CCTV camera systems.

On Wednesday, Ellis shadowed the technicians compiling CCTV reports and did online training – including health and safety, equipment risk assessment, PPE safety in industry, slips trips and falls, and ladder safety.

Thursday was spent with two key CCTV survey technicians, where Ellis helped compile reports himself – an impressive achievement, said Sandra Byrne, given the complexity of the tasks.

On Friday he went out with a CCTV survey drainage engineer, to see for himself how the survey process begins, with the sending of mini cameras along drains and sewers to record HD quality video and capture data.

Ellis has been thankful for the opportunity. “It’s given me more understanding of the working world,” he said. “It’s given me life skills and insights, and it helps understand what you want to do.”

Ellis is set on a life of work involving rivers, lakes and oceans, and all the life within them.

However, if you visit Manchester, and see a young man standing by the road, staring intently at a sewer access lid, it could be Ellis, working out where the pipes run.

Once the world of drains has been revealed to you – it never leaves you!

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