Kellie swaps a desk for life in the field – and couldn’t be happier
As a senior scheduler for Lanes Group’s Utilities Division, Kellie had a rewarding role and was just about to move with colleagues into a swish new ultra-modern operational HQ.
Yet, she wanted a new challenge. So she applied to become a field manager, training and supporting drainage engineers, delivering Lanes’ front line service as Thames Water’s sole wastewater network maintenance partner.
After working as a scheduler for six years, it is a change she has never regretted.
Kellie says: “Moving from the office into the field has meant I have had to learn a lot more about the job very quickly. But I have been encouraged all along the way.
“I am supporting teams who have the face-to-face contact with customers and do the work that solves their problems. Helping to make that happen on the daily basis is very rewarding.”
Kellie is part of the Central North team, based at Gerrards Cross, in Buckinghamshire, and has joint responsibility with technical specialists for managing a team of drainage engineers delivering reactive drain unblocking services across North London, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.
She takes new recruits through induction, actively supports in training them, then manages and coaches them as they respond to when they are sent out to unblock drains and sewers using jetting van packs and JHL CityFlex jetting and vacuumation tankers.
Kellie says: “The biggest kick, for me, is inducting and training a new recruit, with no experience in the drainage industry, then sending them out with the competence to do their job well, and seeing them having grown in confidence.
“Supporting my staff is very important to me. We want to retain and build a great operational team that always delivers great customer service. It’s about building a strong rapport and good communication.”
Kellie’s job does involve quite a bit of office administration, still. But she is regularly out at work sites, supervising her teams, which involves carrying out tool box talks and regular audits. She is also the manager on-call for emergency out of hours activities one week in every four.
Kellie is a growing number of women who are carrying our roles within Lanes Group that, in the past, were more often carried out by men.
She says: “To be honest, no one has made a fuss about me being a woman. It’s been business as usual. Lanes as a company wants to give everyone an equal chance, and support people with ambition, and my colleagues have been great.”
Operational Manager Casey May has been delighted with Kellie’s contribution. He said: “She’s a very good manager and is well respected by her team. She’s also a role model for other women. There are no barriers at Lanes, and Kellie is proving it.”
Lanes actively encourages job swap and diversity at all levels, Kellie is one of several team members breaking so called traditional barriers which can only be good for Lanes its clients and customers