Mark – Electrical Chargehand

Since leaving school, Mark has always known he preferred a hands-on, practical job, so becoming an engineer felt a natural fit. With years of experience and responsibilities under his belt, find out what he has to say about his role and VVB’s culture.

Career background and journey at VVB

I started on the London Power Tunnels project where I spent two years in a team of highly experienced electricians who gladly taught me and shared their knowledge. It was a great project for anyone starting out in the industry, as it had a varied range of electrical works – different cable management systems, types of cables and circuit types. It was also valuable for my NVQ portfolio, which I built up for when I decided to start the process of gaining my JIB gold card to become a fully qualified electrician.

I’ve since worked on several jobs within the power and rail sectors, each offering something new. I’ve gained qualifications including my NVQ level 3 and City & Guilds level 3 award in inspection and testing, as well as site-specific competencies such as SSSTS for site supervisors, PASMA for building scaffold towers, IPAF for operating the MEWPs and Cherry pickers, First aid at work, Persons/BESC for working within live substations and Sentinel for overground and underground rail.

I’ve been promoted regularly over the last couple of years and by taking on more responsibility, I’ve now become a chargehand in my current job, the Bank Station Capacity Upgrade. I’ve been appointed by the Design Electrical Engineer as an authorised LV-AP, carrying out duties such as installation, testing and maintenance of electrical equipment, safe isolation procedures on electrical equipment and issuing permits.

A typical day in the life of an Electrical Chargehand

I arrive onsite for a 7am start and head up to the permit office to prepare any permits pre-requested for entry to switch rooms or for any isolations that need to be carried out for the team onsite to work safely with the electrical equipment.

Once the permit-issuing and isolations are done, I turn to any other works that need doing as part of my role. This could be commissioning, such as testing onsite, or office-based, including filling out test sheets, marking up drawings or going through safety documents for future site works. 

Potentially by the end of the day, any isolations that were made on site, and if works are complete, there may be energisations needed for crucial equipment for the station.

I’ve also been trained as a Mental Health First Aider through VVB – a different outlook on the more physical First Aid many people are used to, and something I feel is particularly important in the industry.

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