Meet one of our Service Managers, Derek Smith!
12 December 2016 | Derek Smith: Service Manager, Homecare
With over 30 years of experience at Scottish Gas, we asked Derek some questions about his career.
When did you start with British Gas?
13th August 1983
What did you do before you joined British Gas?
I joined Scottish Gas as an apprentice Gas Engineer and then worked my way up to a promotion and became a Service Manager.
How did you find out about the role with British Gas?
I found out about the apprenticeships through my school. I always wanted to do a job where I could work with my hands and this role suited what I was looking for.
To help us with future recruitment, what type of person would make a good Service & Repair Engineer?
It’s very important to have a positive can do attitude as each day is different. You’re always coming across new challenges & technical problems so it is imperative that you have a strong willingness to learn as well as having the courage to ask if you’re not sure.
Safety is a key aspect to this job and therefore it is important that you have a good awareness of it at all times.
Tell us about your job
I currently manage a team of 21 engineers in the Aberdeen area that is made up of 14 fully qualified Technical Engineers, 5 newly qualified engineers & 2 apprentices. Between the team we will visit approximately 100 customers a day across our patch. In total there are over 100 engineers across the entire Aberdeen region.
I have to adapt my management style to different members of my team as they all require a variety of support from me. I am out with them every day assisting with both technical and customer issues. As well as taking into consideration my team’s requirements I also have to ensure I am adhering to business requirements. I get great satisfaction from the fact that I am helping my team to better themselves and develop. In addition I am also learning, as an engineer you are always learning something new whether it’s new technology or appliances and that’s what makes the job so rewarding.
What’s the best thing about working for British Gas?
The brand is a big thing for me, it’s a huge attraction and the training, support and technology you are working with is second to none. You also get support from a non technical perspective like having a dedicated occupational health team & EAP (employee assistance programme). The company provides everything you need to do the job: uniform, van, tools etc. and although you are working individually you do feel part of a bigger team. There’s always someone on hand to help & the team here in Aberdeen are always talking to each other, helping each other out & sharing their experiences.
What advice would you give someone who wants to do your job?
You need to be prepared to promote products to customers and give them best advice. This can put some engineers off but it is about providing the customer with the best advice for them. Yes it also helps grow our business but at the end of the day the customer is always at the heart of what we do.
If you enjoy helping customers and being part of a team that supports each other then this is the place to be. There’s career progression available at Scottish Gas, I’m proof of that having started as an apprentice and am now a field service manager.