Shift Team Leader
PPG Industries

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Carl T

My name is Carl T, I’m a shift team leader in the tinters filling area. I’m also a Suffolk retained fire fighter. I work over a twenty-four hour period, three shifts, be it six until two, two to ten, ten to six, and I have the responsibility of looking after the filling area. And that entails making sure the safety, and also production, and the quality constraints, and targets are also met during that shift.

00:00:28 I came to PPG when I left school. I started down here as a temporary operator. Within about four months I was made to a full-time operator. I finally ended up as a temporary team leader. I was about twenty/twenty-one at that point. At the time I was one of the youngest team leaders on the plant. To have to instruct older men – some of them my father’s age – of what I needed to do was a challenge. Some people saw it as a young upstart coming in telling them the job that they already know, and some saw it as, well, we’ll give the kid a chance and see how he gets on.

00:01:06 It was always my ambition to be a full-time fire fighter. I progressed through the A levels, eighteen came along, and I tried to join Suffolk for the first time. I didn’t make the qualification, unfortunately. I got through to the last, sort of, half a dozen but didn’t get any further. Since the age of fourteen, I’d been going along to the local retain fire station in Stowmarket to get a bit of experience and knowledge on what was going on, so it was then said ‘Well, why don’t you come and try out for us as well?’ So that’s what led me down the path of being a retained fire fighter, which I’ve been doing now for the last eleven years.

00:01:038 I’m a fire fighter both on site and also for Suffolk, and when we’re on shift we actually cover the plant for fires, spills, or any incident that actually happened. The contract I have is twenty-four hours cover, three hundred and sixty-five days a year, constant. PPG let me respond from work. I pay the hours back. So if I’m missing for an hour during the day then at some point during the rest of the week I’ll make that hour back.

00:02:02 One of the most rewarding moments is one that happened a couple of weeks ago. Back on April 2nd we attended a road traffic collision. The extrication of that person out of this vehicle was very, very tricky. It was looking at about three quarters of an hour to fifteen minutes before we could actually get this person out. I’d been doing casualty care throughout that time so I was getting quite a close relationship with the person in there. Two weeks ago the actual guy visited the station to sort of say how well he was doing, so that was a nice way for us to meet him again, because we do help a lot of people out, and I reckon we’ve maybe had half a dozen in my career that come back and say ‘thanks very much for what you did.

00:02:34 We don’t do it for the thank you, but it’s nice to see how they’ve progressed and how they’ve got on since we’ve come across them. I also work heavily with the Salvation Army within Stowmarket. I’m a youth worker for them and I look after the age group from twelve up to eighteen, so I currently have about fifteen teenagers which I have to look after and try to mentor spiritually and also culturally as well.

00:02:58 To actually see young people having a positive influence and effect on their local community is fascinating. I’ve been going to church all my life. My parents brought me up. It was a case of when you get to an age group ‘which way do I go? Do I actually carry on, or do I go down a different path and walk away from the church?’ I was thankful that I had a group of friends, there was about five or six of us all went to the same school, same church, so we kept our way through and kept us together.

00:03:26 Parents are always naturally proud of their children. They’ve supported me throughout my career choices. My father is a huge friend of mine – a rock. There’s nothing he can’t do. DIY, any problems I have, I get on the phone and say ‘Dad, can you come round?’ and he’s there straightaway. I hope that I can be the same sort of father to my children eventually, when we think about having them. If there was one thing that someone could remember me by, hopefully in many years time when I’m not here, that Carl Theobold made a difference. And I think the career path that I’ve chosen, and also the church life that I’ve chosen, I would hope that someone would be able to turn round and say ‘Yes, Carl Theobold made a difference for that person.’ ENDS

Carl works as a Shift Team Leader at PPG and as a reserve firefighter for Suffolk. At the paint producing plant he supervises the safety, production and quality control and he sees that targets are met. With the fire service he deals with all sorts of rescues including accident recovery, fire and industrial spill. Finding huge reward in helping others, Carl is keen to make a real difference and also finds time to work in the community suppporting teenagers from the ages of 12-18.

More information about Fire service officers (watch manager and below)

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

91%  male 
9%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Workers in this unit group co-ordinate and participate in fire fighting activities, provide emergency services in the event of accidents or bomb alerts, and advise on fire prevention.
There are no formal academic requirements, although applicants to fire control roles must demonstrate basic literacy and numeracy, keyboard and communication skills. Applicants to fire-fighter roles must pass psychological, physical and medical tests. Some Fire and Rescue Services operate direct entry recruitment processes to managerial operational roles. There is a minimum age limit of 18 years for entry to fire-fighter and control operator roles.
  • Inspects premises to identify potential fire hazards and to check that fire fighting equipment is available and in working order and that statutory fire safety regulations are met;
  • Arranges fire drills and tests alarm systems and equipment;
  • Travels to fire or other emergency by vehicle and locates water mains if necessary;
  • Operates hose pipes, ladders, chemical, foam, gas or powder fire extinguishing appliances;
  • Rescues people or animals trapped by fire and administers first aid;
  • Removes goods from fire damaged premises, clears excess water, makes safe any structural hazards and takes any other necessary steps to reduce damage to property;
  • Attends and deals with bomb alerts and accidents involving spillage of hazardous substances;
  • Advises on fire safety measures in new buildings;
  • Supervises a watch.
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