General Assistant
Lee Valley Athletics Centre

General Assistant
Lee Valley Athletics Centre

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Colin M

00:00:03 My name’s Colin M. I’m a General Assistant here. I’m involved in the maintenance and handyman type of the side of the work. I’ve been here for two years now, since just before it opened officially. A friend of mine is a manager here and he just knew I was involved in that sort of work and asked me if I wanted to come down for an interview ’cause see it’s a very new building. There’s obviously lots of little maintenance problems and that’s where I come into, come into my own. I enjoy it. The governor likes what I’m doing and that’s the enjoyment I get out of it and to see a lot of these good athletes.

00:00:40 I left school when I was fifteen, 1965. I went straight into my apprenticeship as a carpenter. It was something that I enjoyed at school. I enjoyed the carpentry lessons making things out of wood ’cause wood is such a natural resource. I just enjoyed it. I decided to change because the work was drying up at that particular time in my life. So, I had an uncle who actually was in an engineering company who offered me a job as well.

00:01:08 The engineering was, wasn’t any formal training it was just as good as you are and I adapted quite well to it. It was only a, a matter of picking things up. As I say, I’m very good with my hands. So, that’s how the work became very easy to me. I left engineering because the welding was affecting my eyes. I got arc eyes quite a lot and that is something that I couldn’t, just for an example, I couldn’t go to the cinema and watch the pictures because my eyes were so bad.

00:01:37 I saw an advert for a British Telecom. I went for it and I got the job and I was accepted into it. The workload involves jointing cables primarily. When you see somebody in a jointing box and they’ve got a cable open and it’s got thousands of wires, that’s what we used to do. Joint all the wires together and that’s where your telephone line goes down. Probably the pay was very good in, in the outset. They look after you very well. You don’t realize that until you’ve actually left. But they were a good company.

00:02:08 The challenges, especially in, in the, the first career was apprenticeship was obviously to get through all the exams because there are quite a few exams and it lasts for five years, the apprenticeship. In British Telecom, same again, the exams we had to take and your progression from being a cable jointer and then going into being a senior technician.

00:02:31 The only sport that I’ve really been involved in is football. My two sons were in football teams from youth right to senior level. And I coached the youth side then I went into the senior side and helped to run that side. The enjoyment watching, watching the lads train and then go and play a game of football and consequently if they won you think, well, maybe I’ve helped them out in some way, you know. So, that was what I enjoyed.

00:03:00 Yeah, I learned my discipline basically from my father and my grandfather. They showed that if you were strict with yourself and disciplined everything should be okay and that’s what I try to instil it to children. My grandfather always said was to do a job correctly ’cause you wouldn’t have to go back and do it again. So, try and do it right first time. So, that’s where a lot of the discipline came from as well. Self-discipline.

00:03:27 My hobbies are really photography. I’ve had a few cameras throughout my life. Just wherever I go in the world I’ll take photographs. I used to print all my own photographs in my bedroom but I, I can’t really say where the interest came from. It just something I developed. I don’t think I’ll be staying here that much longer purely because I’m probably coming up to retirement age in a few years time. So, this is just a way of getting out of the house and doing a few odd jobs. ENDS


Colin M works in maintenance at Lee Valley Athletics Centre. He's assembled a lot of skills and qualifications during his career, as a carpenter, engineer and Post Office engineer. He got his disciplined attitude, which has served him well, from his father and grandfather. "My grandfather always said was to do a job correctly 'cause you wouldn't have to go back and do it again."

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The UK average salary is £28,758

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There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

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? Job holders within this unit group manage shopping centres, residential areas and private estates, and arrange for the sale, purchase, rental and leasing of property on behalf of clients and employers.
There are no formal academic requirements, although entrants usually possess a BTEC/SQA award, a degree or equivalent qualification. Apprenticeships are available in some areas. Many employers expect the attainment of membership to a relevant professional body.
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  • Manages general upkeep, maintenance and security of the estate’s amenities;
  • Makes sure that the amenities meet health and safety standards and legal requirements;
  • Advises on energy efficiency;
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  • Conducts or arranges for structural surveys of properties and undertakes any necessary valuations of property or agricultural land, and deals with grant and subsidy applications;
  • Negotiates land or property purchases and sales or leases and tenancy agreements and arranges legal formalities with solicitors, building societies and other parties;
  • Maintains or arranges for the maintenance of estate accounts and records and produces financial forecasts;
  • Acts as arbiter in disputes between landlord and tenant and ensures that both fulfil their legal obligations;
  • Examines and assesses housing applications, advises on rent levels, investigates complaints and liaises with tenants’ association and social workers to resolve any family problems.
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