00:00:03 My name is Dave, I’m a maintenance fitter at Stancombe Quarry just on the outskirts of Bristol. People are quite stumped, if I said that I was a maintenance fitter to a lot of my friends, they often call me Chandler because nobody knows what Chandler did in “Friends” so it takes a while for me to explain what I have to do. One day you could be working on preparing a breakdown on some of the fixed machinery that we’ve got here.
00:00:30 They could be crushers, conveyors, it could also mean a lot of workshop duties. I could be fabricating and welding and lots of other things.
00:00:43 I worked hard at school. I didn’t really know the direction I was going to take so as I sort of progressed people were offering me different ideas. I went into the Sixth Form on the pretence that I was going to go to university but when the school finished and I decided to go onto Sixth Form a lot of my friends took different routes. They either went straight into college and did apprenticeships, some of them went straight into work and part of me felt that because I was with them all the time they always had a bit of money and I felt that that was the route that I’d liked to have taken.
00:01:22 I think my first high was getting this job. It was obviously one of the first interviews I took after Sixth Form and I had a call back from Tarmac within an hour to tell me I had this job and that was a great feeling. It was a great feeling to know that I’d be out in the big wide world earning some money and the quarry’s quite nicely tucked away and so when I came up the hill and saw the quarry for the first time it does take your breath away. It’s a huge hole and, yeah, I wanted to know more about it and what activities went on there, what sort of stone they quarried and how it’s processed.
00:02:01 And I ended up working as a technician in the quarry which involved testing stone and asphalt to make sure they complied with certain standards.
00:02:16 I think in the first role that I did, I didn’t really think, didn’t really find it that stimulating. I was here for three years and because each day it didn’t vary, my jobs were set and that was what was required of me each day. I did three years here and over that time I felt that maybe there wasn’t a route for me to progress in that line of work. So, I spoke to one of my managers and they said there’d be a possibility of me moving to a different department within the quarry.
00:02:46 They felt that it might be a good idea for me to become a maintenance fitter and that was three and half years ago and here I am now.
00:02:56 I don’t think I have any regrets but I often wonder what position I’d be in now if I’d have taken the university route after the Sixth Form. I did get accepted to go to university to be a building surveyor. My Dad was a surveyor and a couple of my relatives are surveyors so he would’ve liked me to go into that. So, yeah, I would’ve been qualified by now if I’d have gone through that route but I took this route and I think its fate that I’ve ended up here.
00:03:26 I’d like to hope that I can progress within the company. I think the position that I’m in now gives me a good basis for the quarry workings. So, I’d like to think I’d end up in my boss’s position in five years. I think that would be the next progression for me. But you never know, I made such a step over from a technician to maintenance, it’s two different sectors so, you know, there might be a possibility of a different opening for me in the industry. ENDS
Dave McDermott looks after machinery at Tarmac’s Stancombe Quarry near Bristol. He originally joined Tarmac after A levels as a laboratory technician. “It was a great feeling to know that I’d be out in the big wide world earning some money.”
More information about Quarry workers and related operatives
The UK average salary is £28,758
There are 37.5 hours in the average working week
The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male
- Inspects blasting area, drills shot holes, inserts explosives and detonates charges to loosen large pieces of rock/ore;
- Assembles drilling and cutting tools, operates controls to start machines and to regulate the speed and pressure of cutting and drilling;
- Erects timber or metal supports to shore up tunnel and assists tunnel miner with the excavation of vertical shafts and underground tunnels;
- Conveys goods and materials to and from the workface, loads and unloads mine cars and transfers materials from underground and surface conveyors to bunkers, tubs and rail trucks;
- Operates agitators/vibrators to separate minerals and ensures that screened, filtered, crushed and separated material is discharged to appropriate chutes or conveyors;
- Performs other mining and quarrying tasks not elsewhere classified including digging clay from open pits, operating high-pressure hoses to wash china clay from open pit faces and otherwise assisting miners.
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