00:00:02 My name is Leigh F. I work for Virgin Active and I’m a Building Services Technician. If something goes wrong in the building, anything from air conditioning to swimming pools, to even basic things like changing light bulbs, that’s what we’re responsible for.
00:00:21 I enjoyed school but I couldn’t wait to get out of school. Once I’d left school, I realised the importance of doing well at school. I left school at sixteen and I was working for a local builder, and that’s when I realised I liked working with my hands, so I worked with a builder for about two years, and then I got an opportunity to work for Dorchester Hotel. It was working with them that I got the opportunity to work for a maintenance department. That’s when I went back to college and started studying plumbing, and then I’ve been doing maintenance engineering ever since.
00:01:02 A turning point for me was when I was working at the Dorchester on the concierge department, desperately trying to become a plumber or trying to get the opportunity to become one. I’d exhausted every avenue, looking through Yellow Pages, ringing up local companies, so I approached the engineering department in the hope that they could put me in touch with a plumbing company that I hadn’t already approached myself. Basically, they said that they were looking for a plumber and they gave me the opportunity to work with them, and also study plumbing at the same time.
00:01:32 I worked for the Dorchester for four years as a plumber, and then I heard about a job opportunity with Virgin Active, which I applied for but I actually initially got turned down because I was a plumber and they were looking for engineers, but engineers with electrical qualifications, which I didn’t have. It was just through sheer persistence – I was constantly ringing, ringing, and ringing, just asking basically just for an opportunity just to meet somebody face to face, and then in the end they got fed up with me ringing up and said ‘Okay, because you’ve been so persistent, we’re going to get you in and see what you’ve got to say,’ so basically I said to them ‘I recognise that I’m not an electrician, but if you give me the job then I will go to college if you allow me to work around the college time,’ which they said ‘Okay, that’s fine.’ So I’ve been with Virgin for two years now, studying the whole time at college.
00:02:32 Yes, Virgin Active have been very, very supportive, because I also study sign language, which I do in my own time, which they’ve allowed me to do… work shifts around it so that I can leave early to study that. At my last job, one of the engineers was deaf and I just become interested. When I was studying plumbing, I looked into it and I’ve been studying it ever since.
00:02:59 I don’t really get a lot of leisure time at the moment because work is quite demanding and college is quite demanding as well. There’s a lot of studying, so really at the minute I’m just keeping my head down and just most of my spare time is taken up with studying. But I like to travel in my spare time.
00:03:20 My parents haven’t put any pressure on me to go in a certain direction. They’ve always left it up to me to decide what it is that I want to do. I think my dad has been a great inspiration to me in my life. He’s got a very good worth ethic. I think that’s probably where I get mine from.
00:03:42 The next step for me would be to become the manager of a club, and then I think in the next five years possibly see myself as an area manager or maybe even national maintenance manager.