00:00:04 My name’s Richard H, I work at Stancombe Quarry just outside Bristol. I’m the unit manager in a million tonne a year quarry. We quarry limestone here and the limestone is used in various roles. It’s used in road building, block making, making of concrete, it’s used in the pharmaceutical industry for the making of aspirin, disprin, it’s used as a filler in bulk per capita head of, in the country every person in this country uses four tonnes of limestone a year.
00:00:38 My path into the industry started in 1987, I was working as a shoe repairer straight from school. My father actually works here, he’s been here since 1972. He said there was a job going in the quarry, I ought to come up and apply for it. Came in, applied, managed to get the job. I remember my first day in the quarry, I was taken up there by an old boy called Jim Purnell, he was the quarry foreman at the time back in 1987 and the first thing he did was take me up and saw a blast.
00:01:06 I was lucky enough to start on the day they blasted in the quarry. And that, for me, was quite exciting. I’ve now got the pleasure of running my own blasts so we blast typically once a week we try and put about 30,000 tonnes down a week.
00:01:25 To do what I do there’s a couple of paths. You could become part of the graduate trainee programme where you’ll be fast tracked into the industry or you can come via the practical route. You can come from the shop floor up learning your trade as you come up through the ranks which is the way I did it. I started as an operative in 1987, in 1982 I became an asphalt plant supervisor, in 1999 I went self employed for three years but still working within the quarrying industry.
00:01:58 Spent another three years as the manager of the national plant, went to a competitor for two and a half years running their national plant and then came back into the quarrying industry, or the quarries, to become a quarry manager.
00:02:16 Next stage for me I’d probably be looking for extra quarry, concrete plants. There’s a new role called a zone manager’s role and that encompasses asphalt plants, quarries and concrete plants almost like a mini cluster manager. I’ve got a secret ambition to tour the world in a mobile home, I just like the idea of being out there away from everything and experiencing something new every day.
00:02:52 Real turning point for me came in 1999. I’d been in the industry since ’87, I’d wanted to progress my career, hadn’t been able to for a number of reasons and decided to go self employed. Funnily enough outside of the industry I actually bought myself a burger van, thought I’d set myself up on a pitch but I had a two week window where my pitch wasn’t ready. The quarry didn’t have a crusher operator so I told the then manager if he wanted I’d run it for two weeks and I’d bill them. So, at the end of the two weeks I went into the tax office, registered self employed and still didn’t come out of the industry.
00:03:32 Just couldn’t leave the industry that I’d left. I just had to be around the quarries. If the quarries phoned me up and said, “Rich, we need a litter pick done,” I came in and did a litter pick for them. If they needed to do weeding, I did weeding for them. I did fencing, I ran machinery, crushers, asphalt plants, shovels, dumpers. I did absolutely everything I could to be in that industry. ENDS