Airfield Operations Supervisor
Lydd Airport

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Steve M

00:00:03 My name’s Steve M, I’m the Airfield Operations Supervisor here at the Airport. My job basically is, once aircraft land at the Airport, to get them ready to get back airborne again. And that can be anything from re-fuelling, baggage, any other services that the aircraft requires.

00:00:20 These are my ear defenders, they’re the bit that saves my hearing, basically they just literally cut everything out. The only thing you can hear with these on, is yourself breathing. Bats, I think these are the bit that most people would think of when you’re talking about ground operations. They’re used for basically parking the aircraft, and for giving signals to the pilot while he’s taxiing the aircraft in.

00:00:44 Prior to doing the job here at the Airport, I was a Social Worker for 23 years. I worked as a Social Worker in Kent, in different residential homes and day centres. And I went from being a Care Worker, through to being a Senior Worker, and eventually when I did leave, I was the Manager of a residential Day Care Centre.

00:01:05 The downside of that job were the hours. It’s a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week job. And towards the end of like the time there, after 23 years, I did get very stale in what I was doing, and it did become repetitive. Which is why I looked for something different.

00:01:25 I think the turning point from – certainly career-wise – was I met my fiancée in the job that I was doing, and unfortunately within the care work you weren’t able to work together and be in a relationship. So it meant that we had to look for alternatives. And it just happened that I was looking for something closer to home work-wise, I saw a vacancy at the Airport, and it was something that I’d been interested in.

00:01:50 During my school years, I wasn’t the best of students. I felt that I knew what my career was that I wanted to do, so if I was doing a subject that wasn’t quite in line with what my career was, I didn’t really have the interest in that. However I did get through the exams, ’cause I felt that a qualification at the end is worthwhile.

00:02:23 My dream job as a youngster was to be a long distance lorry driver. I wanted to be able to go places, and I liked the idea of just driving from one place to the next. And I did have an interest in boats at the time, so the thought of like being paid to go on a boat somewhere wasn’t too bad. Until I realised that it wasn’t the longest of trips across the Channel.

00:02:38 I think my life’s got better by changing career half-way through. It’s given me a new interest, something new to learn. In my last profession I was at times the Oracle that people would come to and say – Oh you’ve been here long enough, sort of like how do we do this? What do we do here? And – whereas coming in to somewhere new, I had to pick up books and start learning from scratch, and it was good to become the student.

00:03:03 What do I do away from work? My interests – I’m a caravaner, so I caravan round the countryside of Great Britain and clog up the roads. I also go fishing. This can be a very noisy, bustly place, so when you’re away from work, it’s good to sit round a lake and have some peace and quiet. And really just sort of tinker about with fishing.

00:03:25 I’m not sure through the path that I’ve taken, but there’s certainly been inspirational people in my life. Working with people with disabilities, and seeing the little achievements that other people have made. And I think to myself, well if others can do that, then why can’t I have a go at doing what I feel I want to do inside. You can sit there all – all the time thinking, I wish I’d had a go at that. Or sit there, reflect and think, Oh I should have done this. Working with the people I have done, it’s a case of well do it.

00:03:54 ENDS

Steve M is Airfield Operations Supervisor at Lydd Airport. “My job basically is, once aircraft land at the Airport, to get them ready to get back airborne again. And that can be anything from re-fuelling, baggage, any other services that the aircraft requires.” But before this he spent 23 years as a social worker. His turning point came when he became engaged to a colleague, and they weren’t allowed to work together and be in a relationship. Luckily Steve felt like a change anyway. He enjoyed picking up the new skills for the job at the airport, and he doesn’t miss the long hours of the care sector.

More information about Managers and directors in transport and distribution

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

76%  male 
24%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Managers and directors in transport and distribution plan, organise, direct and co-ordinate the activities and resources necessary for the safe, efficient and economic movement of passengers and freight by road, rail, sea and air transport.
Candidates are recruited with a variety of academic qualifications and/or with relevant experience. Entrants to management trainee schemes in logistics offered by larger companies will require GCSEs/S grades, A levels/H grades, a degree or other equivalent qualifications. Off- and on-the-job training is provided. Professional qualifications are available. Legislation of the European Union requires all transport managers to hold a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). NVQs/SVQs in a number of relevant areas including supply chain and operations management are available at Levels 2, 3, 4 and 5.
  • Plans the optimum utilisation of staff and operating equipment, and co-ordinates maintenance activities to ensure least possible disruption to services;
  • Examines traffic reports, load patterns, traffic receipts and other data and revises transport services or freight rates accordingly;
  • Directs the movement, handling and storage of freight in transit, and reviews space utilisation, staffing and distribution expenditure to determine future distribution policies;
  • Ensures that regulations regarding hours of work, the licensing of crews and transport equipment, the operational safety and efficiency of equipment, the insurance of vehicles and other statutory regulations are complied with;
  • Ensures that harbour channels and berths are maintained and liaises with ship owners, crew, customs officials, dock and harbour staff to arrange entry, berthing and servicing of ships;
  • Supervises day-to-day activities in a railway station;
  • Arranges for maintenance of airport runways and buildings, liaises with fuel and catering crews to ensure adequate supplies and resolves any complaints and problems raised by airport users.
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