A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A NEW STARTER
INTERVIEW WITH KATRINA
Katrina Shipman joined EEUK just over a month ago, in a brand new role as a Water and Fire Consultant. We caught up with Katrina to find out more about her, how she’s finding working for EEUK and her new role.
When you’re not at work, what do you like to do with your time?
This is actually a really hard one, I don’t really have a hobby and I really need one! I can’t bake but sometimes I pretend that I can! My children are 19 and 22 and have recently moved to Cornwall, and since changing jobs I have a lot more time on my hands. I love seeing friends, going on holiday, going to the seaside – especially Perenporth, my favourite place. We’ve been going since my son was three, and I love it. It’s where I was married last October and where my children have moved to.
Tell us a bit about your career history?
I was working in a nursery doing an apprenticeship when I left to have my first child, Josh. After he was born, I worked in a few other jobs, such as supermarkets, and didn’t enjoy it. My dad actually works in the industry too, and someone he knows has a water company. One night, he was really busy doing drawings for the company, and he said why don’t you teach yourself how to do it? So I sat down and taught myself how to do schematic drawings – and ten years later I’m still doing them. It was a good job to have while the children were growing up as I was self-employed.
I was doing fire drawings for someone, who was going to train me to do risk assessments, which I was really looking forward to, but he sadly passed away and his business stopped. The water drawings became fewer and fewer, and the company I was doing the drawings for was hiring for a technician. So I went for it, and I got it! I was a technician for three years, then I got a role as a risk assessor. This role wasn’t for me as it was mainly residential properties and I didn’t feel safe.
I then started working for another company, where I did more commercial jobs and went through lots of training. The company eventually merged, and I was ready to look for a new opportunity.
What initially attracted to you the role at EEUK?
I’ve always wanted to do multiple roles, such as water and fire. One of my colleagues mentioned the company and gave me the number. Late one Friday night, I called and asked if EEUK did fire risk assessments, and if they’d be willing to take me on. I want to be part of a company that is growing, and that I can grow with.
What were your expectations of your first day and how did they compare to what it was like?
I wasn’t nervous because I’d already spoken to both my manager, Simon Frost, and the Operations Manager, James Roberts several times throughout the interview process. When I got there, everyone was so friendly, I didn’t feel like anyone was staring at me, so I didn’t feel nervous at all. My manager actually had Covid-19 on my first day so he wasn’t there, but it still went well, I was introduced to everyone and felt so welcome. Even all of my equipment was set up and ready to go.
Can you tell us a bit about the role that you are going to be doing, since it’s a new role within EEUK?
At the moment I’m still doing primarily water, but on Tuesday I’ll be going out with Anthony Cassidy, who will be doing a fire risk assessment and I’ll be doing a water risk assessment, which will give me some great insight. It’s a more varied role than I’ve ever done before, including monitoring, TMV training – rather than risk assessments day in, day out.
What do you think will be the most challenging element of your role?
The most challenging part of the role will be finding places for the first time! Don’t get me wrong, learning the fire side of it will be a challenge. When I initially thought about training to do fire risk assessments, I thought it’d be relatively straightforward. I did my own research and realised how much more complicated it is! But overall, I’m just so excited to learn a new role – that outweighs the worry of the challenge.
Can you tell us what a typical day looks like for you?
Every day is different. I start work relatively early but that’s great as I get home at a decent time, meaning that I have the evenings to walk the dog, make a nice dinner, and get ready for work the next day. My work/life balance is great and I’m so much less stressed. There are some sites that we visit on a monthly basis which is so nice as you get to know the clients and build a relationship with them, but overall there’s so much variety in the work.
What’s it like working in an industry that is predominantly male?
It’s interesting. In a previous role, I used to attend a site where a caretaker would walk around with me helping with a job, then a male colleague went to that site and told me he had no such help! Some people you work with will be surprised to see a woman turn up, as they’re expecting a male. It’s not really a role that females would think to get into, but I love it and would recommend it, like I have with one of my friends who now works in the industry. It’s getting better and better as time goes on, with more women working in the industry.
You will be working alongside our Tier 3 Nationally Accredited Fire Risk Assessors, Mark Beedle and Anthony Cassidy. What are you most looking forward to about this?
As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be going out with Anthony soon and I’m really excited to meet him and learn from him. It’s amazing to think that I’ll be trained by some of the best in the industry!
What would you tell someone who’s interested in applying for a role at EEUK?
It’s funny you should ask this, as I have already experienced this. An ex-colleague was thinking about new opportunities, and straight away I recommended EEUK. I’m really happy, my team are really friendly and supportive. I have genuinely from day one felt like part of the EEUK team, not an outcast or a new starter. I’ve been here just over a month and I feel like I’ve been here forever – in a great way!