A Day in the Life of Andrew Patient, Operations Manager Tech IOSH
Our ‘Day in the Life of’ series continues as our marketing team sat down with Andrew Patient, Operations Manager, to find out what it’s like to spend a day in his role, what are the key moments in his career, and the advice he would give to the younger generation who are thinking of joining the Construction industry.
Welcome to our next installment of our ‘Day in the Life of’. A series of interviews with our people here at Connolly’s, providing insight into our day to day activities and our people.
So, let’s go back – can you give us a brief insight into your career path which has led you to be in the position you are today?
After leaving school, I secured an apprenticeship in a company called Salmax as an apprentice bricklayer. Unfortunately, in 1984 the business was forced to close & I was made redundant before I had finished the apprenticeship. I was lucky enough that a company called Durose & Gourlay took me on as a redundant apprentice and I spent the next 26 years there.
I went through the Site Management & Contract Management ranks and eventually became the Operations Leader for the business.
I joined Connolly in March 2015 as a Senior Contracts Manager to oversee a new framework that they had secured and have now progressed to the Operations Manager for the business.
Are there any moments in your career, past or present, that stand out to you?
There are many and I have learned so much from great people over the years. I have especially learned from the few poor experiences I’ve had.
A key moment that stands out for me would be during my early career when I won the apprentice of the year after suffering the misfortune of redundancy.
I learned a great deal from a leadership course I undertook, which taught me so much about how to deal with different types of people & personalities and I still use these skills in my role every day.
There was also the NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health & Safety that I gained in 2014. Although one of the hardest courses I’ve undertaken, it was one of the most enjoyable.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
I have been involved in planned maintenance for over 35 years. In this time, I have dealt with many challenges. I always try to see the good in any situation & will always be at the coal face in finding a resolution.
I strive to be someone who helps instead of hinders and I always try to use a non-confrontational approach, which tends to get the best out of people.
At Connolly’s, there is no set way of doing anything and we always encourage new thoughts and ideas. It’s great to see that the new additions to the team over the last 12 months have improved our offering.
Can you tell us about a typical working day for you?
The beauty about the role is that there isn’t a typical day but, for me, it usually starts with an email review as I don’t like having a full inbox.
In the current climate, a key part of our day has to involve a review of any changes to guidance with regards to COVID-19 to ensure our delivery can continue, with the safety of our colleagues, customers & clients paramount to us. The main focus recently has been remobilising and maintaining our internal kitchen & bathroom works. This is obviously where we have the most prolonged interaction with residents on a day-by-day basis.
Wednesdays are always an important day, as this is when we conduct the labour meeting to schedule the resources needed for the following week.
There are always opportunities for tradespeople to join us so if you know of anybody who wants to join us please get them to get in touch with us as they won’t regret their decision.
We can’t do an interview without mentioning COVID-19 as it is very much the topic of conversation at the moment. How do you think Connolly reacted to the pandemic and what kind of effect on the overall industry do you think it will have?
During the first lockdown in March 2020, a huge amount of work was done behind the scenes with the whole of the Senior Management team to plan & work out what our delivery would look like once restrictions were lifted. This was a very fluid period as updates were being received on a daily basis and therefore our plans were constantly changing.
I was proud, however, that in all of the discussions, the safety & wellbeing of our colleagues and our residents were always paramount in the plans we made.
Some of the measures we introduced have made us more efficient and even when restrictions are fully lifted, we will continue with these improvements.
Where do you see Connolly Ltd in 5 years?
The company has achieved amazing growth in a relatively short period of time. This is however sustained growth and in recent times we have set up teams to deliver build & development opportunities.
Connolly’s core offering will always be planned maintenance but with some of the exciting projects we are now involved in, there is no limit to where we will be in 5 years.
The family & relationship-based ethos at our core is important and long may it continue.
Can you tell us about the hardest moment in your career and how you overcame it?
I was involved in the redundancy process at a previous company. This ultimately resulted in the whole of the company entering administration. Some of the people I had to have discussions with had become personal friends over the years which was very hard.
There was also the wider impact of this as some of the supply chain had invested heavily in this company. Our Chairman Tony Connolly was directly affected but thankfully he recovered and went on to build what we have today at Connolly’s.
Connolly Culture is at the heart of the business – can you describe what the culture means to you?
I was always told that if you made a mistake, which we all do, then never try to cover it up, own up to it, find a resolution & make it right. This is easy to do at Connolly as there is a no-blame culture embedded within the foundations of the company.
If you are struggling, there is always someone who will offer help & support and I can honestly say I have never heard “It’s not my job” in my time here.
You spend a lot of time at work so it can really make a difference if you don’t enjoy it. At Connolly, there is always time to have a laugh in the right situations.
What do you believe is the greatest thing that Connolly Ltd has achieved so far?
When I was first appointed at Connolly’s in 2015, I was told that they had made a decision to make 1 major investment per year whether that was in a role or in infrastructure.
This was soon surpassed and the growth was spectacular. The office has grown from circa 10 people to 30 people in 6 years employing in total approx. 260no, coupled with the supply chain, it means well over 500 families are reliant on us.
Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the Construction industry?
Construction has long been seen as an industry to get involved with if you fall short academically. This is far from truth and opportunities are limitless with the right company.
The construction sector is responsible for approx. 10% of the whole of the UK economy so is vital at any time but especially in the current COVID-19 climate we are experiencing.
I, & many like me at Connolly’s, are a testament to the progress you can make from a construction apprenticeship.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the freedom we are all offered to undertake our roles. There is a trust in the appointments we make, to allow them to make a difference to us.
No two days are alike & more often than not, the plans you make for tasks to undertake change, but this variation is what makes my day so interesting.
Finally, if there was one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Challenge yourself daily & take any training course you are offered; you are never too old to learn new skills.
You are not young for long so make the most of it.