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Melvin England

Lee Hayes

Age: 33, piling operative, Cementation Foundations Skanska, UK

Route to the job
During my time with Cementation I have worked on all aspects of pilling; from mini pilling to large diameter rotary, base grouting to monitoring. Even though my role is pretty much the same today as it was many years ago, I'm constantly seeing and doing new things. Every day is like a school day in an ever-changing environment!

Typical day
On a typical day I get to site at around 7am, get changed and then into the mess hut for a cup of tea. At 7.28 the supervisor comes in to brief us and chase us out to get started! Once out on site it's a case of doing what we have all been trained to do, each man is given a set task/duty to fulfil which can vary from contract to contract. Towards the end of each shift we all share the responsibility to ensure the site is safe and secure. Then it's a case of going back to the digs or home to get a well-earned rest ready for the next day's events.

Highs and lows
One of the highs for me is the big improvement in welfare in the industry, and the much better attitude to safety both from the office and at a site level. But this is something we can all work on together to continually improve. Also the quality of plant and machinery is making the piling industry a much safer job to be in - well it certainly is at Cementation. It is also nice to see a contract completed safely and on time - it gives the company a good reputation in the industry and it gives us - the workforce - a good name in the office. Acknowledging a job well done is a free service that should be forwarded to all parties involved, so it's nice when it happens guys! The lows are very few and far between.

With help and training I hope Cementation will one day consider me a candidate for trainee supervisor.

The piling industry is renowned for being a very hard working environment. It involves a lot of long hours, being away from home most of the time and sometimes working in a difficult environment. But financially it can be good and you'll make a lot of new friends during your travels. You will either love piling or hate it - personally I love it!