Business Protection, People

We can be heroes – Andrew Sheppard, Business Protection

I left school and started out as a baker. I always wanted to be a chef growing up. I started as a baker and went on to be a pastry chef. I did that for a good few years when I left at 16 until I was 20. At 20 my parents emigrated to Spain so when I was 20 I moved there and lived there for 6 years. I baked over there and helped my mum who was a teacher.

A job opportunity came up when Land Rover was building the new T5 building Body in White. They needed security to keep an eye out and help the contractors. This was in the Ford era. I came over for a couple of years on the Solihull site.

I then applied and got a job working on the gates for two years and then an opportunity to progress to the core team presented itself. I got my first posting as an SEO (security emergency officer) at Browns Lane.

When I worked on the gates at Solihull I did some shifts with the core team following them around and learning about the different types of scenarios they had to deal with like fire and medical. When I did my basic fire course I won an award as the most outstanding pupil.

Then I moved back to Solihull and I was there for 7 years. I’ve done lots of training since in medical and fire related courses. It’s so busy there it’s unbelievable. I’ve dealt with five deaths, traumas, car crashes, finger lacerations, strokes, heart attacks, anaphylactic shock. Everything you can think of we’ve dealt with it. All of our people now have to be FREC 3 trained. I’m FREC 4 which is about advanced airways. The spread of work is huge and require a lot of mental strength.

About 3 years ago I got asked I would be the lead trainer on breathing apparatus. I went to the fire service college in Moreton in Marsh. It’s an external qualification so I can teach anywhere. I teach in Warwickshire as well. I’ve taught lots of our people now in firefighting and breathing apparatus.

We have a fantastic reputation here with the outside services. In September we have five weeks of training with Warwickshire fire. When we do joint exercises with the external fire crews they really trust us. We know the best way to cut our cars if they’ve crashed and they turn to us for our expertise and knowledge of the cars. When we have a job and they come over the first thing they’ll ask is ‘what do you need from us?’ You can’t get much more of a compliment really.

Physically it’s hard. You can lose up to 2 litres of water through sweating when you’re training as we work in such intense heat all day long.

I moved to Fen End last October when the new building was finished. My formative time was when I joined the training team. I wasn’t a supervisor at that time. I did the training and really enjoying and found myself in a position that I felt I could affect some change in the business. The things I never liked or moaned about I had the ability to put a better process in place which was so rewarding. It changed from just being a job to being able to influence some change. Now I have the opportunity to do that at a senior level so that was a really impactful moment for me. 2018 marks 15 years with business for me and I’ve loved every moment.