A Week in the Life of Joe… at Abbotts – Part 2

…Hello again! You’re back, just like my motivation as I’ve reached Thursday.

So Thursday morning was spent with Darren, a plater in the factory. As a student on work experience in 2017, health and safety regulations dictated I wasn’t actually allowed to do anything, other than pushing a broom around the factory floor. Luckily, Darren allowed me to shadow him for the morning. He took me under his metaphorical wing and explained to me in easy to follow terms the processes he was carrying out, why he was doing so, how the maths behind these things works and what he was working on, in this case an inspection hatch for a vessel to make it easier for customers, Lloyds and any other third-party site inspector to check the condition inside and to help carry out their jobs efficiently.

The factory itself is impressive; a mix of the old and new (and I’m not just talking about the people), with a range of individual parts coming together to make complete products and all being manufactured along-side each other at the same time; air receivers, pressure vessels, separators, surge vessels, filter vessels, buffer vessels, flanges, blowdown vessels, vacuum vessels, expansion vessels, hydrophores, and dished ends. If it’s cylindrical and pressurised, Abbotts probably make it. The range of procedures also impressed; plasma-cutting, welding, machining, fettling, grit-blasting, painting. To witness all these different parts and procedures coming together is a big part of why I chose to do work experience at Abbotts, as a manufacturer, and so to see a team of people, each with skills and training specific to themselves, combine their efforts to create a quality product, really made clear the work ethic and skill-set the production team in the factory possess.

Friday brought about my last day at Abbotts, and the morning was spent with Sharon B, going over some of the Quality documentation, procedures and health and safety concepts that Abbotts has in place, in order to keep both customers and third-party inspectors happy. Whilst not the most exciting part of the job, it’s key to keeping the place running – and Sharon’s strangely interested in it anyway.

From my week at Abbotts, I can conclude two things. Firstly, I don’t want to work somewhere like this, but secondly, the people here do. As I said at the start, I don’t know how someone can possibly get excited by compressed air in a tank, but the people here (especially Henry) really do, and you have to respect that. Obviously, I’m only 17, so my experience is limited, but I doubt there are very many workplaces with the same friendly, chilled out atmosphere, that still manage to get the job at hand done. The factory is the same, and manages to perfectly balance the level of production alongside the level of banter. Efficient but friendly. In some ways, my opening statement is technically wrong. I don’t want to work somewhere like this, but I do want to work somewhere ‘like’ this – somewhere with a similar positive, ‘team’ atmosphere and helpful workforce, and with a passion regarding what it is they’re doing – which I think is essentially how Abbotts is so successful in what they do.

As part of our programme working with local schools, we are hosting Joe – a student at the Minster School, Southwell – for his week of Work Experience.