Mark explains how being deaf hasn't stopped him from finding work as a gas engineer with Bristol City Council, and why cats, dogs, parrots and dirty houses can be dangerous.
This story was made during a collaborative workshop between Bristol Stories and Bristol City Council's Building Futures scheme, which helps young people start and develop their careers in the council.
My name is Mark,I am 23, I work as a gas engineer for Bristol City council.
I attended Elmfield Deaf School in Bristol. I wanted to leave school at 16. I was not sure what I wanted to do so decided to do a plumbing course at City of bristol College. Then i joined Bristol City Council when I was 19. When I went for the interview I was nervous but they booked me an interpreter who was relaxed and the managers seemed relaxed so that helped. they told me the same day i got the job as an apprentice gas engineer. I was surprised ! I needed to have a driving license which I already had and then was police checked because we go into peoples houses.
I am now working as a gas engineer. I work in a team but I go off to individual houses, usually around 8 per day but less on a Friday when we finish at lunchtime!
I have been there 4 years, it has gone really quick. I keep my council van at home in Kingswood. Once a week I drive to the depot in Brislington on a Monday and drop off last weeks worksheets and pick up the new ones for the week. Then I drive to my first appointment. Today is in an old persons block of flats. Only problem is I can not always tell whether they have opened the door or nor because I cant hear. If I am not sure then I phone the office who phone the tenant and then they know to let me in. The office doesnt mind but it can be irritating waiting for the office to get back to me. Sometimes I have to phone my boss but he always gets back to me quickly.
I visit people in council houses once a year to give their gas boiler its annual service. Some customers are frinedly and give me a cup of tea! Others are miserable.There are risks to peoples lives if I dont do this properly. occasionally when I take the front of the gas fire off to check the back boiler there can be abuild up of gas and it bangs and I can feel and see the sensation.
Also if people have pets especially cats dogs and parrots there can be a build up of dust and pet hair which can be dangerous. Some of the houses I visit are quite dirty, other very clean. I have to tell people that pet hair and dust can be dangerous but its up to them how they live their lives.
I like working for the council, itsd a positive experience for me a deaf person because they have monthly meetings for deaf staff so they can let us know what is happening, also they give us mobiles so that my boss and I can be in contact. I like the flexi time, the wages are good and I get support and training as well. I now have NVQ qualifications and specific gas qualifications.I feel trusted and independant. i like the variety of my job.
Maybe if I knock on your door one day you will be a nice tenant and give me a cup of tea !
Policeman created by conner395 (flickr.com), used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 licence.
Cat picture created by Powi...(ponanwi) (flickr.com), used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 licence.
Dog picture created by portorikan (flickr.com), used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 licence.
Drink and biscuits picture created by Kanko* (flickr.com), used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 licence.