Breaking into the industry

 Reece Summerfield, 30, is a Technical Support & Training Engineer at EOGB and describes how an offer of 3 months’ work in the EOGB warehouse led him to a new career in combustion engineering…

How did you get into the industry?

I left the Army in 2009 and began working at my father-in-law’s bricklaying firm. I helped to build the extension to the EOGB facility and as it was coming up to the quieter winter period EOGB offered me 3 months’ work in their warehouse – that was six and a half years ago!

When I first started in the warehouse my responsibilities included jobs such as picking and packing, goods in/out and returns. I was then offered the chance to assist in building some of the X Series burners and I really grew a liking for it. I spent a lot of my lunch breaks learning about burner technology and eventually (after a lot of asking) I was moved to the production department.

How did you move into technical?

After working in the warehouse and then the production department for four and a half years I was offered the opportunity by EOGB’s Technical Manager, Martin Cooke, to join the technical team. Shortly after joining the team I attended EOGB’s commercial burner training course at Baltur in Italy to learn gas, oil and dual fuel burners, which was a great experience.

Back in the UK I spent many hours learning about legislation within the industry alongside the technical aspect of becoming a combustion engineer. I began shadowing Martin on lots of site visits and commissions so I could watch and learn from him. He then shadowed me at jobs and eventually I did my first solo commissioning just under a year ago.

What training have you completed?

I began my training on oil initially and completed my OFTEC 50 and then OFTEC 101-105E-600A. After this I did a lot of training on both commercial and domestic gas to build up my portfolio and completed an Approved Prior Learning course and then my ACS assessments to obtain my commercial and domestic qualifications. Of course qualifications are just the beginning as experience is the main factor, and you never stop learning.

What does the future hold for you?

I’ve just achieved my NVQ Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement and will begin teaching more courses at our training centre in St Neots. I currently work within the assessment centre and teach the OFTEC 50 course, along with my other duties such as technical support to engineers, burner modifications, specifications and external site visits.

What’s it like working at EOGB?

I really enjoy working here. I literally started from scratch and I’m very thankful that I’ve been given the time and support I need to develop my career and get an understanding of the industry.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into combustion engineering?

Make sure you’re willing to work! It’s not easy and there’s a lot to learn but, if you’re willing to put the effort in and do the training that’s required, then you’ll go far.

Martin Cooke, Reece’s Manager and Technical Lead at EOGB, said: “Reece has always been very enthusiastic and it’s been great to see him develop in his career. I believe it’s really important to invest in staff training, especially practical hands-on experience. Reece’s story shows that there isn’t just one way of getting into the industry and it’s never too late to change direction and do something you’re interested in.”