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Stuart Gilby, HV Lecturer: A Career Journey

Stuart Gilby, HV Lecturer: A Career Journey

16 November 2020

1989 was a year of great historical importance; the Dalai Lama won a Nobel Peace Prize, the World Wide Web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee and the Berlin Wall came down. However, more notable than all of these put together was the beginnings of a fledging electrical career for a young Stuart Gilby! 

Stuart Gilby is a Senior Electrical Lecturer in High Voltage (HV), based at Develop’s York training centre. Here we catch up with him and find out about his career journey so far…

Starting out in the military

I started my career as an Electrical Apprentice for a Government department which at one point saw me working on a military site with no connection to the grid – this was my first exposure to Safety Rules and power generation and my ‘interesting’ experiences there made me quickly realise that I’d have a far more challenging and varied career if I continued with the military rather than general electrical work!

In 1997, as my career progressed into management, I gained my first Authorised Person appointments for High Voltage and Low Voltage, shortly followed by appointments in Mechanical Systems and Petroleum.

The decision to join Develop in March 2016 was an easy one and having attended various courses there over the years I felt that I already had a head start in how it would be on the other side of the desk – how wrong I was! I quickly realised that it’s only when you’re involved in developing and delivering training courses that you realise how much of a challenge it truly is – definitely not the walk in the park that I thought it’d be!

Time at Develop

During my time at Develop we have had great success in expanding our traditional client base of Defence and Health to include private networks and industrial clients. This has been fantastic for both the industry, as it shows that safe working practices are being adopted in a widespread manner, and also for myself personally, because it’s helped me to gain more experience in current industry practices and stay up to date with our knowledge. 

How we deliver courses has also changed a lot since I first started as many businesses are now wanting bespoke courses tailored to their own individual rules. The global COVID19 pandemic has also made us reassess how we deliver our courses and in response we’ve recently launched a number of virtual and blended learning options – a fantastic new asset to our training portfolio, as well as another challenge for me as a trainer to conquer!

Specialist subject: Safe Systems of Work

My specialist subject is Safe Systems of Work. In the military Safety Rules and procedures have been in place since well before I began my apprenticeship, however even though the area has expanded exponentially over the years, there are still organisations’ today that have no rules in place.

It’s always saddening to read the latest HSE report into a significant incident on site that
could’ve been easily prevented by a little education and awareness – this is exactly why I’m so passionate about this area as it plays a huge part in ensuring both the safety of the engineers as well as raising awareness of safe systems of work with employers. 

One of the best parts about my job is when I hear from a delegate that our training has helped him/her to challenge a potentially un-safe practice in their workplace – that’s another life potentially saved, and it makes me proud to do the job I do.

Looking to the future

These days many SME’s are being made aware of compliance issues through industry publications, HSE newsletters and even social media. Because of this I have seen a slow shift of learners with no prior formal safety training starting to see the importance of safe systems of work and undertaking such training.

Larger companies seem to be wanting multiskilled engineers now more than ever, so I think that it’s now extremely important to ensure that everyone has as much training and safety awareness as possible in areas that may not be their primary engineering discipline.

Education styles have also changed in recent years with the traditional ‘sit and listen’ approach slowly being phased out and replaced with a holistic approach covering a variety of delivery methods. This not only improves the learners experience but also helps to keep it interesting for us as trainers too!

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