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CHRIS PARKER: A CAREER JOURNEY



       From publishing, to re-habilitating young offenders, to training delegates on gas pipelines….it’s
       been quite a career so far for our resident gas expert, Chris Parker.




    How did your career start?             met  the  standards  required.  From  this  I   courses.  I  subsequently  got  involved  in
    I  started  within  the  genteel  world  of   became conversant with the requirements of   training  workshops  helping  the  workforce
    publishing,  where  I  worked  with  authors   adhering to health and safety requirements.   understand   the   difference   between
    such as the astronomer Sir Patrick Moore,
    producing  titles  ranging  from  reference   After ten years, I decided to change career
    books to large glossy publications.    direction,  and  started  work  within  British
                                           Gas’  construction  department  where  an
                                           exciting  on-site  opportunity  working  on
                                           pipeline  construction  quickly  arose.  Each
                                           project involved construction, laying and re-
                                           instatement of farmland, road crossings, and
                                           sometimes river crossings, of approximately
                                           30 kilometres of 36 inch diameter steel pipe.

                                           My  first  practical  experience  was  taking
                                           delivery  of  materials  that  arrived  on  an
                                           articulated  lorry  on  a  freezing  cold  day  in
    Although this was a pleasant way to spend   November,  standing  in  a  muddy  field,  and
    my  working  days,  I  quickly  realised  that  I   having to count everything off, from large
    wanted more excitement in my life, so when   fittings to boxes of nuts and bolts. My next
    I  saw  an  advertisement  inviting  applicants   challenge was  to  manage  the  ‘pipe  dump’,   hazards and risks, and how to develop risk
    to  apply  to  work  for  a  charity  involving  which was a disused WW1 airfield, where   assessments, which at the time was a new
    rehabilitation  and  re-settlement  of  young   lorries would arrive by 07:00 on a Monday   formal requirement within the business.
    offenders,  I  decided  to  enquire.  I  was   morning  from  Scotland  to  deliver  lengths
    informed by the jolly lady who answered the   of  pipe  for  the  project.  These  had  to  be   Around  the  same  time,  a  new  permitry
    phone, that no two days were likely to be   inspected for damage, recorded, and stored   system  was  being  developed  within  the
    the same, and was I okay with the fact that   correctly  until  they  were  required  out  on   industry,  to  ensure  that  there  would  not
    I might well be held up at knife point?! But   site,  where  they  would  be  placed  in  the   be  further  gas  related  incidents,  such  as
    not to worry, as I would be highly trained   correct location and welded together.   the  disaster  that  had  occurred  on  an  oil/
    and able to apply diffusion skills! Unfazed, I                               gas platform in the north sea, whereby 167
    applied, got the position and stayed for the   I  was  responsible  for  maintaining  the   people  were  killed  as  a  result  of  fire  and
    next ten years, during which I was only once   welding records, which had to be submitted   explosion on the rig. Once I had been trained
    threatened  by  a  person  with  a  knife,  but   to the HSE once the pipeline construction   and  passed  all  the  relevant  assessments,  I
    (as promised!) was able to use my diffusion   was complete. These records, together with   was then able to deliver training on the new
    skills and came away unharmed.         the results of hydrostatic testing, were vital   system  to  both  staff  and  contractors;  this
                                           in order to demonstrate the integrity of the   system is still in place today.
    It  was  during  this  time  that  I  was  trained   pipeline and that it was fit for purpose to
    to  undertake  training  needs  analysis,  and   transport high pressure gas.   Also  around  the  same  time,  an  Incident
    to  develop  and  deliver  innovative  training                              Management  interactive  training  package
    programmes  that  would  maintain  the   Once  the  construction  projects  ceased,  I   was  launched  to  re-enforce  emergency
    interest  of  young  people  who  had,  for   transferred  to  Transco  and  worked  within   procedures   within   the   organisation;
    many reasons, not engaged with the formal   the Health and Safety team in East Anglia.   encouraging  people  to  work  as  a  team  to
    education  system,  and  were  therefore   I  was  sent  to  the  local  gas  compressor   deal  with  any  given  emergency  scenario;
    disadvantaged.  Over  the  years,  I  found   stations  and  a  gas  terminal  to  learn  how   their  actions  and  decisions  would  be
    myself visiting employers prior to a young   they  operated,  and  then  learned  how  the   captured on video by the trainers and fed
    person starting a work placement to make   local distribution network functioned. I was   back to them later in the day for discussion.
    sure that their premises were compliant, as   also sent on numerous training courses to
    well as inspecting our own premises, spread   reinforce  my  learning,  including  NEBOSH
    county-wide,  to  ensure  that  workshops,   General   Certificate   in   Occupational   Cont’d....
    tools  and  equipment  and  training  delivery   Safety  and  Health,  and  Train  the  Trainer
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