At Hyde, you’re able to spread your wings; you’re not caged in. Hyde has enabled me to grow and realise where I want to take my career.Christopher Irons
Chris began his career with us in 2006 at the age 16 as an apprentice gas engineer. Now a Gas Production Team Leader, Chris has been with us for 11 years.
“I was approaching the stage where I would be leaving school and my dad said: ‘You need to get a trade underneath you…become an electrician or a gas engineer. ’ So I chose gas engineer and got a college placement.
“A friend of a friend knew someone who was an apprentice so I wrote to Hyde and was fortunate to be offered an apprenticeship…”
Chris’ apprenticeship was initially for two years (Level 2 in Domestic Gas), but he decided to extended it by a year to achieve more advanced qualifications – a Level 3 Diploma in Domestic Gas Installation, Utilisation and Maintenance.
“Once qualified, I became a gas engineer. I was on my tools for a few years; I started taking on more complex jobs and customer complaints. My line manager gave me more roles and responsibilities, and it was off the back of that, that I progressed…”
Chris was made Lead Engineer in 2011 where he dealt with issues such as post-installation inspections, quality control and complaints.
In 2013 he was promoted to the position of Charge Hand where he was managing a team of nine engineers. This role was slightly adapted and he ended up also looking after installation service engineers.
“I’ve found Hyde to be really supportive environment. My line managers have been as good as gold. They have not micro-managed me; instead they’ve allowed me to crack on… to take opportunities and try out new ideas. With their support, I’ve learnt a lot.”
In 2015 following the restructure which created Hyde Property Services, he was appointed as Production Team Leader for the entire team. He now line manages 19 engineers covering a large area - from the New Forest across to Worthing, and up to Fleet and Aldershot.
Chris is passionate about his team: “What I like most about Hyde are the people. I’ve got a good bunch of guys and the camaraderie in my team is really, really good.”
Apart from the many skills Chris has learnt at Hyde, it has also taught him a lot about his own potential.
“At Hyde, you’re able to spread your wings; you’re not caged in. I’ve been allowed to get on and do it, so I’ve seen how far I can stretch myself. Hyde has enabled me to grow and realise where I want to take my career,” he says.
And he sees many more opportunities at the Hyde Group to do just that. Chris is currently completing his Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) Level 3 qualification and is looking to do a further apprenticeship in Operations Management which is equivalent to a degree. This, he feels, will enhance his management skills so he can move up the career ladder.
Chris now sits on the SE Regional Board for the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and is a regularly called upon to speak at conferences. He recently spoke in front of 350 people at the National Housing Federation (NHF) Maintenance Conference and received excellent feedback.
He is keen to share his knowledge and is most proud of being able to develop new talent. “I’m thrilled to have been able to train people as apprentices and then see them being employed. Those we’ve trained are still working for us and are doing an excellent job.
“And, as an industry we need to keep new people coming in…I recently helped with the CIH training day for new entrants to housing.”
What advice would he give to someone starting their career? “You need to let people know what your aspirations are, where you want to go…Sit with your manager and get a proper personal development plan in place.
“At the same time don’t rush - bide your time. You need to gain experience and knowledge before you can move up the career ladder. Enjoy yourself; be happy and come to work happy.”