As a former young flight sergeant with the RAF Air Cadets – with experience in the cockpit performing aerobatics – NETA delegate Brad could be confident that working at height wasn’t going to be an issue for him.

But when it came to his first job as a rope access technician, cleaning windows on a 14-storey building in Gateshead, he admitted: “It was nerve-wracking, to be fair.”

Brad is among a growing number of new recruits working in the industry after completing a Bespoke Employer Led Programme in Rope Access at NETA Training, working with Hightech Industrial Access.

After completing the course, funded by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, he was selected, through interview, to start work at Hightech.

It’s already proving a whole new world for the 24-year-old from Darlington who said he is loving every minute. 

Having previously worked in security, and as a machine operator, he said: “The range of work you do is great.  It keeps your mind active all the time.  I really do enjoy it.”

Growing up wanting to be a fighter pilot, Brad explained, “circumstances said otherwise”.

After leaving college, having worked part-time in a variety of jobs, he moved into security and then machine operating.

He was out of work when he first heard about the rope access programme from his brother.

“It was something totally new and so I thought I would give it a go,” he said. 

The six-week employability programme covers the basics to work on a construction site, incorporating confined spaces training, safety passport, rigging and lifting, first aid, working at heights and rope access.

Learning the ropes, it didn’t take Brad long to realise this could be the job for him.  “I knew the course came with a guaranteed interview, but I was a bit sceptical,” he said.

He kept his expectations in check right up until Hightech said they would like to take him on.

Starting work as a level 1 technician, he has already gone on to tackle a range of jobs.

With a laugh he said: “It’s a bit of an unnatural feeling to be working from a rope, as humans we were made to be on the ground.”

While that first job was nerve-wracking, he has found, “you do become less nervy the more you do it”. Though he’s also quick to point out, in this job you must never become complacent.

With ambitions to work his way up to become a level 3 operative, and with Hightech putting him through further tickets, Brad said: “You do feel like you are progressing all the time.”

But, at the moment, whether it’s working from a 30m building or a 250m chimney stack, he said: “I’d be quite happy as I like the variety of the work.”

Brad Eglington
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