Each month we take a fly-on-the-wall look at Waltet’s most valued assets – our people.
In the hot seat this month is Laurence, one of our skip drivers. We caught up with him for a quick Q&A to find out about his journey into the waste and recycling industry, life at Waltet and his secret (until now…) fact that may surprise you!
Q: Describe your role at Waltet – your job title and what the role entails.
A: I’m a Skip Driver here at Waltet, my role includes delivering and collecting skips around the Southampton area.
All filled skips are brought back to Bunny Lane in Timsbury, Romsey where we have our recycling facility. Depending on what waste has been collected depends on where I offload the skip.
My unofficial job title is ‘Chief Morale Officer’ – I’m always keeping the team laughing, even at 6.30 in the morning!
Q: How long have you been working at Waltet?
A: I’ve been at Waltet for just over two years now; I started out as an apprentice and have worked my way up.
Q. What’s the first task you usually tackle when you arrive at Bunny Lane? How do you prioritise tasks for the day?
A: I arrive onsite at around 6.30am and the first thing I’ll do is my vehicle checks; this usually takes around 15 minutes. This ensures that my skip lorry is safe and road legal – and has enough fuel!
I then collect my scheduled job sheet from the office, this is the document that tells us the places we need to go that day and informs us of what size, and type, of skip is required. The day includes a mix of deliveries, collections and exchanges. If we are going to a residential area, we can’t do any collections or deliveries until 8am, so we usually start out on the commercial drops where we can arrive a little earlier.
Luckily we don’t have to think about prioritising the jobs as the transport team, based at the Nursling office, plan our routes in the most cost and time efficient way.
If I’m around Bunny Lane near lunch time I will stop for a bite to eat in our onsite lunch room, there’s usually someone there to chat to, but if I’m further afield then I’ll usually eat my sandwich and crisps in a layby somewhere. I usually finish my day around 5pm.
Q: What are your favourite aspects of the job?
A: We’ll often deliver and collect at construction sites with the same team of builders working on them, so over time they become like friends and it’s great to have a bit of a catch up and joke when time allows.
We also do domestic skip deliveries and collections and it’s always nice chatting to customers who are excited about clearing out their home and garden. Everyone loves a fresh start!
Q: What are the main challenges you typically encounter in your role, and how do you overcome them?
A: I think anyone who drives a large vehicle will understand this one. But the main challenge we typically encounter is access – so often we drive on to a site and the space we have to manoeuvre is really tight.
Having said that, I haven’t had a failed attempt – or a bump – yet!
Q: What is it like working with the team at Waltet?
A: I genuinely love coming into work – the team of drivers that I work closely with are all super supportive; we have a great bond and there is plenty of banter.
Q: Are there any opportunities for professional development as part of your job?
A: Yes, when I joined the team I was an apprentice. I would go out with the other drivers and help them with the deliveries and collections of the skips.
After six months of doing that, Waltet trained me up and I got my skip licence. I haven’t looked back since then!
We keep our knowledge fresh by attending regular courses – earlier this month we all attended a FORS Safe Urban Driving session, which was really interesting.
Q: In your opinion, what three words describe Waltet as a business?
A: Forward thinking. Easy going. Supportive.
Q: Share a fact about you that may surprise people…
A: Having two young daughters, I am often having nail polish and face masks put on me. I must admit, I quite like it…it’s very different to the day job!