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Solving problems doctors can't

Adam Farmer, electrician

I started at the Trust back in 2012 as an electrical apprentice, qualifying a few years later when I became a full time electrician for the Trust.

It’s a hugely rewarding career because I know that I help keep the hospital running and that my job impacts the care and treatment a patient receives, whether that is providing emergency repairs on a theatre ventilation plant to get it back up and running or to maintain critical systems that are vital to the hospital. Ensuring those pieces of equipment work takes a different kind of skill from those my clinical colleagues possess but helps save lives all the same and I’m incredibly proud of that.

It’s also a hugely varied role. Each day is different so I have no idea what to expect, which keeps me on my toes.

The Trust has massively supported my career development giving me the skills required to become a qualified electrician and putting me through my electrical and electronic engineering HNC. I’ve also received training in other areas such as medical gas systems, asbestos awareness, emergency lift release and many more. 

Want to see where Adam's career has progressed? You can find an update to his story below.

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In 2019, Adam still works at University Hospital Southampton, improving our services as an electrical craftsperson.

‘Oddly enough, the best part of my job is when something goes wrong – something that could affect patients – and I have the skills and expertise to fix it. It’s really rewarding to know that it’s not just doctors and nurses that can make a difference to patients' lives in a hospital, but I can too.

‘There are challenges too – it’s a very big site, covering a wide area, and there are a lot of complex things to consider. Technology is always changing, so there’s a real need to keep up to date with it, which means you’re always busy. The hospital environment itself can be unusual to work in, too – sometimes I can get called up to wards because a patient has a bangle or ring that needs to be cut off, and that’s something most electricians don’t encounter in their day-to-day role!

‘During the week of snow last year, I stayed at onsite for 24 hours to help clear the snow and make sure there was an electrician onsite in case of any emergencies. My biggest motivation to come to work every day is seeing how grateful people are when you’re able to help them – whether it’s a patient, a relative or a member of staff. It’s such a varied role; I’m doing something different every single day.

‘The estates department at UHS has a huge range of opportunities, and it's a really supportive environment for anyone looking to come into the profession without any skills or experience. There are apprenticeships on offer to help you develop your career.

‘In terms of my next steps, I’m planning to go off to university to complete a degree, which UHS will be supporting me to do. When I left school I never thought I’d do a degree, and I’m really happy that UHS has given me the opportunity to do something like this!’