“The railinfra world is actually a small one. I’ve been around it for almost forty years and you may not know all the guys from the other big players in the market by name, but you do recognise their faces. The atmosphere here is friendly; there’s almost a family feeling. If you have a question or need help, colleagues won’t pass you on but will help you themselves. That’s so nice when you’re new.”

Spider in the web

“I’m chief technician with preparatory tasks for signalling and work on the PGO (maintenance contract) Kennemerland. Here you’re the spider in the web between execution and contract. I prepare all the work, apply for staff, arrange material and equipment, place all orders, plan the rest of the work and I make sure that the work arising from inspections is scheduled on time. That’s quite a list, but of course I work closely with the head of work planning and the construction supervisor. It makes a difference that I’ve always worked in this field. Strukton Rail does use different computer systems from what I was familiar with from the previous rail contractor where I worked. So I’m preparing work as I learn.”

Flexible and stress-resistant

“Ideally I spend half the time in the office and the other half outside. That’s now a 70/30 ratio because I’ve just started, but ultimately that will change. It’s precisely this variety that makes the work so enjoyable. I’m a technician, and technicians like being outdoors. To do this work you have to be flexible and reasonably stress-resistant, and you must like irregularity. Our work is exactly the opposite to the rest of the world’s. We run breakdown services, and when you start working, you have to go straight to work for one hundred per cent, because there’s a limited time in which to do your job. It has to be fast, right and flawless, because you don’t actually get a second chance. That train must run the way it’s scheduled.”

Young people

“It's pretty busy and tough work. Strukton Rail really needs young people, aspiring mechanics who we can train ‘on the job’. At the age of 57 I’m the oldest in the team and I’m also still learning new things. Alongside your recertifications, you can also take other courses if you want to. I want to get into some software packages, and as soon as I have a little more time, that’s the first thing I'm going to get started with.”

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