Ian King, 38, has been one of our Fleet Supervisors at KWL Fleet for 4 years. Born in Hull, he started as an apprentice HGV mechanic in 1998, working for Hull City Council and has worked his way up through KWL.
His current position as a Supervisor involves organising the maintenance schedules for around 1,000 assets – both vehicles and plant – a lot of which have to be serviced eight times per year for the Council. He also distributes these service dates to the different departments within KWL. Ian forms part of the KWL Fleet management team that works alongside a team of 24 technicians, 3 of which are apprentices.
In 2002, he progressed from being an apprentice himself to a qualified HGV technician upon completing his course. He says, “As an apprentice I was welcomed onto the team and treated on the same level as the people above me.”
KWL Fleet was established in 2012 and this, as Ian explains, “Brought more opportunities to develop our team”.
“I wasn’t academic at school: I wanted to go down a more manual, mechanical line of work. Working at KWL, I always knew I wanted to be a supervisor, so when a vacancy opened in 2016, I applied. The interview process was friendly and straight-forward, and it was definitely comforting to have faces I recognised on the other side of the table. I was so pleased when I got the job.”
“I’d like to think I take the Modern Management approach to my role as a supervisor. I welcome suggestions and improvements to the way we work, and really like to uphold a positive attitude in the team. We all know it’s a team effort, one-person is no more important than anybody else, and I truly appreciate the value that each member adds.”
“The job is very rewarding and made a lot easier by the positivity and skillset of the team. I love being a part of the continuous improvement here, seeing processes become more efficient for everyone involved. We recently focused on minimising waste for example, and simply by making a lot of files digital through our bespoke IT systems, we saved masses of paper. Over the time I’ve been here, there’s been continuous improvement when it comes to our technology too – it’s great to see.”
Ian lives with his partner of 18 years, Sally, who also works at KWL Fleet. They have two children together: Joshua, 8, and Chloe who is just 9 months old. “My daughter was born prematurely and the team at work was really supportive during that time. It’s very much a community at KWL – we often like to socialise together outside of work, which can be a rare thing in other companies. In my spare time, I also like to ride my motorbike, as do a few of my colleagues.”
On the matter of lockdown, Ian describes it as “difficult but necessary”. “We worked all the way through, putting more emphasis on the more pressing maintenance work. It was a high-pressure environment but we managed. Adjustments were made at work – we altered our workshops for example and added an extension to aid social distancing – the main priority was that everyone would be safe.”
“KWL invest in individuals. It’s clear that they want to support the future of the industry, especially through training. In 2018, I was offered to do a diploma in first-line management, which at the time sounded very daunting, but after completing the course I can definitely say I’ve used these skills in my job. I’ll probably do further management training too in years to come.”
“In terms of future plans, I’d like to have a role with a lot of parallels to what I do now, but in a more senior position at KWL Fleet. I can’t see myself going anywhere – they have invested a lot in me, and now I want to give something back.”