11 Aug Harlow man shows his staying power
Craig Messenger was only 16 when he responded to an advert in a local paper – 40 years later it’s led to his employers recognising him for his long service to the electrical industry.
UK Power Networks, the company that delivers electricity for 8.3 million homes and businesses across East Anglia, London and the South East, is marking Craig’s milestone by inviting him to join a special 40+ Club.
Craig, from Harlow, began his career as an apprentice in September 1980 earning £36 a week, and four years later he became a cable jointer based in Harlow. Now he is a Distribution Supply Technician covering Lea Valley and is the first to respond to any power failures on the network.
The 56-year-old father-of-four who has just become a grandad, says the highlight of his career was the very busy time he spent repairing cables during the 1987 storm: “I had only been married four weeks then spent a week not seeing my wife Jane as I was doing whatever necessary to restore electricity supplies to customers.”
Over recent years Craig said the biggest change has been the increasing emphasis on safety. He also coaches people as part of the company’s Stay Safe campaign.
He added: “I am now looking forward to seeing out a career that 40 years ago I never ever imagined I would still be here.”
Basil Scarsella, chief executive of UK Power Networks, said: “I recognise and celebrate the dedication and expertise of our employees, many of who have lived and worked in the communities we serve, for a long time. Their work keeping the power on is usually carried out behind the scenes, but it enables everyone’s everyday lives to run smoothly.
“Even for those who have been with us for many decades, 2020 has been an unprecedented year and I am hugely proud of all of our staff’s response to the many challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, with everybody working hard to keep the power flowing. Clearly we cannot gather together for our usual 40+ Club dinner this year, but everybody appreciates the reasons why and it remains a milestone well worth marking.”
In addition to career development for existing staff UK Power Networks continues to run apprenticeships, with new starters due to join in 2021.