Currently working within the Port of Blyth’s marine department as a Relief Skipper and Marine Supervisor, David has had a full and varied career, seeing the Port grow from one of the largest paper terminals in the UK to rapidly expanding into container handling, plywood, project cargo, coal and other dry bulk commodities to a new beginning within the energy sector as the Port became of one the leading Offshore Energy bases.
As we celebrate David’s 50 years of service, we took a deep dive into David’s career to discover what made the Port of Blyth the employer of choice for him for so many years.
Tell us about your early career at the Port of Blyth: What was your initial role?
I started as a messenger. In the 70’s, the Port had messengers cycling around the terminals delivering cargo papers and documents to the ship’s agents based within the Port. In those days, it was the path to securing an apprenticeship as it gave employees the chance to get to know people within the Port first. I did this for three months until I could apply for an Apprenticeship (I think it was the fittest I have ever been). I then started my Apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering, the Port was extremely busy so I was kept busy with machine work, maintaining harbour plant, small boats, cranes and forklifts. I then dabbled in handling cargo, but my heart was with the fitting shop and so I returned there. Later, I joined the marine department after stepping down from volunteering with the RNLI after 17 years as I had a keen interest in boats and spent the rest of my career there.
What are your favourite memories of working at the Port of Blyth?
There are so many! One that sticks in my head is playing cards with colleagues. Back then, almost everyone would carry a pack of cards in their pocket and once the job was done, the game of cards would commence!
What’s one of the biggest changes you’ve seen at the Port of Blyth?
It has to be the advances in Health and Safety. There is a completely different culture today than when I first entered the world of work 50 years ago.
What kept you working at the Port of Blyth all this time?
The people. The sense of comradery amongst the team is fantastic, that paired with the feeling of achievement when overcoming a challenge or solving a problem gives immense job satisfaction, and for me, that was what it is all about.
I had several opportunities to work elsewhere but I had no reason to leave. Working at the Port of Blyth has never felt like a job or a chore. I’ve grown up in the Port and I’m grateful that I can continue doing something I love until I decide to fully retire.
Dedicated and loyal team members like David are what make us who we are and who we must thank for our continued success. If like David, you would like to enjoy a longstanding, successful career at the Port of Blyth, take a look at our current vacancies here.