I work in health and safety because I believe that people should go home with all their fingers and toes. In construction, which is the industry I’m in, there has been a high fatality rate so everyone is working really hard to tackle that.
I really enjoy my job. I get to work with everybody within the company so I can be in the drawing office, or in the fabrication area, the loading yard, or the construction sites with the team who are erecting the buildings. Sometimes, when I arrive at a site, people are surprised to see a woman because they thought a man called Joe was coming but of course my name is Joanne.
I’m surprised too in some ways, because I didn’t think I’d end up doing this. My mum died when I was 22 and I had a six-week old baby son. It was a busy time and a sad time, and I had to learn to stand on my own two feet.
I remember walking along the road, back in the days when there were recruitment agencies on the high street, and I went in every agency looking at every job. The next day I had an interview and by the end of that second day, I had a job.
I came to work here to cover a maternity leave and when that was ending, there was a vacancy for a health and safety job so I went to my boss Simon to say I thought I could do it. He saw something in me and mentored me through this role, giving me the opportunity to study and get a qualification.
I think having a job is the foundation for my life, really. It’s great that I enjoy it but also it’s my thing, it’s part of my personality. It’s who I am and what I do.
My days are so full that I like to go out paddleboarding on a nice evening. After a long day at work, I can just go down to the beach and everything is quiet, no phone, nothing else going on, just the water. You can hear people splashing about in the water and I enjoy the calmness after a busy day.
I’m really lucky to have a disposable income now. I can go out to dinner, I can go to the pub at the weekend if I want to. I spoil my son. I think I’m lucky.
Because I always put so much value on having a job and being employed, I’ve never been out of work.
I’m fulfilling my potential. My dad would be proud of me.