Career Story: Dean Butters
Sep. 2 2019
Career Story - Dean Butters, Crane Field Specialist
I joined Bureau Veritas in October 2008 as a crane surveyor. I had left school and completed a mechanical apprenticeship with a large UK rail company and during that time successfully achieved my ONC & HNC. Whilst working as a mechanical engineer at a large theme park, I found the role at Bureau Veritas and I made the decision to join the business.
I joined Bureau Veritas as a crane surveyor over ten years ago. In 2013 I progressed to a regional senior engineer which meant that I would work with the TQR team one day a week and spend the other four days surveying. Then when the business restructured, an opportunity arose for a crane specialist which I applied for and was successful. The responsibilities of the role involve ensuring the competence levels of our mechanical engineers is correct and that we are compliant with our requirements as a certification body. Through this I support our Technical, Quality and Risk department (TQR) in upholding our license to operate (LTO). The role however, requires a degree level qualification which led to the TQR Director, Kyle Veitch, suggesting that Bureau Veritas would sponsor me to complete the relevant degree.
The sponsorship meant that during term time, my contractual hours were reduced by 4 hours per week, which enabled me to attend university one day a week. Based on the qualifications that I already possessed, the degree could be completed over two years as opposed to four years. It was a very stressful time, particularly during exam season, but my team and particularly my line manager, Gary Keenan, was unbelievably supportive. Wherever I needed extra time to work on an assignment or the prep for an exam, Gary was flexible in how I managed my time. Generally speaking, the team and Gary were very supportive during stressful periods and whenever I needed answers or information and I am very grateful for that.
I have learnt so much from a technical perspective. Where I believed I had a basic understanding of something, the level of depth that the degree went into with various topics was huge which in turn taught me so much for my role.
I believe that every day is a learning day and the environment that I work in, things constantly change, so whilst studying I found that my way of learning transformed. And not just the way I learned but also the things that I wanted to learn. Although it was very difficult and trying at times, I feel that successfully completing the degree has benefitted me in many ways.
The project that I worked on in my final year focused on blended inspections that we offer at Bureau Veritas, which is the use of a drone to inspect cranes or any asset that’s difficult to access by humans. In my project I analysed what this meant when inspecting something as small as a potentially loose screw and how drones can be improved to ensure that this can be inspected correctly. The project was very well received and in fact, I was contacted by an Institute for Mechanical Engineer Liaison officer (who works closely with the university) to inform me that my project had won the Best Project Certificate for the Mechanical Engineering Course. The integration between the course and my job role enabled me to build a strong project which in turn was very successful.
I think my journey is quite useful learning for anyone starting out in the industry. If you have the opportunity to complete a degree whilst you are young or still in academia, then do it. You shouldn’t be short sighted when it comes to your career and it pays off to set your goals high.
When we find engineers who join the business without the level of qualification to progress in the industry, we support them in achieving a higher level qualification through our NVQ3 pathway, which I believe is a great opportunity that should definitely be taken. I think it is important at a young age in the engineering industry to achieve the highest level of qualifications as possible.