Five minutes with… Amanda Clarke

Amanda has been working at Cappagh Browne for just over a year now, doing the administration for our plant and transport and our safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) teams. We managed to grab five minutes with Amanda to learn more about what she does every day, her achievements and advice on how to get ahead.

What does your role at Cappagh Browne involve?

My role at Cappagh Browne is very varied. Half my time is spent working in plant and transport, carrying out tasks such as tracking vehicle checks, making sure the vehicles are in a safe condition for the drivers to use. I work on databases and reports, specifically looking at driving usage. I also work in the health and safety team which involves ensuring people have ID cards to access the relevant sites and sorting out training. I regularly make sure the vehicles have been checked and ensure they are suitable to drive. I organise the staff training for Cappagh Browne, which is a great way to connect with people across the company.

What was your first ever job?

My first ever job was as an office assistant at Searches UK, which was for home information packs (HIP) for when you move properties. This was a job I did just after college when I was around 18 or19 and I did it for just over four years. During my time there, I undertook a variety of different tasks, including sending out and paying invoices to solicitors for the HIP packs and to other businesses. In this job, I had the opportunity to do a level 2 NVQ in Excel/Databases. I found it beneficial for my career path as I learned lots of transferable skills, some of which I now use in my role at Cappagh Browne.

How did you get involved in this industry?

I was looking for something different to what I’ve done previously. The job sounded busy but exciting, which is exactly what I wanted. I did some research on Cappagh Browne before joining and the company caught my attention. Water wasn’t necessarily an industry I was specifically looking at going into but the prospect of working for Cappagh Browne was very exciting.

What do you like most about your job?

I love the variation of the work in my role and the people I work with. There’s always lots to do and I’m always kept busy, and before I know it, it’s time to go home! I particularly enjoy the training side of my work, organising sessions for our employees and the various people leading the different programmes. One of the great things about my job is I get to speak to a lot of different people in the organisation, which is always helpful.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in the water industry?

It’s a very fast-moving and progressive industry, which is constantly evolving. Because of that, I’d say never be afraid to ask a question, even if you think it sounds like a stupid question – it won’t be! It’s always a good idea to ask for more details – and is a great way to show enthusiasm.

Can you share an interesting fact about yourself?

I love learning new things and I’m currently teaching myself to speak Italian. I went to Italy a few years ago and I wanted to learn some of the language. I thought if I am going to a new country then it would be good to try and learn to speak Italian while I was there.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?

I’m a very creative person, so I love designing things, drawing and I’m currently trying to teach myself to play the keyboard – but it’s very slow work in progress! I also go to a lot of music shows as I have a friend who is a musician. My friend has a specific focus on 1960s to 1980s soft rock and country rock, but he’s into other music areas such as jazz.  

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given during your career?

Think of yourself as a lifetime learner and never be afraid to ask questions. People sometimes think when you get to a certain age you stop learning but that isn’t the case at all, you never stop learning.

What do you consider your biggest success so far?

Workwise – in a previous job I helped to train someone up and saw them progress. Seeing their personal growth was very rewarding as they started a few years after me and I was asked to help train them. After about a year they went on to make supervisor and then become manager.

Personally, when I was younger, I was scared of heights, so I pushed myself to do ‘Go Ape’, which is an obstacle course very high up in the trees with zip wires, climbing nets and tunnels. And once you’ve started, you can’t go back on!  Everyone should try and face their fears; it’s worth a try. I was then able to transfer this idea of pushing myself outside my comfort zone into other areas of my life, with a prime example being to push myself in the workplace.  

Where is your favourite place in the world?

North Devon. It is such a beautiful, relaxing area with incredible beaches that go on for miles, with nice countryside walks and really pretty, old-fashioned towns that you hardly see anywhere else. It’s my happy place.

The first time I went was in 2015 and I have tried to go back there ever year ever since (apart from during Covid). There’s a relaxed atmosphere which, coming from a busy city, is exactly what I look forward to. One of my fondest memories of the area was once, I went on a midnight boat trip and I was lucky enough to see lots of dolphins! I would highly recommend the area to anyone looking for a relaxing break!