Konrad Firth began working for Test Valley Borough Council in 1975 as an apprentice mechanic. In those days it was a five year apprenticeship, written into a legal deed and completed with a wax seal! The apprentice role was primarily to learn all of the associated jobs undertaken by the Transport workshop, which included playground inspection and maintenance as well as repairing and servicing mowers, vans and trucks.
Konrad’s early career also saw him working alongside the authority’s housing tradesmen which helped them to carry out maintenance jobs, including plumbing and carpentry, to serve a number of residents living in the Council’s houses. Here, he also learnt how to carry out an array of practical tasks which would become very handy throughout his future career. Konrad soon took another step up the career ladder thanks to his promotion to chargehand mechanic.
In the 1980s, Konrad became Workshop Foreman. The Foreman’s role was to ensure that the vehicle workshop was run efficiently and that vehicles were always available for operational use. Following the introduction of compulsory competitive tendering during the early 1990s, where some of the Council’s services were outsourced, Konrad took the opportunity to turn his focus to grounds maintenance to improve his overall knowledge of service provision. Services such as waste collection and street cleaning were eventually brought back to in-house provision. This was followed by a wider corporate restructure in 2008 that led to the creation of the Environmental Service. It was at this point he was promoted to the position of Transport Manager.
“I’ve really enjoyed progressing up the career ladder with such a supportive and encouraging local authority. I’m very lucky to have had such fantastic colleagues and managers to work with while learning a wide range of new skills along the way.”
Konrad Firth, Transport Manager