In our next Sector Spotlight on the Emergency Services, we hear from Graham Campbell who is the Second Mechanic on the RNLI Lifeboat based in Kirkwall.
The RNLI is a charity that saves lives at sea, powered almost entirely by donations and with the help of their volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards. The role of volunteers in supporting the lifeboat service is vital to coastal communities like Orkney.
Volunteering with the RNLI is something that Graham has wanted to do since he was a young boy. Before joining the lifeboat crew he served with the local Territorial Army (TA) as a Reservist Soldier for nine years. After he had served his time with the TA, he joined the RNLI Kirkwall Lifeboat crew.
Can you describe a typical day in your role as Second Mechanic?
When I am on duty as Mechanic I attend the station and carry out maintenance on the lifeboat, making sure all the machinery is in good order and ready for service 24 hours a day. When we get a shout for a service I act as Mechanic and monitor the machinery as well as being the main communications point between the lifeboat, the casualty and the Coastguard services.
How did you end up in this role?
It is something I always wanted to do as a young boy, but I first joined the local Territorial Army as a reservist soldier for nine years. When I served my time with the TA I applied to join the RNLI Kirkwall Lifeboat crew and was accepted. I then had to carry out a great deal of training to allow me to be competent as a crew member, this was gained by training on the lifeboat every week.
What is the best thing about your job?
It is an honour and privilege to serve as a local volunteer with the RNLI and I feel a great sense of pride when we are able to help someone in distress at sea or on the coast.
What is the worst thing about your job?
The worst thing is when your pager sounds and you know that someone is in difficulty, you want to respond and help them as best as you can. You start to think about the weather, how difficult it is going to be and what we can do to help. If there are strong winds, high seas or poor visibility during rescues, this can make it more difficult for us to give our assistance.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
Team work is an essential skill as part of the RNLI, you need to be able to work as part of a team and get on well with crew members.
You will also learn skills through regular training and attending any course that the RNLI provide. We sometimes have to attend training courses down at the RNLI main headquarters in Poole, Dorset as well as carrying out our local weekly training.
What qualifications do you have?
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
I would definitely encourage young people to support their local community by serving in any of the emergency services as you get a great feeling of pride and job satisfaction by helping people in need.
Visit the RNLI, and learn more about what they do or how to volunteer, on: