Stuart Shields

Mechanical Handling Instructor

"Everyone has to learn somehow, sometime, and I have the desire to help people with that learning."

What led you to work for PETA?

I worked quayside for 40 years and I fancied a change, so when voluntary redundancy was offered, I went for it. I knew about PETA as I’ve done various courses with them over the past 15 years and I’ve always liked how the training was conducted, so when the instructor job came up I thought it would suit me well. I left my previous role in December and started with PETA a month later!

What is your role at PETA and what drives you to do what you do?

I’m a Mechanical Handling Instructor, which involves training people how to use various equipment, plant and vehicles. These courses include lift truck, cherry pickers, container handlers, cranes, tow tractors, vehicle marshalling as well as bespoke training that is delivered to individual companies on equipment specific to their business.

I really enjoy delivering all kinds of training and meeting new people. To go from an in-house role where you’re training the same 200+ people, to delivering to a wide range of different businesses and individuals is quite exciting!

What knowledge or experience do you draw upon for your role?

I draw upon 38 years of dock work! I picked up a lot of operating experience during my time there as well as learning a lot from my father and brother when I was younger. I’ve been an instructor/examiner for the past 12 years so I bring a lot of experience to this role.

How do you approach your role on a day-to-day basis? What skills are required?

I always ensure that I’m considerate to all. We get people coming to us at all levels and everyone picks things up at different speeds, so it’s important to be patient, tolerant and understanding, and to uphold a professional manner. I spend time planning each course I’m scheduled to deliver and I like to prepare my materials the day before to ensure I’ve got ‘all my ducks in a row’ as I like to say! 

It’s important to be knowledgeable, patient and to have a good temperament. I strongly believe that everyone has to learn somehow, sometime, and I have a desire to help with that learning.

What are your personal values and what is important to you?

The end product matters to me - I like to see people achieve what they came to do and to ensure that they reach the required standard. Some people who attend training are very nervous so I do all I can to keep them calm, be patient with them to ensure they finish the course as a safe operator.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

Family and golf! My wife and I are foster carers and we've had a young lady in place with us for eight years now. I like to play at a few different golf courses in my local area so I go wherever there is availability. It’s great that restrictions have lifted and we have some kind of normality again!