We begin a series of Question and Answer features with employees of GTS Solutions by asking Castle Supervisor Thomas Burgess about his personal journey.
Name: Thomas Burgess
Job title: Castle Supervisor
Can you describe a little about your upbringing and background?
I grew up in Edinburgh and left high school to start an apprenticeship as a mechanic. That garage went bust unfortunately so I went to college and eventually became a bar tender. I then decided I’d like to try working the doors so left the bar and went to get my badge through Jobseeekers who gave me some ILA funding (now replaced by ITA funding).
How did you hear about GTS Solutions?
After completing a blueprint course, I was offered a chance with the Prince’s Trust and I obtained my CCTV badge and door badge. I actually started that course on my 19th birthday! It was there I met a manager who used to work at GTS Solutions. I got a few work experience shifts with GTS and while I was on the course I was offered a position to start working as a taxi marshall. I actually helped out out with the very first shift they had for the taxis on Lothian Road four years ago. That was my first involvement with the company.
What made you apply for a job?
The company was offering good hours and good quality training and it’s been great for me. I moved from the taxi ranks to a man guarding position on a site in Gorebridge and then after doing that for quite a while, I was offered the chance to work the doors at the Hanging Bat on Lothian Road. I was there for about a year and then looked for something else within the sector after enjoying the taxis, the doors and site security. At the time GTS didn’t have anything I was looking for so I moved elsewhere then this position came up running various sites in Edinburgh and Stirling.
What does your current job involve?
In Edinburgh my team is the first line of security for visitors at the castle doing bag searches and making sure the esplanade is kept clear of any suspicious objects. I ensure we maintain the highest standards of work and levels of professionalism. I was also the supervisor at the Castle of Light at Christmas time which was good experience.
What is the best thing about your role?
I enjoyed the weekends at the taxi ranks as I got to meet loads of new people. I like helping people so the job was ideal. It was a nice feeling to help people’s nights go smoothly by making sure they got a taxi. It was quite rewarding in that sense. The staff I work with are a great bunch of guys and I get to meet so many people from so many different places around the world. Striking up a rapport with different people is great and being interested in history I enjoy telling them a bit about Scotland. No day is ever the same and that’s a real plus point.
What is the toughest part?
Without a doubt the weather! That can be a real challenge at times as we have to be out in all sorts of conditions. When it’s really bad some people don’t want to be stopped and have their bags searched and get a bit grumpy.
If it wasn’t for GTS Solutions, what do you think you would be doing?
I’d probably be back working on the doors, which wouldn’t be great to be honest. I owe them a lot for putting me into this role.
What is your ambition?
To get as much training as possible in diferent sectors.
Where would you like to be in 5/10 years’ time?
I tend to live my life from day to day without making too many plans as sometimes things don’t work out. But I would like to move up a step from supervisor to a managerial position if one ever became available.
Would you recommend GTS Solutions’ training programmes?
Absolutely. I always recommend the company to anyone who might be interested in becoming involved in the industry as the training I got was exquisite. If it was good for me I’m sure it would be good for them. To be honest I only began to learn more about what a social enterprise is the longer I was with the company and it’s fantastic that they can help people and still give back to the community. Previous places of employment had just treated me like a number but GTS regard you as a person and a valued member of staff. No matter what job you do, you matter to them which is a nice feeling.