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Last year we set up a brilliant Network Expansion team and this year we’re proud to share what some of our Fibre Engineers, Planners and Analysts have all been getting up to.
We spoke with Fibre Engineer Sheldon Hunt who had an unexpected career change when his time in the army was suddenly cut short. Sheldon openly tells us how he fell into the job as a Fibre Engineer and how he use our employee benefits to get the most out of their career at Virgin Media.
Hi Sheldon, you’re part of our newly created Network Expansion team. For those still unsure, can you tell us what is the role of a fibre engineer?
Right, so to put it simply a Fibre Engineer’s goal is to install, test and maintain a fibre optic network that is used for mobile phone masts, home broadband and for business digital systems.
Gotcha! Your background is in the army but you’re now with us as a Fibre Engineer. How did that happen?
I joined the British Army in the infantry and was there for six years but unfortunately, I got injured. I loved my time there, but the injury meant I had to be medically discharged.
I’m from South Africa and after spending so much time in the UK I knew I wanted to stay in the country as my partner and kids are here. I didn’t have a clue what fibre engineering was before my uncle (who also works at Virgin Media) told me about it. It’s a completely different kettle of fish than what I was used to, and I was interested. Luckily the army helped me get my City and Guilds training so I could become a Fibre Splicer / Engineer.
Training is a big deal for us here, so we love that the army helped you. We’ve also got a great set of employee benefits, have you been able to use any of them to help with your injury?
The employee benefits have been a real blessing, I’ll tell you that. Because of my leg, I’ve had to have surgery and when the pandemic hit, it was such a relief to be seen within a month of being referred with Bupa instead of waiting around.
I had always planned to make my full career in the army so having that shattered and being thrown into a different world was scary and of course, you worry about the future. Virgin Media’s benefits have helped to accommodate my lifestyle. It’s just been such a relief for me and my family.
There are a few people from the army in this team – including my manager – and we’ve all said that yes switching from the army to become a Fibre Engineer is daunting but the benefits, including life insurance, mean a lot. You feel looked after.
Were there any transferable skills from the army you were able to use as a Fibre Engineer?
You have to deal with a lot of stressful situations in the army and because of it, I’m quite good at staying calm and trying to find a solution even if it can feel impossible. There’s also just that basic understanding of respecting those around you and being loyal to your team. Stuff like that stays with you and is helpful. Working together is something we’re all proud of.
What’s surprised you about working as a Fibre Engineer?
Every day is a learning day. Sure, you might have a stumbling block, but team play is massive in this group. You never feel like you’re having to deal with things on your own. There’s always someone to help you out. No one wants to see you fail.
I’m really enjoying my time working in Network Expansion and as we’re growing out a new team I’m excited to get to know more people in the business, learn and hopefully progress even further, who knows perhaps even into a management role.
Discover our roles below to see how you can be part of the team with Sheldon.
Check out our latest jobs here
We’ve got 9 vacancies for a Fibre role