Real work: Nine to five - Toni Milling

Name

Toni Milling, 19

Occupation

Trainee steeplejack

Salary

pounds 140 per week

Address

Mere, Wiltshire

How did the job start?

Before I worked here I was a volunteer carer with elderly people in Scotland. I saw an advert for a job as a trainee steeplejack, which offered residential training. I had to go to college for six months where I learnt how to put up ladders, use a bosun's chair, brickwork, painting and a bit about scaffolding. I have been based at the factory for the past year and this April I go back to the college for another month to finish my NVQ training.

How long have you worked there?

I started in September 1997.

Describe what you do

I work for Beaumont Chimneys who have a factory in Mere, Wiltshire. They make steel chimneys anything up to 300ft tall that are usually put on boilers anywhere: hospitals, chemical plants, oil refineries or schools. These chimneys are built up of sections that are any size and width. They are so big that sometimes a police escort is needed to get them out of the yard. A crane is required to lift each section up. You've got to be careful especially if it's windy because they swing about. When there are four of us working together, one will be working on the floor and there will be two of us including me bolting the sections together, having guided each new section into place. You can be away on a job up to three weeks at a time.

Where do you live?

I live on my own in a room in a pub in Mere, over the cellar. It's a locals' pub with a skittle alley and live music on Friday and Saturday evenings. I have my own bathroom but share a kitchen with the landlord.

How does your day start?

My travel alarm clock, a black pounds 5 jobbie, goes off at 7am. I have a cup of tea and get dressed. I don't usually have breakfast. At 7.30am I leave for work.

What do you wear?

Jeans and a jumper. When it's cold I wear tights under my jeans and lots of layers. They provide you with a yellow high-visibility jacket and a safety helmet. I wear rigger boots that fit over my jeans. I'm not bothered by the rain; it's the cold I don't like.

What's your journey like?

The factory is only a two-minute walk down the road.

Describe your work environment

Most of the time is spent on site. Yesterday we were taking down a steel chimney that was no longer needed at an army base in Wilton just outside Salisbury, and before that we were putting up a chimney on a boiler at a paper mill in Cheltenham.

What do you do for lunch?

We are supposed to have an hour, but when you have a crane on site which is hired by the day you have to work through to get rid of it as soon as possible. Sometimes I go out and buy sandwiches and some sites have a canteen where you can get a hot meal.

What stresses you out most at work?

I find it hard to control the 16ft metal ladders; they are difficult to balance in the wind. Everyone seems to expect me to be frightened of heights but I'm not.

What are the perks?

I absolutely hate working inside. This job allows me to work in the open.

What are your hours?

Forty, but there is lots of overtime when I'm on site. In summer we work at night and weekends. One month I took home an extra pounds 300 which was great.

How much holiday do you take?

Twenty-one days a year, I think.

What do you do after work?

I watch soaps like Brookside and EastEnders, go to the pub, go for walks. Sometimes I spend time with my boyfriend, Mark, but because he's a lorry driver I don't see much of him. I used to cook but don't bother much now. Toast and take-aways are more likely these days.

What's the first thing you do when you get home?

Have a quick cup of tea and take a shower.

How do you feel on a Sunday night?

The telly's usually good, so I don't think about work.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

    £18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

    Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

    £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

    £20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future