Young Guns: Rory McIntosh
Video shoot ‘em ups to jetting guns – Rory has found a career
Rory McIntosh studied computer game development at college but it wasn’t for him – but the call of duty to give us more opportunities to blast away at alien zombies was not quite strong enough.
Instead, he has found a career he really does like – working with water jetting guns. It means Rory, a water jetting operative with RGL Services, is the WJA’s latest Young Gun.
To be fair, the 26-year-old did not transition directly from a BTECH in computer game design and development to ultra-high pressure water jetting. In between, he completed a Level 3 Vehicle Technician Diploma.
“I was working as a lead vehicle technician and had a one and a half hour round trip to work every day, and to be honest the work was just not that interesting,” he explains.
“I saw an advert locally for a job as a water jetting operative and it was something I’d never heard about before, so I thought I’d apply, and I got an interview.”
Travel part of pleasure
That interview was with WJA member RGL Services. Rory’s technical training impressed the team at RGL and he was offered a job which he gladly accepted. He has not looked back since.
Not that the journey to work has got shorter. In fact, it is often considerably longer. In the 12 months Rory has been working at RGL, he has travelled all over the UK and to Northern Ireland for water jetting projects.
There is every chance he will also be sent around the world. And out to sea. RGL carries out a lot of high and ultra-high pressure water jetting on oil and gas rigs and on off-shore wind farms.
So much for a 90 minute commute. However, Rory believes he has found a job and a career that really suits him.
“I have to travel further to work now,” he readily admits. “But that’s part of the pleasure. I’m getting to see a lot of new places and work sites I’d never see if I wasn’t a water jetting operative.”
Water jetting goes nuclear
One of those is the construction site for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, the biggest building site in Europe. Rory is part of an RGL team that regularly works there carrying out concrete hydrodemolition.
He says: “It’s a huge, quite awesome place, and it’s constantly changing. Every time you go back, access routes have moved and a structure has appeared for the first time or got bigger.
“We do a lot of our work there at night. But it’s still one of the busiest places I’ve worked. It’s a privilege to be able to work on a site that’s so complex and so important.”
When Rory joined RGL, one of the first priorities was to undergo his WJA training, as well as a range of other training RGL puts its operatives through.
WJA training – a grounding in safety
Rory has passed his WJA Safety Awareness course and two practical modules, Hydrodemolition and Surface Preparation. All of them are City & Guilds accredited.
He is also constantly learning from RGL’s team of much more experienced and highly-skilled water jetting operatives, who are as adept at using RGL’s array or robotic jetting systems as hand-held jetting guns.
“Everyone at RGL is very helpful and supportive,” says Rory. “There’s a lot to learn. I’m constantly picking up techniques and knowledge from my colleagues. It’s a job where I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning.”
What Rory did learn straight away was that safety is the number one priority. “Water jetting is a real eye opener,” he says. “There’s nothing like holding a jetting gun and feeling the force of water under 40,000 psi of pressure.
“The WJA training is good at explaining why safety is so important and what can happen if things go wrong. It’s a good grounding that’s reinforced every day by the way we work at RGL.”
Growing skills and confidence
And he is part of an RGL team that regularly works the construction site for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, carrying out concrete hydrodemolition.
And has been part of RGL team that used an abrasive water jetting robot to help demolish three of the iconic gasholders at the Oval cricket ground (one will remain).
Along the way his confidence has also grown. “You have to be able to communicate and get your point across clearly in our work,” he says. “If we say you’re not coming into this controlled area, you’re not coming in, whoever you are.”
Rory admits there are a few downsides. Winter nightshifts soaked in water in some of the least pretty industrial sites imaginable are not for the faint-hearted.
But he is not put off. “Some of my friends think I’m a bit mad and they don’t quite understand what I do, but that’s actually something I like about water jetting,” he says. “It’s different.
“RGL is a great company to work for, it does a lot of exciting work and there’re opportunities to develop your role. I see water jetting as a career and I’m sure a lot of other people would enjoy it.”
For someone who wanted a shorter journey to work, Rory has come a long way in 12 months.