From playing in stadiums to helping build them, 59 year old Bob Beardmore has had an interesting professional career compared to most. We sat down with him to talk about his journey from playing scrum half for Rugby League’s Castleford Tigers to becoming a Heavy Cranes Technical Manager for Ainscough Crane Hire.
When I’m driving across the country I play a little game with whoever will listen to me. It’s where I point out all the things I’ve helped construct in my career. From bridges to buildings, over the last 30 years I really have been involved in it all. It’s been an amazing job, seeing these impressive structures going from a hole in the ground to something spectacular. If you had told me 40 years ago what I’d achieved, I don’t think I would have ever believed you.
When I left school at 16, there was a question of ‘what next’. While I enjoyed my time there, more for the social aspect, I always knew further education wasn’t for me. I was sport crazy when growing up, you couldn’t keep me away from a ball. At this age I was on the books at Castleford Tigers but I started a Mechanical engineering apprenticeship as well so I always had practical skills to fall back on.
When I turned 18, I signed my first professional contract with Castleford and made my first team debut in 1979. As a lad growing up in Castleford, they were my team growing up so it was a dream to play for them. I would go on to create many magical memories that will last forever including playing at the old Wembley Stadium in front of a crowd of 82,000 including picking up the Lance Todd Trophy for the man of the match to being the club’s leading points scorer in a season. But I knew rugby wasn’t forever.
Even in my peak playing years, I still worked part time as an engineer. It certainly wasn’t as glamourous as the modern day game!
1989 was the year of change for me. My wife gave birth to our beautiful daughter, I left my boyhood rugby team and I found a new job in a new industry. It all changed after a conversation with a gentleman following a game and we were started talking about the future. I knew I was coming to the end of my playing career and we got on to the conversation that would shape the next part of my life.
To be frank, I’d never considered a career in the crane industry. In fact I didn’t know the first thing about them, but he told me that I had all the right skills to consider it and he was right.
As Heavy Cranes Technical Manager for Ainscough, it allows me to work on some of the most exciting projects in the country. It really is a labour of love. From the Scottish highlands to the bustling London skyline, I get to travel the length and breadth of the country meeting inspiring people and working on some fantastic projects. All the hard work is made worthwhile when I see the finished product being used by thousands of people every day.
There have been many career highlights over the years. Being a sportsman at heart, it’s always been great to get up close and personal to some of the UK’s most impressive sporting stadia and structures. From placing the first set of beams on the Olympic Park to using the biggest tower crane in Europe for the Etihad’s new stand in 2015, it’s been a great pleasure to work on projects close to your heart.
There are a lot of similarities between playing rugby and working with cranes. Most important of all, it’s a team game. One person can’t do the job of ten, you need to be able to rely on your teammates. Thankfully, in all my careers I’ve worked with some excellent people that have made the job much smoother.
You also need to be level headed. When the pressure is on, whether that’s to score a try or deliver on a scheme, keeping calm is a necessity. Knowing when to react and when to hold back, it’s something I’ve doing my whole career!
I look back on my career with great fondness and wouldn’t change it for the world. I have met so many inspirational people who have passed on great advice. I hope that I can continue to be a mentor to those new starters building their careers in the industry.