Rob Kelsey, contract lift manager at Ainscough’s Southern Hire Centre, combines his day job of planning intricate lifts for the country’s biggest infrastructure project with playing a big role in his local community. This is his Ainscough Story.
I suppose I got into crane hire by accident. In 2001, I’d spent some time travelling around Europe. I eventually found myself living in – to put it nicely – less than glamorous surroundings in Holland. In the course of that year, I met my wife when I moved back to the UK and decided I needed to find a half decent job and save some money for our future and first home.
I found an opportunity at a crane company in 2002 and worked in a variety of different roles and companies before becoming a contract lift manager at Ainscough in 2016.
I did leave the company for a short period, but I soon discovered the grass isn’t always greener – and I was thrilled when my old and now boss Ian Carradice got in touch to say there was an opportunity for me to come back.
In my time elsewhere, I found that the quality of my work/life balance really dropped. I would only see my daughters before bedtime, which wasn’t enough for me. Now, in my current role, I can see my girls most mornings and there’s the opportunity to work from home. Don’t get me wrong, there can be early starts and late finishes – but my current position has allowed me to have the family time that you can’t put a price on.
It’s also enabled me to support my youngest daughter’s interest in football. I manage Deeping United Girls Under 10s. When my daughter started playing last year, the coach was looking for volunteers and I was happy to put my hand up. In the past year my daughters age group has grown from 14 players to 44 in a space of a year. We are now coaching three teams in the U10’s, soon to be U11’s. The football club as a whole has grown upwards of 70 new players to 650, 150 being female.
I’m based in South Lincolnshire but work out of the Southern Hire Centre, while also planning operations for the Cambridge and Ipswich depots and the Coventry Depot’s HS2 office.
Unsurprisingly, HS2 throws up some really challenging – and enjoyable – projects to work on. For example, the first job I had on HS2 was for EKFB – where the project involved 3no concrete batching plants at Wendover, Fleet Marston, and School Hill Calvert. The job required unloading materials from 8no 40ft ISO containers and lifting heavy plant onto plinths before assembling the plant piece by piece.
The projects took a lot of pre-planning and ongoing planning over a period of eight to ten weeks each to complete. I must have done about sixty drawings for these projects – it was time-consuming but very rewarding to know the work was going towards such an important undertaking.
Elsewhere, I’ve also been involved in a live project lifting conveyor bridge sections. This work saw the use of a Liebherr LTM1500 8.1 105te CWT Y Guide 15° in leu of our Liebherr LTM1450 8.1, 104te CWT crane to lift over a small highway road.
The Leibherr LTM1130 5.1 42.00te CWT crane was used to lift small conveyer bridge sections onto a temporary bridge to be skated over a rail line under possession, adjacent to 132kv cables.
I’m currently planning a job that will use a Liebherr LTM1500 8.1 165te CWT Y Guide 15° to lift a bridge section over the A413. This is an interesting project as the finished project will enable HS2 to remove 100,000 lorries of the road by conveying the spoil taken to minimise the project’s haulage outputs.
What I love most about work like this is the extensive planning – you’re able to get in at the very early stages and ensure the client is receiving the most efficient and safe service possible. When you’re involved from day one, it’s even more satisfying when the lift is executed exactly as you planned. As an example, I’m currently working on a job for StageCo that involves looking at how we can lift the stages into place for concerts at Wembley and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – our planning now will play a role in those events be spectacles that will entertain so many people.
I’m in a really good place right now – playing a role in the delivery of some wonderful projects while also being there for my family. I definitely made the right decision to come back to Ainscough.