In each edition of our newsletter, we’ll meet a member of staff from an ETB to learn about their role, and the person behind the title.

Here we chat to former soldier and combat emergency technician John Wall who is now a Caretaker in Cavan & Monaghan ETB. We find out about his deep connection to the campus, which he calls his ‘home from home’ as well as importance of having good friends at work.

What does your typical day looks like?

The best thing about my job is that there is no such thing as a typical day! I am employed as the Caretaker in the CMETB FET Campus in Cavan. My day starts at 8am when I open the campus gates (normally I arrive at the campus at 07:50am as I was always taught in my previous job to always turn up 10 minutes early!). We have 4 buildings in use in our campus which was formerly an Army barracks. All these buildings have to be opened prior to the arrival of learners and staff so as you can imagine it is a rush in the mornings. I normally drive around the campus doing this as it cuts down on time. After opening all the buildings and disabling the alarms, I do a walk-through of each building checking that heating is on in rooms being used, all doors unlocked and all entrances are free from any obstructions. Once I am satisfied all is in order with one building, I then move onto the next until all checks are complete. Some think that the role of a Caretaker is opening and closing doors or buildings as required, my own thought was the same before I took on this role! But I’m a mixture of security, stock controller, energy manager, cleaner, landscape gardener and maintenance engineer as well as ensuring that there’s heat, light, stationery and not to forget the essential tea and coffee to keep everyone happy!

What I did before this job/ background.  

I joined the Army in 1994 and after my initial training (16 weeks) I was transferred to Dun ui Neill Military barracks (now known as the FET Campus in Cavan) to complete the next 12 weeks of training. I was stationed in Dun ui Neill barracks for 18 years and completed 6 tours of duty overseas (4 in Lebanon and 2 in Kosovo. Each tour was 6 months long) up to its closure in March 2012. I then transferred to St Bricin’s Military Hospital in Dublin. During my time there I became a Combat Emergency Technician (Emergency Medical Technician with a Combat element added to it) and Medical Instructor having attended training in University College Cork while also obtaining my level 7 diploma in Military Medical Care.

“I am very lucky to be surrounded by great people ranging from the manager to all the admin staff, tutors and right through to the support staff.

Why I like my job.

I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have my job and to be based where I am. The first time I set foot in this Campus was when it opened in 1990 as an Army Barracks. My Dad was a serving soldier here and used to regularly take myself and my brother (who joined the army the same day as me) in here when it was a barracks. After my Dad retired from the Army, he took on the role of caretaker in Cavan College of Further Studies (now Cavan Institute) and then Caretaker in the VEC office in Cavan (now CMETB admin office). It’s as though I’m following in his footsteps. The campus holds so many memories close to my heart. It’s like a home from home for me. I love that no 2 days are the same. I also love to help people when they are in difficulty. It gives me a sense of satisfaction and joy knowing that I can help someone out and make a difference. It also helps to love your job when you have colleagues that you can call your friends who work with you. I am very lucky to be surrounded by great people ranging from the manager to all the admin staff, tutors and right through to the support staff. They really make my job a lot easier and a joy to do.

What’s difficult about my job.  

The thing I find most difficult about my job is when you are trying to get a tradesman in for work. It can be very time consuming and you constantly have to chase them. I found this to be difficult coming from an army background as if you are told to get something done in the army, it’s done straight away without any chasing or checking up.

Best day ever on campus.

It was the day I started working here as a Caretaker. It was like a dream come true getting back to my home from home.

Most difficult day on campus.

Any trouble/challenging situations I get involved in within the campus always arise through traffic incidents (parking, speeding etc.).

My hopes for the future.

To continue my role and have a long and happy career.  

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