Hamish standing by the hospital boilers - one of the key items of plant our shift engineers are responsible for maintaining

A sense of purpose and contributing to something bigger than themselves is one of many benefits Shift Engineer, Hamish Kirk, says working on a hospital maintenance contract brings.  

As one of the team on Ventia’s centralAlliance contract in the Manawatū-Whanganui region of New Zealand’s North Island, Hamish enjoys being able to contribute to supporting healthcare in his community.

Hamish completed a fitter-turner apprenticeship when he finished school in Christchurch. Although he knew ultimately he was headed for the Presbyterian Ministry, he wanted to gain some real-world experience first.

“Gaining the trade and having that work experience under my belt was important for me to do before I did my ministry studies,” Hamish says.

While Hamish served as a part-time minister at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Nelson, he also contract engineered at Nelson Hospital and on various ships in the Nelson fishing fleet.  He also served as a Police and Reserve Army Chaplain during this time. 

Upon leaving Nelson to serve full time in the Regular Force as an Army Chaplain, Hamish thought to himself that if he ever got back into an engineering role, he’d like it to be at a hospital.


Keeping calm under pressure

Hamish says the experience he gained in Defence, as well as serving in a Ministry role, has really helped him in his current role as shift engineer.

“One of the things that I learned in the military was how to keep calm under pressure,” he says. “Often when things are going wrong, when equipment is malfunctioning, or you have a larger issue like a weather event, it helps if you can remain the unflustered one in the room and just get on with things.”

Working with plant and equipment is only one part of the role, Hamish notes.

Whilst there are technical skills involved, this kind of role is uniquely and importantly a people-facing job

 “I really enjoy that aspect of it,” Hamish says.


Continuous on-the-job learning

Other skills that are key to success in this role include a willingness to commit to continuous learning and the ability to problem solve.

“You never know what a day’s shift will bring,” Hamish says. “You could be dealing with leaking pipes, to medical gas alarms going off, to cutting off a metal washer off the finger of a three-year-old.”

That last example happened recently and required both the technical skill needed in safely removing the metal washer from a squirming toddler’s finger to the people skills involved in keeping that toddler, and his dad, calm and reassured throughout. 

Hamish says the continuous learning element often happens via learnings shared by colleagues.  

Everyone is very helpful and shares what they know, which is how we all learn. Much of what we all know has been passed from one person to the next

With so many systems to learn, Hamish says the ability to problem solve comes in handy, so you can get it to a point where you know which expert you need to call in to fix the issue.

“Having a good relationship with tradespeople is important,” Hamish says. “In our roles we can’t know everything, but we need to know that when we hand it over to them, they will get the problem sorted.” 


Working for a company that cares.

Given his ministry background, it may not surprise you to know that Hamish is a very values-driven individual.

“When I first joined Ventia and read through all the onboarding materials, I remember being impressed with the values that Ventia espouse. I really appreciate working for an organisation that lives its values,” he says.

If you’re interested in working in a facilities management role, for a company with strong values, including collaboration, integrity, challenge and ingenuity, check out our vacancies on our careers page