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Wesley Tapalu - Building Services Engineer

How long have you worked at the Met Office?

I’ve been working at the Met Office for 7 months now.

What attracted you to the Met Office?

After studying Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at University, I went on to begin a career in Logistics. I spent nine years working with the RAF, but always knew I wanted to work in engineering. I joined the MOD as an Engineering Technician, but decided to transfer to the Met Office soon after. I actually saw an advert on the Civil Service website for a Building Services Engineer, and I jumped at the opportunity because it sounded really interesting. The role required somebody with transferrable skills and qualities, which sounded ideal for my experience.

What is your position?

I’m a Building Services Engineer working within the Property Management team; overseeing scheduled repairs and maintaining the mechanical and electrical equipment at both our Exeter headquarters and our regional sites across the UK. The work is hugely varied and the tasks I cover include everything from looking after the electrical generators that power our supercomputer, to ensuring that the design and maintenance of the building system meets legislative as well as health and safety requirements. It is also my responsibility to closely monitor the plant rooms where the entire IT infrastructure has to be kept at a very particular temperature to ensure it runs efficiently. It’s crucial that the air conditioning is working perfectly at all sites.

What is a typical day?

Because of the nature of my role and the locations I cover, my days tend to vary. I start off by sitting down at my desk and looking to see what routine maintenance checks are coming through and the repairs I have scheduled for the day. Our regional centres and RAF sites are based all over the country with some as far as Scotland so I’m not always tied to my desk. When I have nothing scheduled to maintain or check, I’ll spend time working on electrical systems here in our headquarters. Where necessary, I work with external contractors and manage their input on certain projects and repairs.

Best thing about working for the Met Office?

I’ve always been fascinated by engineering as it’s all about the end product and making sure it’s just right – whether it needs building, servicing, maintainingorcompleting. And the Met Office gives me the opportunity to work on such an incredible range of equipment. It’s challenging, diverse and constantly satisfying. I’ve also always wanted to travel so I get the best of both worlds here!