Michael Preece: Mechanical engineer, Newcastle
“We are really pushing the boundaries of sustainability.”
After ten years in the rail industry, Michael Preece wanted an engineering job which would keep him closer to home. A recruitment agency suggested ForFarmers, so he decided to give it a go for six months. That was four years ago, and he’s never been happier. Michael relishes the family-like atmosphere at ForFarmers, and he takes the responsibility of working for a sustainable future very seriously.
Why is working for a sustainable future so important to you?
I have two children and I want to leave the world a better place than it was when I came along. Taking care of the environment by becoming more sustainable is everybody’s responsibility. It’s in the news all the time and at the forefront of everyone’s mind. I wouldn’t want to work for a company that hadn’t genuinely taken that on. ForFarmers is really pushing the boundaries of sustainability. At ForFarmers sustainability is an ethos that extends to every division locally and internationally.
How does striving for sustainability work in practice?
My team is responsible for plant reliability. On a very basic level this means making sure the mill can continue to produce feed efficiently tomorrow, next week and next month. But at ForFarmers we take this much further by looking far into the future. We are always looking at the next solution and for new ways to be more energy efficient. We need a lot of energy in our operations so we can’t just switch to solar or wind energy overnight. Finding solutions to this challenge isn’t easy, but it is very satisfying. Of course, we’re in business to make money, but we don’t just go for quick wins. Instead we invest serious money to ensure our long-term success.
The people that I work with to be honest. We’ve got such good relationships. It feels like helping your friends out. It can be really small things like changing shifts if somebody needs some time for personal matters or when someone is ill. We always try to help each other. I also really appreciate the personal approach from senior management and all the opportunities I’ve had. We’ve got such a close team, it’s like a small family. I’ve never experienced a job like this.
How do you want to feed your career going forward?
I want to play my part in ensuring that ForFarmers remains a key player in the international feed business. It’s one thing getting to the top, we must keep progressing and striving for sustainability to stay there. On a personal level, I’d like to go into management someday but that’s a long-term plan. In the shorter term I want to improve my skills. My managers help me with that by mentoring me every day and provide opportunity to attend training courses. I’ve already had so many chances to develop myself as a person and an engineer; I know it’s just the beginning. ForFarmers treats its staff the same way it treats the planet: sustainably.