Meet the Jacques family – working to keep Surrey's roads safe for 33 years
Our Highways teams work 365 days a year to keep Surrey's roads safe and moving, but one family in particular has gone the extra mile to do so. Meet the Jacques family - Robbie, 23, Aaron, 26 and Andy, their dad - have worked for Surrey Highways for a total of 33 years between them.
We caught up with The Jacques' to find out a bit more about what their day looks like and find out about some of the people behind the services we rely on.
What jobs do you do?
Aaron: "Robbie and I are skilled operatives. We divide our time between working on crews doing emergency response and other routine and reactive jobs. It could be filling potholes, resurfacing parts of the road, replacing barriers and signs – it's all about keeping the public safe. Recently I've been learning how to rebuild gullies (drains) which involves brickwork skills. Good gullies mean less flooding – it's really important."
Andy: "As a supervisor, I divide my time between the office and site, unlike the lads, who are mostly out on site. I manage minor planned works – smaller projects for county councillors and parish councils such as new footpaths, drainage investigation and repairs, dropped kerbs."
What do you like about the job?
Robbie: "It's different every day - one day I'm rebuilding a manhole cover, next day I'll be clearing up after an accident, or doing new kerbing and paving. You never know what will come up!"
Aaron: "I love being outside! You get a lot of job satisfaction as well, seeing all the water whoosh away after I cleared a flood in Haslemere recently. The public loved being able to move about again – lots of happy faces."
Andy: "I like anticipating problems at the design stage. Recently we were addressing flooding problems in Woking by putting in extra gullies (drains). But those new gullies were draining into a ditch which I discovered was blocked ¼ mile away. So, whatever we did at the top end would still back up and flood. I worked with the Surrey County Council engineers to make sure we looked at the wider picture."
What does a typical day look like for you?
Aaron: "I wake up at 5am and get to work at 6.45am. I always grab a hot chocolate then! We get our jobs from our supervisor, then we load up the lorry with whatever we need and go to site. When we're done, we head back to the depot to unpack, get changed and debrief my supervisor. At 3.30pm I'm back on the road home, unless I'm on emergency response in which case as soon as the phone rings I'm back in the van coming up the A3 again!"
Andy: "I'm straight on to emails when I get in at 6.45am, and I'll check the work coming up on that day, and what's been done yesterday. I'll also start estimating new jobs and pricing new works. I go to meetings, do site visits, liaise with clients and more emails!"
What's it like working with your own family?
Robbie: "When I'm on A and E out of hours, it's great to be with my brother, I know he's got my back."
Andy: "I get frustrated when I hear about issues they might have which I can't solve for them, but I do try to use my experience to help them."
What about the future?
Andy: "When you work in highways, delivering the winter service is something that matters to the whole team. This year's a big year for us because we're all on the winter rota together - it's the first year the boys have got their HGV licence, their first year of gritting. I'm dead chuffed with them, to see how far they've come – but I probably don't tell them enough!
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