An Interview with Angie Brand
Following Angie Brand's success at the Apprenticehsip awards earlier this year, we felt the need to celebrate her achievements even further with an interview about her time here at Daikin Applied (UK)...
Angie Brand, after sales manager at Daikin Applied (UK), is an example of someone who had not considered engineering – and definitely not building services. In fact, she had her heart set on a career in forensic science. However, an opportunity opened up through the now defunct government funded Youth Training Scheme (YTS) and she never looked back.
She is someone who has always recognised the value of training and, having first entered the industry in 1987 with the refrigeration and air conditioning wholesaler HRP, she is still looking to improve herself today – and was recently named North East Apprentice of the Year for 2019. Proving that an apprenticeship can be a benefit at any stage of a career.
Angie found the industry interesting from the start and set about understanding the products and getting to grips with the technical language. This was an important early step as it helped her gain the respect of the engineers she worked with.
“I knew nothing of the industry at the beginning, but I was eager to learn so I attended local technical meetings, which were often held in the evenings,” she says. “I also went along to as many supplier training days too so I could learn more – and the more I understood the more confidence I gained.”
She moved to the multinational refrigeration and air conditioning manufacturer Daikin in 2005 as a warranty coordinator at its Cramlington factory in Northumberland. In 2015 the company, recognising her talent for self-improvement, sponsored Angie through BTEC Diplomas in Customer Service Level 3 and Team Leadership Level 2.
Having successfully completed these, and showing a desire for further development, the company agreed for Angie to progress to the BTEC Diploma in Management Level 3, which she completed with ease.
However, still not satisfied, she challenged herself further and is currently working towards a BTEC Diploma in Management and Leadership L5, which is also going well. On top of all that (and managing to work full time), Angie has also completed training courses in manager & supervisor development; performance appraisals; coaching and mentoring and IOSH risk management.
“She has made a real and lasting impact on the company and is a passionate believer in improving herself and others,” said Daikin Applied’s product development manager James Henley. “These skills include working with new staff and customers to help them understand the company and its goals, as well as helping to train staff – helping others gain from self-improvement too.
“Her contribution has been invaluable and has demonstrated real innovation and creativity. It has also shown what is possible if you have real drive and enthusiasm for the job.”
She has also taken a wider interest in the industry and was Northern Secretary of the Institute of Refrigeration for 10 years, which involved organising technical seminars and charity events. So what is it that motivates a woman like Angie?
“Every day is different,” she says. “I love getting involved with clients and understanding their requirements. It is a very rewarding feeling if you can meet their aspirations, which I like to think we usually do…I hate letting people down.”
She believes the opportunities for women are on the up in the building services sector and it is important to promote the pivotal role of air conditioning and ventilation technology.
“I feel really privileged to be part of an industry that touches our everyday lives in such an important way,” says Angie. “The number of woman coming into the industry is definitely on the increase and, while it can be challenging as well as rewarding, we are witnessing a change in attitudes towards women along with the changes in our industry. Women are becoming more integral to the solutions and our views are being listened to.”
She also believes the sector is getting better at making women feel wanted and comfortable – and the various industry bodies are making a real effort to promote the industry to women.
“It might seem daunting to people on the outside, but there a real opportunities here for women – young and old. It makes very little sense that our industry has such poor gender diversity – there are so many ideal roles for women in building engineering. Employers have been missing out on a huge pool of talent, but it is really good to see that changing.”