Adnan took an unusual career route - after failing to graduate from university he focused on his practical strengths and was trained as a broadcast engineer in-house at the BBC. This has led to a hugely successful career working with the latest technologies, mingling with the stars and gaining Engineering Technician (EngTech) professional registration.
“I hate the tendency for a lot of people to be labelled as a technician when they haven't actually acquired any particular skills or had special training. That’s why things like EngTech are so important - it allows people to realise that you’re not just someone who’s picked up a job involving a spanner or soldering iron, you have the skills and ability to work in technical teams and develop big projects.”
Adnan is a broadcast engineer for the BBC, based in the renowned Maida Vale Studios, London. A hugely varied role, he gets to mess around with a real mixture of technology; everything from the traditional analogue studio desks through to the IT network.
“Anything in-between is also our responsibility technology-wise,” he explains. “We even get involved in the PA rigs when bands come in, and help sort out people’s equipment. Broadcast engineering’s well, pretty broad.”
He works as part of a team and believes that teamwork is key to their success.
“I work in a very small team and it’s important that we all work together,” he explains. “As a team we have had some really good experiences. More importantly we all have a role to play and that allows us to work well and be flexible so that we can find a solution to most problems.”
There’s a whole host of things Adnan can become involved in when he arrives at work every morning but day to day roles include health and safety, project management and maintenance.
“There are times when the work can be predictable because of the range of technologies we work with and the kinds of faults you can expect, but you just never know what someone’s going to ask you to look at,” he says. “That’s one of the key things about working in a technical operations department at the BBC - you can literally end up doing anything.
“We’ve had some interesting incidents in my time,” he continues. “I once got a call to free someone from some handcuffs. One of the actors in a drama studio had got a little carried away and slapped the handcuffs on, not knowing that they didn’t actually have a key. We do get asked to help with all sorts of quirky things.”
Of course, through his work Adnan has also got to meet some of music’s most famous stars. Most of the time he leaves them to it - it’s always best to stay away from diva drama, you see, however he’s experienced some really friendly bands including Kasabian, who just walked into the studios and started having a chat with him.
“They were really interested in what we do here,” he enthuses.
Adnan really enjoys working for the BBC. As well as the variety his role offers, he loves the passion he and his colleagues share.
“[I love] working with lots of other people in the BBC who are dedicated to what the BBC does. Everyone wants to do their best. Because it's a public service we want to provide the best and we really do have the public in mind, thinking what we want to give them - some really good value,” he explains.
A change in career direction. Adnan’s career route hasn’t been very straightforward - originally he had wanted to work in the avionics industry. He’d actually begun a BEng in avionics however he never completed his final year.
“Everything was pretty much going well but then I had a couple of modules which I just didn’t pass,” he explains. “They were more theoretical than practical and unfortunately that was the kink in my armour. I’d originally decided that the university route was for me, but after I didn't graduate I had to look at my options again.”
He then came across an advert from the BBC, which was looking to recruit engineers but would train them in-house. This looked like the perfect route for him as he was able to gain those academic qualifications he wanted alongside practical experience, something he excelled at.
“The training programme was three and a half years and this was based at BBC Wood Norton, where you’d do classroom based training and then go out into placements within the BBC. It was a really intensive course which covered electronics, new media etc so it covered a lot of IT and new technologies that were coming through.
“I completed this, returning to the BBC as an engineer. I’ve always thought that the training was great but I really wanted to have someone recognise my skills and qualifications outside of the company and that’s when the IET and professional registration came into play,” he explains.
For Adnan gaining Engineering Technician (EngTech) professional registration was both a personal and professional achievement.
Professionally he wanted his skills recognised by his industry, but he also felt it would help his career and give him more job security.
“I thought it was important in this economic climate,” he says. “You can never be too sure about your own position/career and I wanted to make sure I was putting myself in the best position. I felt that by becoming professionally registered, if/when I go to other employers they can see I’ve achieved this and have been recognised by both my own company and the wider engineering community. It shows I have standards and take pride in what I do.”
Personally professional registration meant a lot to Adnan too. As he hadn’t completed his degree it was a big deal to achieve EngTech.
“For me [not completing my degree] was quite an embarrassing thing as I’d been studying hard and just didn't make it. I lost confidence and questioned whether I could do the job of an engineer. Getting professionally registered has allowed me to look at what I have achieved so far and given me a lot of that confidence back,” he enthuses. “I do have the skills and someone else has recognised them!”
Adnan is keen to promote the importance of EngTech and technicians in general as he believes that many people aren't aware of the skills they have and the importance of their roles.
“It’s the way some people may look at you,” he says. “Often when you say you’re a technician they might ask if there’s someone around who knows what’s going on. That amazes me as technicians can be highly skilled individuals. I know aircraft technicians at the RAF and these are the guys that keep the planes in the sky and the systems running. At the BBC it’s the technicians that support the production teams and without their knowledge and experience a lot of the productions just wouldn’t happen. ”