With 51 years as an electrician under his tool belt, Falkirk Council’s current longest serving employee said farewell to friends and colleagues at a surprise presentation on Friday, 27 September.
Having started as an apprentice with Stirling County Council in 1968, Ian McKean has seen not one but two changes in local government – initially transferring to Falkirk District Council in 1975 before moving to Falkirk Council in 1996.
Initially based at the old Westquarter depot, Ian moved to Inchyra depot in 1976 for four years. He then worked across other council locations before returning to Inchyra three years ago “it seems fitting to finish up here”.
Recalling the early years of his working life, he said: “I was an apprentice for five years and attended Falkirk College of Technology on a day release basis. Pay day was Friday lunchtime, the highlight of the week! We queued outside Polmont British Legion to receive our pay packets – the grand sum of £3 one shilling and eight pence.
“There weren’t many Council vans in the early days so all tradesmen travelled on bikes, which was tricky when carrying tools and parts to jobs. There were obviously no computers or mobile phones either, everything was paper based and jobs could take days and weeks to complete.”
Ian has worked with and trained many apprentices over the years and is fondly known as Jurassic Spark. “Youngsters coming in to the trade now will never know the dangers of fuse wire; it’s all circuit breakers and trip switches now.”
One of the highlights of his career was in 2007 when he and three other colleagues, being the eldest tradesmen within our Building & Maintenance Division, were invited to the Queen’s Garden Party at Holyrood Palace.
Over the years he’s seen many colleagues leave to work for themselves but self-employment has never tempted him.
“I always felt I had a better deal with the Council. I was happy with pay, holidays and having a steady job. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my work. I’ve loved the camaraderie and working with different trades – every day was something new. I’ve also enjoyed seeing the advances in technology and the introduction of mobile working as it saves time and money and means work is carried out when it suits the customer.”
Living in the Bantaskine area, Ian’s plan for retirement is simple – to continue to enjoy life. “I enjoy walking and the football – I support Rangers and Falkirk Football Clubs - and I love short breaks away.”
By his own admission, he’s also a dab hand around the house, especially drying dishes, so we’re pretty sure his wife, May, will have a few jobs lined up for him too!
Pictured: Ian (front row centre) with friends and colleagues in the Building Maintenance Division at his surprise presentation.