How did you become a…Facilities Manager?

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gav 1
Gavin Pettigrew is our Facilities Manager and helps us install our exhibitions as well as maintain our site.

My early years were spent at Belmont House School in Newton Mearns. My main interests were Art, Geography and any type of sport. I have always had a creative side and enjoyed making things. Fairly young I started getting an interest in buildings and design and, when I was 16, I spent some time through career development at school in an Architects firm. This experience made me apply to study Architecture at University. In 2002 I moved to Dundee to start a degree in Architecture at The University of Dundee.

In 2005 I achieved a BSc in Architecture, I then I went on to receive a BA honors of Architecture in 2007 and I graduated in 2008 with a Masters of Architecture. In 2007 I was a nominee for the Urban Design Award, Six Awards, Lighthouse and had my work exhibited in the Lighthouse in Glasgow. In 2008 I was a nominee for the Shanghai Biennale, International Student’s Exhibition and again had my work exhibited in Shanghai.

As part of an Architecture degree you have to take a year out after your BSc (year 3) and find a work placement. I got a job with Parr Architects in Glasgow. This taught me about the real world of Architecture and equipped me with a greater knowledge and understanding of the industry. After I graduated in 2008 I got a job as a part 2 Architect with Zone Architects in Edinburgh. Unfortunately my graduation was badly timed and my exit from University landed me in the middle of a recession, a recession that would badly hit the building industry, and in 2009 I was made redundant. I found myself living back home with my parents who had recently just moved to Ayrshire. Not knowing what to do with myself I applied for a job as a Museum Technician at The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, part of the National Trust for Scotland. The job had many things that appealed to me especially the practical side of things and there were also some overlaps between the Technicians job and Architecture.

I worked as a Museum Technician for 2 years and then the post of Facilities Manager came up at the Museum which I was successful in getting.

gav 2My job is to manage the facilities at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum to a high standard of operation and safety; to oversee the management of tenanted properties in the Burns Group; to install and maintain museum displays and to ensure that facilities across the wider Burns Group are maintained to excellent standards of presentation, safety and collections conservation and security. I am responsible for the annual property maintenance budget. I line manage 5 members of staff, 4 Museum Domestic Assistants and a Health and Safety Coordinator. I project manage the work of external suppliers and supervise teams of NTS staff and volunteers on the installation of exhibitions and other projects. My work as a Facilities Manager always keeps me busy across many different fields. It is a job I enjoy and a job I feel is a vital part to what the National Trust for Scotland is all about; the promotion and conservation of Scotland’s heritage.


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