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Meet our team – Tahnee O’Donnell

3rd July 2019

Meet the Simian team

A bit about your role

Could you please tell us about your past experience in the scaffolding industry?

Before I joined Simian I worked for CITB for the last 8 years running the Scaffolding Apprenticeship scheme at National Construction College, I managed a caseload of roughly 160 Scaffolders at one time, My husband and father in law are also Scaffolders and they have taught me how to scaffold a little myself. I think I was just destined to be involved in the Scaffolding Industry.

Can you describe a typical day at Simian Risk?

Each day is completely different at the moment. I am currently organising a recruitment day for a large Scaffold employer at the college. Other days I am completing and signing up Apprentices on the forthcoming Apprenticeship courses. I am also spending days visiting my contacts at various employers informing them of services that Simian can offer and reserving places for their apprentices on future courses.

Is there one aspect of your work in particular that you most enjoy?

There are a lot of parts of my job that I enjoy, I really enjoy popping into my employers for a cup of tea and a catch up on the latest Industry news, it also gives me a chance to sell another apprenticeship or course. I also find it really rewarding seeing how far the apprentices have come by the time they finish their apprenticeship and how their self-confidence and knowledge has grown. I feel like a proud mum.

What advice would you give those considering a career in the scaffolding industry?

I would definitely stress the point that they should be going into the industry because they want to and not because they are pressured to by somebody else. They need to make sure they are happy joining the industry and knows the hard work and dedication it will take to become qualified. I would also advise them if they work hard it is a very rewarding industry to be involved in with endless opportunities to progress in to and many different paths they can take once qualified.

In your opinion, what is the most important piece of guidance you give trainee scaffolders?

I would advise them to have the confidence to say no and not to undertake a task if they do not think it is safe. Trust their intuition and work safely at all times.

Before working at Simian, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

I’ve not really had any unusual jobs but have found myself in really bizarre situations in all of them. From working at a bar and being offered £500 to marry my boss’ brother for a visa to working in another restaurant where my manager was diabetic and would enjoy eating a whole chocolate cake and coke until he passed out behind the waiting station. (All unfortunately true and no I didn’t accept the marriage proposal)

A bit about you

Aside from scaffolding, what would be your dream job?

I would love to be an Intelligence Officer for Counter Terrorism or Human Trafficking. Really bizarre I know, I would also love to be an events organiser/wedding planner.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Bora Bora and the Northern Lights are my remaining Bucket List destinations, if I get to visit these I will die a happy lady.

Favourite film?

It has to Cruel Intentions, a cult classic in my opinion. Also the Addams Family when I want to relive my childhood

Favourite food?

Indian Food and Fillet Steak. I could literally eat Curry every night of the week and Fillet Steak with Peppercorn sauce every weekend.

Have you ever had your 15 mins of fame?

I was a ballerina and dancer when I was younger, I was on the verge of going professional but it got in the way of being a teenager so I regrettably gave it up. I have danced in CATS in the London West End and have danced for the queen on a few occasions.