From solicitor to utility locator: a unique path to a more satisfying career

After five career changes that started as a solicitor and ended with being a school teacher, Aidan Waszaj, South East Scanning, finally decided to ditch the whole nine-to-five routine and become a utility locator.

“Becoming a locator meant doing something very different that’s far more interesting and engaging. It meant no more nine-to-five days. Instead, now I get to drive all over Queensland, visit interesting locating sites, specialise in a very interesting field, and work with a range of great clients,” said Aidan.

It’s also a job that can take him across the border – A LOT!

“That’s right. One day I crossed the border between NSW and QLD about 20 times. That’s because I was doing a locate at the Captain Cook Monument in Tweed Heads – which sits on the state border,” said Aidan.

Hopefully that job didn’t happen during daylight savings – could have been a very long day too!

Aidan says one of the highlights of locating is the freedom to work outdoors. Although that also has its moments.

“One day I was opening a Telstra footway access chamber, and I uncovered a large nest of huntsman spiders. I wasn’t happy to see them, and they certainly weren’t too happy to see me,” recalls Aidan.

While an uncomfortable experience, Aidan says for him feeling safe in a work environment is about following best practice and taking the necessary steps to minimise risk.

“As a small business owner, doing all we can to make our worksites safe also means workers are happy, productivity is boosted, and harm is averted,” said Aidan.

Aidan Waszaj, South East Scanning, QLD

Starting up his own business on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast was one of the reasons Aidan looked to become a Certified Locator sooner.

“Getting certified meant I can build my own business on my own terms – with support from other experienced locators in Queensland and across the country as well as the team at DBYD Certification,” said Aidan.

For Aidan the most challenging part of the certification process was ensuring he could meet the demands of the practical assessment – combining a sound understanding of locating theory with practical knowledge – and understanding how to problem-solve to achieve a particular outcome.

With his business now up and running, Aidan advises anyone looking to get into locating, or get certified, to get as much experience as possible.

“Find an experienced locator and learn from them. Ask as many questions as you can, take notes, and learn to problem solve. Learn to change your approach to achieve the highest quality locate. Watch for the little tricks and techniques that experienced locators employ.

“For example, attach a string or line to your magnet for a direct connect if it is out of reach, or down a valve pit, rather than simply clipping on with your alligator clips. It makes it a lot easier to pull it out or recover it when you have finished locating. Since using this little trick, I haven’t needed to buy a new magnet,” shares Aidan.

Congratulations Aidan on becoming a Certified Locator. With as little as 860 Certified Locators across Australia, you’re now part of a unique group recognised for applying a high-level of locating skills and knowledge to help protect Australia’s utility network from damage and contribute to a safer workplace.

Find out more about becoming a Certified Locator here.

To contact a Certified Locator for your next project search here.

Connect with Aidan on LinkedIn.

Connect with South East Scanning on LinkedIn.

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