Severn questions with Ian Quarton at Severn Trent services

Suffolk-based Ian Quarton has been working at Severn Trent Services since 2019. He started as a jet vac driver and has since progressed to become a mechanical engineer.

In this interview, he speaks about his passion for continuous learning, his unwavering determination to fix things, and his pride in working in the water industry.

1. Tell us about your job.

I fix mechanical faults in water and wastewater assets. My work comes from colleagues in the customer planning team or technicians in the field. I’m usually based in East England, but I get to travel across the country if my expertise is required.

I’m lucky in that I love my job because it’s all about troubleshooting and solving problems. My teammates will probably tell you I’m very persistent and won’t stop until I find the solution. I’m like a dog with a bone!

2. Can you share an example of a recent asset you’ve fixed?

One of my field colleagues reported a problem with a fire booster on a UK government ministerial department site where we manage the private water network.

A fire booster is a crucial asset that increases water pressure and flow in case of a fire, so we needed to act promptly.

I discovered a pressure relief valve (PRV) fault, sourced and purchased new parts, replaced the surrounding pipework, and managed a subcontractor who assembled the scaffolding. The fire booster was swiftly put back into perfect working condition. That’s a fairly typical example of what my job entails.

3. Have you always been into fixing things?

Yes. Outside of work, I’ve always loved fixing cars. I used to take old engines apart and rebuild them. In terms of driving, though, my favourite is a Volkswagen Golf GTI—Mk2.

You’ll be interested to hear that my wife has just assigned me my next home project: fixing the pergola so it has a lovely roof in time for the summer!

4. Are you also studying for a qualification?

Yes. Severn Trent Services is funding an NVQ Level 3 mechanical engineering qualification, equivalent to two A-levels.

I’ve been working towards my NVQ for a year and a half now. It involves me pulling together reports that showcase my approach to work, the safety measures I’ve taken, the tools and equipment I’ve used, and my recommendations for maintaining assets in the future.

I’ve done nine reports so far. An assessor regularly evaluates me, and I’m eagerly waiting to know if I’ve passed.

5. What feedback have you had so far from your assessor?

Paul Dunn, my NVQ assessor, said:

"Ian is well on the way to achieving his Mechanical Engineering NVQ Level 3. He has been putting his portfolio together and producing the evidence required to meet the criteria of the NVQ units.

“The portfolio demonstrates his competency in carrying out various maintenance tasks on various assets at Severn Trent Services. It also demonstrates Ian’s technical understanding of maintenance techniques and that he works safely, complying with general health and safety guidelines and Severn Trent Services procedures.

“The process is also supported by colleagues at Severn Trent Services, who provide witness statements to endorse that Ian's work has been completed to a good standard.”

6. Why did you want to do the NVQ?

I’m not the type of person to stand still. I like learning new things, getting out and about, and doing the stuff behind the scenes that makes a difference.

Studying for the NVQ is helping me gain even more practical skills, giving me an industry-recognised qualification, and will provide me with even more opportunities in Severn Trent Services and the water industry.

7. How have you found working in the water sector?

I wouldn’t work elsewhere. I can talk to my teammates about anything; they’re always there to help, and we solve problems together.

The water industry is getting bad press, but I don’t know anyone at work who isn’t passionate about what we do and doing all we can to make a positive difference.

Severn Trent Services offers nationwide water and wastewater asset management services for private networks. For more information, please visit