Focus On: Amat Sonko

Amat’s been at Grand Union as an Electrician since July 2020. He’s part of an expansion of our Internal Repairs Team (IRT) which brought all responsive repairs across the Central Bedfordshire area in house. This shift has helped us connect with our customers – putting them at the heart of everything we do.

In his busy day job, Amat drives one of our brand-new vans – which you may have seen out and about, and helps him to thrive in his role.

Reflecting on his first year at Grand Union, he’s proud to have put a smile on our customers’ faces and helped to ensure their safety at home.

Finding a home in housing

Amat said: “I qualified as an electrician, gaining level 2 and 3 qualifications, from Dunstable college in 2009. After this, I achieved a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) via an online course, while working in my first full-time role.

Since qualifying, I’ve worked for several housing associations, corporate service providers and had a stint at being self-employed. Now, I’ve definitely found a home in housing!

At Grand Union, where I’ve been working for almost a year, everyone is very helpful and always at the end of the phone to answer any questions. I’ve really felt my confidence increase while being here.

One thing I enjoy at Grand Union is the training opportunities – we’re constantly learning and kept up to date. I recently attended a course about smoke alarm safety, which was really valuable, especially as, when visiting customers’ properties, I often give them advice about smoke detector maintenance and preventing fire.

The great thing about training is I can come into the office and connect with my colleagues – we’re always out on the road, so we rarely get a chance to properly catch up.”

Amat’s typical day

“As a member of the Internal Repairs team (IRT) team at Grand Union, every day is different. There are eight electricians in our team, working across our operating region. We’re a responsive team, so liaise with our Customer Contact team to respond to incoming calls, and colleagues in Compliance Safety Services, who conduct tests and inspections.

As Grand Union houses more than 27,000 people, we deal with all sorts of requests and repairs. From broken light switches, faulty smoke alarms and problems with electric showers, there’s lots of areas we’re involved in.

Sometimes we come across dangerous situations, such as damaged sockets, loose cables or faulty fuse boxes. If we can’t fix these straight away, we make the environment safe, determine what we need to do the repair, before emailing our materials team to order supplies. Once we have the necessary parts, we return to finish the job. We never leave a home without ensuring the property is safe.”

A role that spreads happiness

“Through my role, I have a big impact on individuals’ lives, especially if a fault has been causing them distress. I take pride in making homes safe; I recently repaired a smoke alarm which was hanging dangerously from its wire, where someone had tried to mend it themselves. I fixed the alarm and gave them some handy safety tips. They assured me that, going forward, they would always ring Grand Union when in need of a repair, instead of taking to DIY!

People are really pleased when I mend their appliances. Seeing them so happy makes me smile and brings me great job satisfaction… I’m told I’m a very positive individual, perhaps this is why!

I’m fortunate to use a brand-new Grand Union van in my job. It’s the dream! It’s equipped with electricity, so I can charge my tools on the go and even wash my hands in warm water – this has come very much in handy during the coronavirus pandemic.”