Derek Berrisford

Inspector, Rotatives Business

Derek Berrisford

I started as an apprentice in 1968, which was a 4 year rotation. This was not an easy task as it was reliant on skills being learnt in a visual way as there was no interpreter on hand to help me with the theory. Luckily for me, this was the way I learnt best, and eventually I completed my rotation and was placed as a tool maker in the Main Works on Nightingale Road.

I really enjoyed it as a tool maker, as there were a variety of jobs and skills to be learnt and no two days were the same. At that time I was not the only deaf person in the department, as I am now, and people understood. This led to a very memorable time for me about 25 years ago, where the foreman at the time, Brian Gibson, took the time out of hours to learn Sign Language. This enabled him to keep my practice and skills as up to date as the other men in the tool room. Also, and probably more significantly it allowed him to present my 25 year service award as he would to any other man. I was happy and confident working with Brian, as his knowledge of sign language meant that I could go to him with anything.

In 2005 I was transferred to the Rotatives department, in the new factory as the main works was due to close. Here I completed a 4 week course; with interpreter provided, to become an inspector, which is what I do in the present day. Throughout my Career my biggest challenge I have to say is, communication and deaf awareness within Rolls Royce. It has been made much easier since the Equality Act was brought in, but I still do find I have challenges on a day to day basis. This is the case, particularly when there are group talks/training to be had and it is realised at the last minute an interpreter is needed and cannot be provided at that time. This means my training is delayed and I have it at a different time to everybody else.

Still today I am learning new skills in the department where I work, and that is the great thing about Rolls Royce. I am approaching my retirement but my view for the future is, that Rolls Royce will continue to develop and improve their awareness so that more people like me will find it easier to have a great and expanding career that spans for over 46 years.