Tornadoes and Apprentices - Projects is Born | The Morson Story - Part Four

Part Four (2)
James Kenealey

by James Kenealey on

Morson Group has been celebrating 50 years in business in 2019. As part of our celebrations, we’ve created a book about the business; its foundations, its growth and its people. 

Over the next six weeks, we’re going to be releasing excerpts from the book, charting the Morson story from its earliest days to the present day.

Morson Projects

Among the most significant developments of this era was the creation of a full in-house design consultancy division under the J. Morson & Co banner. The addition of this division to the existing recruitment side of the business also saw Gerry create an apprentice programme to provide a stream of new in-house talent.

Morson Projects would provide design services to some of the biggest projects in the country in that era, including the Tornado and latterly the Eurofighter Typhoon.

In 1980, Gerry was advertising for jig and tool designers to work on the Tornado fighter aircraft programme for BAE Systems and in February of that year he hired his very first apprentice. That apprentice, a 19-year-old Steve Seddon, rose through the company to his current position of Group Client Services Director.

“At the time, a significant number of potential clients were prevented from taking on contractors because of trade union opposition. So, Gerry recruited contractors himself and set them up as a team. Clients were then able to come to us and buy our project skills as a service”, Steve recalls.

Steve’s first role included three regular tasks. One was to make the brews, in true apprenticeship tradition. The second was to learn to write in the very clear draughtsman’s style. Don’t forget, this was in an era before computers, meaning every drawing was done by hand using pencil or fine ink pen. Clarity of the lettering on those drawings was vital for

the engineers who would later translate them into precision components.

Steve’s third duty was something he remembers with mixed feelings. “I’d take the finished drawings and walk through Eccles precinct with them, along Church Street to Clarendon Road. In the basement there was an A0 machine and I would print out the drawings on translucent film. The prints would go through ammonia dip and come out damp and stinking of the chemical. I spent so many hours doing that job.”

What was the most important thing Steve learned during his early days with Morson? “Working with a team of such competent design engineers was great,” he says. “The atmosphere encouraged people to be like sponges and learn as much as possible and that’s what I did.”

Some large prospects needed persuading the new office had sufficient capability. “To land our first big aerospace client, Gerry went out and got lots of extra drawing boards,” remembers Steve. “Then he went to The Oddfellows Arms and recruited ‘rent-a-crowd’ to put heads on boards when the client visited to check us out.” “Dad won the business,” says Ged Mason, “even though a visitor had spotted one of the ‘draughtsmen’ with a drawing upside down on his board!” Ged also echoes the long-standing Morson belief in the value of apprentices.

“It’s continuing the legacy of my father. It’s our ethos and commitment to finding our bloodline for the future.” – Ged Mason on apprenticeships

During his time with Morson Projects, as the consultancy division later became known, Steve was responsible for hiring lots of apprentices many of whom are still working within the Group today. One of these was Andy Hassall, son of employee #1 Pauline.


Last of the bacon butty smugglers

Not long into this holiday role, Andy was offered an apprenticeship by Morson Projects as an alternative to full-time college and he accepted the same day. He was allowed day release for a part-time ONC in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and, unlike his previous full-time course, this one was reassuringly full. “I wasn’t allowed to draw anything at the beginning” remembers Andy. “My main duties were to make tea, go out for the team’s lunch order and practice my printing.” This consisted of hand lettering numbers and ‘the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’ — a sentence containing all the letters of the alphabet. “I did this over and over again for three months,” says Andy. “It felt like a test to see if you were still interested in the job!”

Unlike today, weekend overtime was a firm part of Morson Projects culture in the 1980s. “During busy periods our ideal was 7:30 to 12:30 on Saturday morning, so you’d be away in time for the football,” remembers Andy. “Sundays were even more prized because it was double time.”

If they’d had a few beers the night before, those starting Saturday overtime usually craved a bacon sandwich at their drawing boards, even though it wasn’t allowed. It was at this time the team was working in a recently-built annexe attached to the Clarendon Road building. “I’d come back from the shop with a box of butties and someone would drop a line down from the window to hoist it up,” Andy remembers.

Despite his rule-breaking, Andy did well and by the age of 21 he was a draughtsman leading the mechanical and piping teams. “It sounds young,” he says, “but then I had been in that working environment since I was 16.”

The variety of work, from truck gearboxes to labelling machines to nuclear installations, kept Andy happy, as did the great working atmosphere where people always felt valued. “You worked alongside experienced people who mentored you,” says Andy. “People were taught the ropes on live projects. And Gerry Mason would always come into our office on a Friday without fail. He’d go around every single person showing genuine interest in what they were doing.”

Part five coming soon...

Watch our video'No Finish Line: The Story So Far' and hear the Morson story as told by those who have been part of it

Cx Jobs

Integrated Support Engineers (AW101/159/LYNX Bulletins)

A leading Aerospace and Defence client based in Yeovil Somerset are recruiting for several Technical Authors/ Intregrated support/ILS/Service Bulletin engineers. Backgrounds from AW101/159/LYNX would we welcomed, ideally with some level of experience of technical publications.The primary role of the Integrated Support Engineer Airworthiness/Bulletins is to support the Principal Engineer Airworthiness and Service Bulletins Co-ordinator in the effective delivery of airworthiness documentation across the business spectrum from our supply base to end customer to ensure corrective actions are controlled and instigated, resulting in formal company airworthiness documentation is issued to ensure LHD in service aircraft fleet is maintained in an airworthy manner .Ensure the work is performed in accordance with departmental procedures DPR.CSU.15.12 KEY JOB ACCOUNTABILITIES%ofTimeEmployees· You are responsible for ensuring that activities under your control are undertaken in accordance with the requirements set out in the AWL SHE Policy, Health & Safety Operating manual, Health, Safety & Environment Management System Manual (HSE MSM). These documents identify your key responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Environmental Protection Act and other relevant HS&E legislation.·Specific responsibilities for Employees are detailed within HSE MSM Section 8.7 - Employees Main Activities· Produce Technical Instructions as a consequence of airworthiness data from all areas of the business to manage the correct mitigating actions are controlled to ensure the customer base is informed in a timely manner of all airworthiness information and required corrective actions as appropriate.· Maintain and as required liaise with all stakeholders to successfully close the issuing of aircraft inspections or modification instructions to reduce the cost of ownership of the aircraft, and control the implementation of product enhancements.· Manage your individual activities, its dependencies to ensure completion of the related tasks against priorities from an airworthiness perspective and aircraft delivery, to ensure the LMW fleet is delivered and maintained in an airworthy manner.· Provide and maintain complete workload status reports to ensure performance metrics can be produced.· Support the business with the expert technical process knowledge for the delivery of the correct airworthiness technical information in a timely manner to limit the amount of business exposure. Thus reducing the overall operating costs of the business by ensuring a cost effective solution is promulgated to the customer base, whilst maintaining fleet availability.·Ensure the associated Technical Instructions are developed in accordance with all relevant departmental procedures and company operating system, and ensure any recommendations for continued improvement are highlighted to the management team.· You are responsible for taking reasonable care of your own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by your acts or omissions at work and to co-operate with managers, supervisors and others to enable the company to meet its statutory obligations for health, safety and environment. 10% 90% ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS & EXPERIENCEEducated to at least HNC level in a relevant aviation related subject. Alternatively, to have completed a recognized engineering apprenticeship followed by a period of employment in all aspects of aircraft maintenance and overhaul, sufficient to gain the necessary practical experience for the job roleAircraft engineering and/or aircraft Technical Publications experience.Knowledge of Air Publication specifications e.g. ASD Spec 1000D, MilSpec1388 LSAR, DADS, DAvP 70/77, ATA02/90, ATA100, etc. An understanding of Airworthiness and Flight Safety regulations and requirementsKnowledge of technical authoring and production tools e.g. Framemaker, Eagle Publishing System (EPS) and CAPS2000.Good understanding of LMW Helicopter productsExcellent understanding of engineering drawings and use Dassault Enovia, with an understanding of the configuration management system and process.Good inter-personal skills.Keyboard skills, a working knowledge of computers and computer system applications.Written communication skills, the ability to document results from the audits performed and documenting validation reports and plans.Highly self-motivated and able to work as part of an integrated team as well as independently

PMO Lead

Our client BAE Systems Barrow is recruiting Project Support Office Leads to lead a team in achieving programme goals and performance targets. Candidates MUST be proficient userS of EVM tools and techniques. For the foreseeable future this will likely be remote working rather than on site at Barrow. The Project Support Office Lead will be accountable for interpretations of data and information, acting as an enabler in the decision making process.The role involves but is not limited to the following:Work with the Project Control's management team in defining Project Controls Processes/Organisation for the Programme/ Projects.Provide support into Control Account Managers with the most complex accounts to enable effective management of costs, schedule, risks and opportunities and resources across whole Projects.Provide analysis of Earned Value Management (EVM) Data and variance reporting to the CAM populationLead and manage the production of various Project/Programme reports, using a variety of Software/Reporting Techniques and accountable for robust metrics and management reports required for the CAM Review process and CSR Reviews. Provide support, expertise and advice on data analysis and forecasting to Senior Management. Provide expertise in project planning, monitoring and control tools, techniques and procedures to Programme teams and Cost Account Managers.Lead improvement initiatives within the organisation in particular assist in establishing a robust project control culture within the business. Lead on System/Process development and creation, distribution and analysis of ad hoc reports.Accountable for supporting the CAM's in defining the work content of the control account (Statement of work) to support resource estimating. Accountable for providing timely inputs to the Company BRP Process to ensure required resource is available to carry out the defined scope of work. Accountable for analysis and reporting on cost and schedule performance in line with monthly CAM reviews and support completion of arising actions. Ensure integrity of overall Project data.Ensure general governance for all Project Controls processes; including Work Packages [Open/Close/Data Validation etc] at appropriate - authorised level and; regular cost and schedule baseline maintenance and support through the Performance Measurement Baseline Change Request (PMBCR) process. Accountable for production of Programme Information, analysing, identifying and communicating areas for continuous improvement. Lead, develop and motivate any reporting and assigned staff through good communication and honest open management techniques in keeping with company values, policies and procedures and Take responsibility and accountability for the performance management of the team [including PDR's, ESM, performance reviews etc] in line with the company process. Work with Cost Engineering and Finance in the development of accurate estimates in support of bids, annual budgets or cost to completion and analyse "spend to date" data. To be able to access, have a clear understanding of and apply the Quality and HS&E Management System documentation e.g. Process Instructions, Workmanship Standards, Risk Assessments etc. applicable to particular work scope and to obey all HS&E rules.Key Attributes Foundation Degree / HNC / HND / Certificate in Project Management or equivalent level of qualification Highly skilled in the use of Microsoft packages LCM Awareness Proficient user of EVM Tools and TechniquesRecognising the RESTRICTED nature of the work, suitable candidates will be SC cleared or eligible for this level of clearance. SC must be in place before start date.Please do not apply if your experience does not match the job spec above but please visit our website to view other roles.Due to the volume of CVs received if you have not had a response within 48 hours please take it that your application will not be progressed.

Finishing Operative

Looking for 4 finishing operatives able to install: * plasterboard, * a wraptite membrane * and a sealant strip to the inside of a commercial building in SW London

SPC - Site Person in Charge - Rail Construction

Working on a project to replace sidings and increase the number of roads, a civils gang to support the site manager and construction team to ensure that the daily operation and safety of the site is kept correct and in line with the safe systems of work. At times there will be a requirement to assist the track gang in the planned works on site. The majority of these works is planned for Monday to Friday 07:30 to 15:30Essential* Hold ICI-LU Licence* Hold LU Basic Track Awareness(BTA)* Hold Site Person In Charge (SPC)Desirab;e* Previous Experience in construction projects and the construction environment* Previous Experience in working with machinery and on track vehicles* All trained/Competent in Cat Scanning RD 8000* All trained/Competent in Banksman/Slinging* All trained/Competent in working from height* All trained/Competent in Disc Saw & Concrete Saw cutting* All trained/Competent in Belle Mixers/ Concrete Mixing* All Hand Arm Vibration trained* At least 1 No. First Aider* All fully face fitted staff

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