Donald MacGregor - Weapons Engineer Submariner
Name, Age and Hometown.
Donald MacGregor, Age 30, Glasgow
Job title (list all job titles for the duration of employment).
Leading Engineering Technician, Weapons Engineer Submariner.
What attracted you to the industry you are in?
The opportunity to work in a unique and challenging environment with a very close-knit team of people.
How long have you been with the company?
Since June 2006, so nearly 14 years.
Describe your day-to-day role.
Looking after the nuclear weapon system on the Vanguard-class submarines. I will be monitoring up to 16 nuclear missiles and the associated systems such as pneumatics, hydraulics, and electrics ranging from low pressure and low voltage systems up to high pressure and high voltage systems. Carrying out any preventative and corrective maintenance that needs to be done.
What kind of training have you done?
I have had to go through basic training for the Royal Navy, submarine training which consists of learning about all the systems on board a submarine, submarine escape training in case we ever need to abandon the submarine, engineering training and strategic weapons system training to teach me all about engineering, engineering standards and practices and to learn about the weapon system. When I was promoted, I had to undergo further engineering training and also leadership training as I now have a small team working for me.
What skills have you learned?
Teamwork, making decisions under pressure during challenging situations and leadership.
Do you like living and working in Moray? Explain why/ why not.
I do no longer live in Moray because of my work commitments but I do continue to enjoy working in Scotland or work in Moray. I still live in Scotland.
What skills are the most important for you to do your job well?
In the Royal Navy we have 6 core values that are remembered with the acronym C2DRIL. This stands for courage, commitment, discipline, respect, integrity, and loyalty. These are very important to do your job well, especially when you are working in such challenging environments and facing unique challenges that you might not encounter in other careers.
Was there anything about the job that surprised you?
I done a lot of research into the job before I applied and before I started my training in order to be as prepared as possible but the thing that was the most surprising to me was the first time I seen a submarine out of the water and in a dry dock. The sheer size of one is mind-blowing, a lot of people picture submarines as something from WW2 where they were very small, cramped and so on but in this modern day they are the complete opposite of that.
Is there anything unusual about your role?
I think one of the more unusual aspects of my job is that we can be underwater for prolonged periods of time with no contact with the outside world. The only thing that restricts how long a submarine can stay submerged for is our food supplies. On the Vanguard-class submarines, you could be away for months at a time continuously underwater.
Do you get a lot of support from your company?
The Royal Navy does a very good job in offering a lot of support to its personnel. There are different support systems that are there for you to use if you require them, for example, if you were to have a bereavement in the family or if you were to have a new-born child, if possible, you will be given time off work to be with your family, etc. Also, your colleagues will do a lot to help you as well since they know one day it could be them in such a position, or they might already have been in the same position and they might offer to cover shifts for you and other things such as that.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
The favourite part of my job is that my colleagues are not just people I work with, they are people I would class as my friends. You go through a lot together, and its good knowing you have one another’s back.
Did you always want to pursue a career in this industry?
Yes, I come from a military family, so I always knew that I wanted to join the military. I have always had an interest in engineering.
What is your advice for young school leavers looking to start an apprenticeship?
To always give your best effort at everything, be a positive person, hardworking, help others when you can, be a team player, never be afraid to ask a question, treat and respect others the way you want to be treated and respected.
What is your career goal?
My career goal is to stay in the Navy until I am at least 40 years old, to help teach and train those more junior to me, to work my way up the management chain as much as I can.
How does it feel to be a KeyWorker on the frontline, supporting the Country’s fight against Covid-19?
I feel proud of being a key-worker and knowing that I am able to help others out. Especially in such a testing time for many people, including family members.