Matt Orton - Operations Engineer

17th April 2020

Our employees have been working in challenging circumstances over the past few weeks and all towards a common goal – to stay safe at work while continuing to support food producers with our products and services so that they can safely grow the fish that makes its way to so many dinner tables.

Where our employees can work from home, they are doing this, but some jobs mean that some staff need to travel to their workplaces.  To protect our employees and the wider public we have been working extremely hard to ensure we follow the social distancing and hygiene protocols set by the government.


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Meet Matt Orton

Matt and his colleagues at Gael Force Boatbuilding, based at Corpach, are responsible for important maintenance and repairs of commercial workboats and vessels for aquaculture and fishing, as well as steel feed barge building.

“Since coronavirus came about, my day-to-day role and routine has changed drastically. Normally, my role is primarily customer-focused, working with not only current customers but trying to bring in new customers and working on feed barge builds.

Because of this new situation, my daily routine now involves more – I’m working in the workshop, and that can mean having to carry out repairs on vessels or pressure washing hulls. I will turn my hand to anything. With half of the staff now on Furlough leave, it has been essential for me to step in to assist the guys, but everyone here has stepped up and gone above and beyond to make sure we are still putting out a first-class product and all in the set times agreed. 

In the first week of lockdown, my line manager had to go into self-isolation for 14 days due to someone in his household showing symptoms. This was a very stressful period for all as this was around the time that many of the lockdown measures were coming into place, and so for me, I had to step up and take the lead trying to reassure staff everything was in hand and being dealt with. Implementing changes to daily routines with regards to cleaning and social distancing has been a challenge!

I must say I had fantastic support from both Paul (Operations Manager) and Stephen (Production Director) through this, even though they were not able to visit. Emails and calls of support have been fantastic and I can’t thank them both enough. On top of this, the regular updates from Stewart have been fantastic as this has helped with easing the minds of staff. Letters received from our large aquaculture customers confirming our critical supplier status made it even clearer about our role in supporting aquaculture.

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We have found new ways to work and set new standards here at Corpach. Many of the team have stepped up, taking on more responsibility and going out their way to learn new things outside of work, all with the view of making sure that they can carry out new tasks that, had it not been for the virus they would not have needed to do in normal circumstances. Lots of lessons have been learned and new leaders and key players have come through from this.

I honestly believe this is the start of a stronger more focused set-up at Gael Force Boatbuilding. What started as a difficult and stressful time has made all of us a stronger, more committed team!”