Meet Ged - our STCW instructor
Now that you know a little more about Seascope France, it is time to introduce you to our real life super heroes: our instructors. Let's start with Ged Griffiths, our head instructor for all Seascope France's STCW training.
- Hi Ged, how are you ?
Hi, I am fine thanks
- So, I have a few questions to ask you, are you ready ?
Scared, but yeah!
- Could you give us a little background of your life before working with Seascope France ?
I left school at 16 years old, and joined the Royal Navy for 6 years. After this I became a professional fire fighter in Liverpool, which I absolutely loved and spent 9 years in the service. When I quit the fire service, I went to live in Canada for 3 years. While I was there I did all kind of jobs and even started a kitchen company!!
After this I came back to the UK and got into social work and turned out to actually be quite good at it! I was responsible for going to different houses to see if there were any problems with the kids living there. Although it was very rewarding, it was also very exhausting physically and mentally.
Following that period in my life, I moved to Ireland and lived off the land, what fun!
One day, I got a phone call out of the blue from a friend saying that he had a job for me teaching fire fighting, sea survival etc at a training school in Antibes... I was intrigued so off I went to Antibes and after a few weeks of sitting in the classroom listening and learning how each course was taught, it was then my turn to stand in front of a classroom full of students and teach! Having got through to morning coffee break, I was confident I could do it. I have now taught at this school for nearly 5 years.
- When did you join Seascope France ?
- What would you say is the best thing about your job?
The people I work with and the students... I meet all kinds of people, with lots of different stories, opinions and walks of life...
- What is your funniest story with a student ?
I had a student sit with me for an hour and half until coffee break, he comes up to me and says he was in the wrong course.
He was supposed to be in the medical course and I was teaching the fire course. He had sat there for an hour and half listening to me talking about fire without thinking it was strange in any way!!
- What is your scariest story with a student ?
I caught a student mid-air who was falling down the stairs. We were doing an exercise in a fire house full of smoke. I could just about see through the smoke. She didn't know I was there. And she just fell from the top and I just had time to grab her with one hand and manage to hold her so she wouldn't fall, and then set her back on her feet.
- As an Instructor at Seascope France, you always meet people with different nationalities, lifestyle, mindset,.... so if you could go to another country right now, which one would it be ?
I would like to go to Uruguay in South America. I have heard a few people saying it is a wonderful place, with lovely people and great culture.
- So you said earlier that you entered the Royal Navy at 16, what were your first impressions?
It was as I expected, I knew I was joining the military, very strict, physical... But when you join the ship, it is not like that. It was a lot of mixed emotions, excitement, disappointment.. You look after yourself, you just do your job. It is impressive being on a war ship with your team. There is a strong teamwork, everyone does his job really well and you get to really know everyone.
- You were also a fire-fighter for 9 years in one of the busiest stations in the UK : Old Swan (Derby Lane), how was a typical day there ?
2,3,4 fires incidents in a day, inspection of places between the fires: schools, hospitals etc. A lot of exercising and training. We all enjoyed nights the best, you could just feel the excitement because we knew we were in for a busy time. And on a quiet night we would just relax, watch TV and cook dinner,
- How did you manage stress and fear in very dangerous situations ?
If we saw something horrible which we did very regularly, we would get back to the station, and request that control tries not to contact us (if possible) by radio for the next hour. They would send someone else for the next hour. We would just sit around, and talk about it with a cup of tea.
- So you always had jobs which involved communication with people and even with kids, would you say it made you see people differently and that you are more open-minded now thanks to all this experience ?
I think most peoples' behaviour can be explained by their childhood, what happened to them, where they came from... You still have to be patient with people. Luckily I have ALOT of patience.
- If you had gone a different way with your life, what do you think you would be doing now ?
I would still be a fire-fighter. I have a real passion for it and always will have.