My name is Abdellah Boujdi. I'm an overhead line (OLE) site manager. I'm 61, and have been working for Colas Rail since I was 19. I joined the company when I arrived in France from Morocco, where I was a tailor.
I began my career as an apprentice on overhead line installations. I became an electric traction lineman, then OLE team leader, and finally OLE site manager.
The site manager is the person who manages the team working on the site. I am in charge of six or seven people. Every day or night – most of my sites are at night as our interventions mean stopping the traffic, which is unimaginable in the Paris region in the daytime – I begin by organising the work, distributing the equipment and the vehicles. Then when the team is in place, I manage operations, checking that everything is going smoothly, and giving advice to the younger guys and temp workers.
Of course, I help them too. I often climb up to the overhead line to finalise the installing of a wire before the traffic starts up again. In fact we spend most of our time working at heights.
Mon métier est avant tout un travail d’équipe dans lequel chaque jour est un nouveau challenge que nous relevons tous ensemble.
Je dois savoir choisir les bonnes personnes, les bons moyens matériels et toujours essayer de prendre du recul et d’adapter les méthodes aux diverses configurations de nos chantiers.
Je dois trouver des fournisseurs, prestataires, partenaires fiables et réactifs afin de mener à bien les projets aux nombreuses facettes qui nous sont confiés.
Le relationnel a une dimension très importante, aussi bien en interne qu’en externe.
I learnt my trade on the job and was taught by the older OLE technicians and didn't do any extra training at Nanterre.
When the night work starts, I put in requests to cut the power on the part of the line we are working on. There are very strict security and safety rules to follow. Before we start work, SNCF places a red protective light on the line to indicate that it is safe to work on the track. We check that the power is off and place blue lights around our site.
I would definitely recommend my job to young people. Overhead line work is a job with a future. There's always work and your career can evolve. It is in temp worker's interest to learn the job when they work for Colas Rail. If they show they are motivated, the site manager can talk to the general foreman, which could lead to recruitment.