A day in the life of... a survival team leader

Michael Mason is 35 and a survival team leader for Survivex. Here is a day in his life.

Michael Mason


My morning normally starts at 6.15am when I get up and get organised for work, however my work has already started with my five-year-old son Taylor and my new addition to the family, Maizey. Maizey is a 10-week-old Cocker Spaniel who has certainly changed my morning routine the past three weeks with her endless energy levels and constant attention seeking. By the time my wife and I have sorted out breakfast for Taylor and Maizey, let the dog out and got Taylor organised for school, it’s time to leave for work. Luckily I don’t have a long drive and too much traffic to contend with as I stay close to Survivex.

I aim to arrive at work for approximately 7.20am to get organised for the day ahead. I officially start at 07.45am but I always allow myself additional time to get into work and get my computer turned on and a cup of coffee made. My course planning is always complete the night before so in the morning it’s just a quick check to ensure that all scheduled courses are staffed and all staff are allocated jobs for the day.

At this stage I also check how many people are on the courses that are scheduled, any maintenance tasks and a general lookout for the week ahead.

Once I am happy with planning, I head down for a morning meeting with my team of 18 and conduct an overview of the day’s activities – this is normally just a five to 10 minute chat with the staff to ensure they are all happy with the plans for the day ahead. If there’s any issues raised then they are addressed in the morning meetings.


Lunchtime for myself varies each day depending on what’s going on in the centre. Lunch is served in our canteen from 11.30am to 1pm so it’s normally in between these times. This may change if I have planning meetings with the sales team or any client meetings taking place. Up until very recently I would always have my lunch in the canteen but more recently I have been going home to let the dog out during my lunch break. I am always on call at lunch time so I can always be contacted by any staff member.


Within the company I manage all operational activities relating to offshore survival training courses. I ensure that all activities are completed safely and in full compliance with the requirements of the company’s and the clients’ safety management system. I also supervise survival training instructors and ensure staff resource levels are maintained to an adequate level. I then plan and develop instructor and assessor verification schedules, prepare staff rotas and plan staff assignments to ensure appropriate cover for all courses and other operational activities as well as verifying training and assessment processes. Part of my job is to develop and obtain industry accredited course approvals as requested by the CEO. This includes submitting desktops, course material and plans for monitoring visits in preparation for compliance with all relevant accredited body requirements. I ensure all inspections are conducted correctly and thoroughly and in accordance with the planned maintenance schedule, ensure all maintenance tasks are done and all relevant paperwork is complete after the task has been concluded. This ensures that all training staff are competent in their job roles and that all new starts are trained to a high standard. My role is also to ensure relevant course standards are being adhered to and attend regular planning meetings and organise client events.


My day normally ends between 4.30pm and 4.45pm approximately but this is subject to change due to operational requirements of the business. Again, my journey home is relatively straight forward however it does take slightly longer getting out of Dyce in the evenings. Most evenings is a case of getting home and making tea which I can’t take too much credit for as my wife does this most of the time, spending some time with my son before its bedtime for him and dog walking.

Occasionally friends will come round for tea but generally it’s just being a dad. I play football for a local amateur team called Grammar FPs and we train at least once a week and sometimes twice if my old legs can handle it.

I am also part of the committee for Grammar and my role helps with the day-to-day things in organising a football team which includes collecting training fees, helping organise matches for the weekend, updating the Facebook page and looking for new players for the team.

Five reasons why I am happy at work

Every day is challenging which I find rewarding

I love being part of a team

Career progression within the company

Dealing with the general public and helping them with any issues they may have on course

The constant being busy and varied day-to-day work

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