A Telecoms Engineer from Glasgow Concludes His 50-Year Long Career

Posted by

A Glasgow telecoms engineer is hanging up after 50 years of keeping Scots connected.

Related posts

Alison Houston, Openreach’s most enduring employee in Scotland, is set to retire tomorrow after hitting the 50-year mark.

She holds the record as the network’s longest-serving female engineer in the UK and is the only member of its 3,400-strong Scottish team to reach this milestone.

At 68, Houston, from Kinning Park, entered the telecommunications field following in the footsteps of her father, a night operator, joining what was then the General Post Office in 1974 at the age of 17.

Her career began at the city’s Pitt Street exchange, where she connected local calls to other operators throughout Scotland, later moving on to handle international queries and clerical duties.

Houston transitioned to engineering over two decades ago, and notes that the landscape of communication has transformed drastically during her tenure.

“When I started, you couldn’t directly dial places in the UK like the Scottish islands,” she said. “You had to ring 100 for the operator, and I would connect you with the operator in the north to complete your call.

“Today, everything’s different and you can dial internationally – my grandparents were astonished by a cordless phone, let alone a mobile.

“I recall when broadband was unheard of – and many still don’t know we connect everything from streetlights to the lottery terminal in your local shop.”

With retirement looming, Houston mentioned she will miss the bonds formed with fellow engineers and plans to keep an eye on local works.

“I’m thinking about buying a little house with a yard and perhaps getting a small dog, as we say in Glasgow, and take it for walks,” she said. “I’ll hassle the Openreach engineer at the nearby street cabinet and tell them, ‘I used to do that job, let me show you how to fix it’.”

Jenni Macfarlane, Openreach Scotland’s service delivery director, commented: “Her transition from operator to engineer is inspiring and she has significantly contributed to the company and the communities she has supported.

“We wish her the lengthy and joyful retirement she thoroughly deserves.”

Share this:
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments