Longest serving Falkirk Council employee retires after 51 years as electrician

Ian McKean (front and centre), Falkirk Council's longest serving employee, was thrown a surprise presentation by his colleagues after he announced his retirement
Ian McKean (front and centre), Falkirk Council's longest serving employee, was thrown a surprise presentation by his colleagues after he announced his retirement

Having amassed 51 years as an electrician under his tool belt, Falkirk Council’s longest serving employee has called it a day for good.

Ian McKean (68), who is fondly known as Jurassic Spark, said farewell to friends and colleagues at a surprise presentation on Friday, September 27.

The Bantaskine man began his career as an apprentice with Stirling County Council in 1968 before transferring to Falkirk District Council in 1975, which became Falkirk Council in 1996.

He was initially based at the local authority’s old Westquarter depot but then moved to its Inchyra headquarters in 1976 for four years.

Three years ago, after working at a number of other council locations, Ian fittingly returned to Inchyra.

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Recalling the early years of his working life, he said: “I was an apprentice for five years and attended Falkirk College of Technology on a day release basis. Pay day was Friday lunchtime, the highlight of the week!

“We queued outside Polmont British Legion to receive our pay packets — the grand sum of £3, one shilling and eight pence.

“There weren’t many council vans in the early days so all tradesmen travelled on bikes, which was tricky when carrying tools and parts to jobs.

“There were obviously no computers or mobile phones either, everything was paper-based and jobs could take days and weeks to complete.”

Ian, who has two sons along with wife May, has worked with and trained many apprentices over the years and admits the job has changed for the better.

He explained: “Youngsters coming in to the trade now will never know the dangers of fuse wire; it’s all circuit breakers and trip switches now.”

A career highlight came in 2007 when he and three other colleagues, being the eldest tradesmen within the council’s Building and Maintenance Division, were invited to the Queen’s Garden Party at Holyrood Palace.

Ian has seen many colleagues leave to work for themselves over the years but was never tempted by self-employment.

He added: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my work. I’ve loved the camaraderie and working with different trades — every day was something new.”

The grandfather-of-five plans to spend his retirement by going on walks and short breaks and supporting his football clubs, Rangers and Falkirk.