Essential People - Rockstars & Careers

Essential Rockstars

Welcome to the  first of our monthly profiles on our Essential Rockstars, demonstrating the wealth of knowledge in our business and putting a face and a profile to the key people who are integral in keeping our customers' fleets on the road!

The inaugural Rockstar is John Dimbleby, National Fleet Engineer at Essential Fleet Services. John’s been with Essential for 14 years but has a lifetime involved in the repair, maintenance and supply of a wide variety of vehicles.

With over 40 years' experience there isn’t much, well anything really, that John doesn’t know about cars, vans or specialist vehicles, he really is the “go to” man in the office if you have a question!

John Dimbleby
National Fleet Engineer

A 1968 copy of Motor magazine – from John’s collection
A 1968 copy of Motor magazine – from John’s collection

I was taken on temporarily as assistant to the national maintenance manager. The then sales and marketing director could not understand why I was prepared to fold up my business to come and work for him for what was a temporary 6 months position. I simply replied that once he had employed me for 6 months he would not want to let me go. I must have been right because I am still here over 14 years on.

When that temporary role came to an end I was appointed to the role of Fleet Engineer. Previously all duties had been carried out by the various Contract Managers. I was covering about 30K  annual business miles as I covered the whole of the country. I could be in Sunderland one day and one of the London boroughs the next.

I was then invited to join the Sales Team as a Sales Consultant, my main customer being our own Passenger Services department. This was quite interesting during which time I replaced upwards of 100 vehicles seeing the job through from writing the specifications, getting the quotes, working out the contract hire rate, carrying out ‘in build’ visits to the supplier and finally handing over the delivered vehicle to Passenger Services.

John driving one of his beloved rally cars – 1998
John driving one of his beloved rally cars – 1998

At this time I was obviously working closely with Passenger Services and my next career  move came in their direction. For most of 2009 I found myself as Manager of the Sadler Road department of PS at what was a very busy time in their history. Coach hire/trips and the Lincoln City dedicated minibus service were operated in those days in addition to the social service and special needs operations, and caused many a headache.

Thankfully a return to Fleet Engineer, Midlands region, beckoned. This developed into Fleet Quality Engineer and then into my current position, which is not quite so hands on specific vehicle issues as previously, but more interesting in a different sort of way.

Earlier in my career I had been associated with heavy plant maintenance, such as Caterpillar machinery which I found very interesting to work on being in the days prior to the ‘electronic age’! Since being with Essential, when Fleet Engineer first time around we owned and maintained the Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue vehicles which I found most interesting. I remember being asked to take a Fire Engine down the A46 towards Newark and report back how fast it would go! Now that’s got to be a good job! More recently I have been heavily involved with the Gritting Fleet and am currently involved in building 14 new units for our Flintshire contract, which I find most interesting. I still manage to keep the spanners turning by maintaining and modifying my Fiesta Road Rally car and hope, when time permits , to return to rallying my ’66 Cooper S which I competed in from ’77 until ’01, once its rebuilt that is.

My biggest work challenge is keeping pace with all the topics with which I am dealing at any one time. Some laugh when I say the brain does not function, with regard to storage of information and memory, quite so well when you are getting on a bit!

John (left) at the handover of the Lincolnshire “Beast” Gritters – 2016
John (left) at the handover of the Lincolnshire “Beast” Gritters – 2016

Having been involved in vehicle maintenance for well over 40 years, I believe, rightly or wrongly, that current legislation, with regard to vehicle emissions, has been taken as far as it ought. As vehicles become more technical, maintenance costs are now gradually increasing and will continue to do so. This always filters down to the consumer at the end of the day. Turn the clock back 50 years and the maintenance practices and the general condition of road vehicles, whether the private car or larger good/ passenger vehicles  often left a lot to be desired.  Let’s face it how often do you see rotten bodywork on a car or a HGV pouring out smoke now-a-days.

Whilst no one likes to get old, I must admit that in some respects I am pleased to be at this end of my career and not starting out on my £7.00 a week earnings. For anyone starting out today there are, in my opinion, marvellous opportunities. It has become accustomed for youngsters to be expected to go to Uni. A good apprenticeship with dealer training is the way I would go IF I were starting again.

And remember, no matter how strongly you feel about a situation, never completely ‘burn your bridge’ whether with a work colleague, a supplier or a manufacturer today as you might be desperate for their help tomorrow.


Apprenticeship Scheme - Heavy Goods Vehicle Technician

We have a highly successful track record in developing our Apprentices. Many of our team started their journey with us as an apprentice, we are delighted that they have continued to develop…

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PCV Driver

We are currently recruiting a passenger driver to undertake duties on a local contract for Lincoln Minster School.   This involves transporting pupils from designated pick up points and transporting them to school in Lincoln and…

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Apprenticeship Scheme

Maintenance bay

We are delighted to be launching our new HGV technical apprenticeship scheme for 2017. Developed in association with the Manchester College, the scheme will offer you the very best training and development to support your aspirations for a career as a HGV mechanic, and ensure that you have the skills and experience  required to deliver our services for many years to come.

Over recent years recruitment for people with the specialist skills we require has become increasingly difficult. To ensure the ongoing success of Essential Fleet Services in providing an exceptional maintenance service to our customers, we are fully committed to investing in employee development and developing our next generation of Heavy Goods Vehicle Technicians is a key part of this strategy. With an organisational history stretching back over 42 years we have a large number of highly skilled and experienced staff, including one with 50 years’ experience as a HGV mechanic, across our 15 Service Centres who are keen to pass on their skills and experience to all of our apprentices.

This really is a fantastic opportunity and we welcome applications from people who are keen to learn a trade and who want to become part of a progressive forward thinking organisation.

Why opt for The Manchester College?

Manchester Accomodation

They have a proven track record of delivering high quality training in this field, including a large workshop that houses vehicles of all shapes and sizes, ensuring that you are trained in a facility that caters for all the vehicle types that you will be faced with during your normal working day.

The college provides residential weekly block training, which provides more detailed learning, and the opportunity to train and live alongside your fellow year 1 apprentices in catered accommodation. This gives you the opportunity to get to know your colleagues from an early stage, even if they are based at different sites, building working relationships and no doubt friendships that you will carry forward for years to come.  We feel this contact network will support you in your daily role, as you’ll benefit from mutual support in and out of the workplace. Members of our Management team will undertake regular visits to ensure you are fully supported during this process.

For more information on the accomodation provided by the college for the residential course follow the link

Why HGV as a career path?

If you are technically minded and ‘hands on’ with an interest in vehicles then this a great career for you.  We work on a wide range of vehicles, anything from a 3.5t van to a highways vehicle worth £250,000, which keeps the job varied and interesting.


Pictures of the fantastic accomodation provided for residential  

Seeing is believing so to find out more about the company and what the opportunity entails, it’s always better to go into these things with your eyes wide open, we’d love to arrange for you to see one of our sites in operation.  You can get a sense of the work environment, our business

and our excellent staff before you commit to an application.  Please contact us if this is something that you would like to arrange, and you can see our locations here.

An apprenticeship is a fantastic grounding to start (or kick start) your career and as an organisation we have a highly successful track record in developing our Apprentices.  Please see below details of 2 of our team, Tim and Dave, who started their journey with us as apprentices and who have continued to develop their career in Essential Fleet Services, progressing into senior roles within the organisation

Dave Marsh CAE AMIMI MSOE MIRTE - Fleet Maintenance and Scheduling Manager

Dave Marsh - Fleet Maintenance and Scheduling Manager“I joined the company back in 2000 and started my apprenticeship as a Vehicle Technician. Upon passing my exams I was offered a permanent job. After working as a vehicle technician I was offered the job as a Workshop Controller within the workshop.  I decided I wanted to progress my career in a new direction so I left the workshop and joined a team in the office as a Maintenance Controller, authorising work on our assets for all our external base. I now head up that department and a team of six as Fleet Maintenance and Scheduling Manager. 

The apprenticeship path for me was fantastic. I enjoyed learning all the skills in the workshop which gave me a strong engineering base to enable me to push forward within the business.”

Tim Parr – Service Centre Manager – Lincoln

Tim Parr - Service Centre Manager“I started my apprenticeship in 2003, qualifying in 2005 with an NVQ level 3, following which I was offered a permanent role as a motor vehicle technician at Essential Fleet Services. I worked hard and developed my skill set further over the next few years. The company saw potential in me and I was covering when the workshop team leaders were on holiday. From here I was able to progress into a workshop supervisor position in 2013. I held this position until 2016 when again my hard work paid off when the Lincoln workshop manager position became available. The company saw further potential and promoted me to this role. I have enjoyed my journey along the way and have been supported throughout, I would recommend the apprenticeship role to anyone looking for a career in the motor trade.”

More recently one of our current apprentices James Nugent, training with us through a separate college provider, has been excelling whilst working with us and you can read more about James and his achievements here.

For more information on this ground breaking scheme and how you can become part of the Essential team visit