What’s the secret to domestic bliss and working together?
“We have a strict rule about not talking shop as soon as we get home!” say Kelly and Michael Whitlock. Kelly and Michael have worked at Jaguar Land Rover Halewood for nearly six years and have been together for 19 years.
“We applied at the same time, but Kelly got the job first which was a bit annoying,” laughs Michael. Today, Kelly is a production leader in the press shop while husband Michael works on the aida press line. With two daughters aged 13 and 6, shift work is a balancing act for the couple but the family enjoy the steady standard of living working at JLR gives them.
“We had our own business so coming to work at JLR was a big change, especially for Michael who had always been self-employed,” say Kelly. “Family life is a bit chaotic sometimes, we work the same shifts, so often we don’t even know what day it is.”
Aside from balancing family life with their shift patterns, Michael says another tricky aspect of working together is trying to remain neutral in and outside of work. “As Kelly is a supervisor it took a bit of getting used to when I would hear a co-worker saying something negative about her. However I just try to step out of it now and we try to keep our work and personal relationship separate. That works for us.”
It seems Kelly and Michael were always destined to be together. After meeting at a party in Anfield they exchanged numbers but didn’t see each other again until by chance (or fate?) Kelly moved in next door to Michael. “I literally couldn’t get away from her,” jokes Michael. “Our first date? We went to the cinema to see a film called 8MM, it was rubbish,” laughs Kelly.
For Danielle Kean-Trenwith working at JLR has always been a family affair. “Since I was a little girl I had always wanted to work here and follow in my Dad’s footsteps. So getting my first job at JLR in my teens was a dream come true for me,” she remembers.
Today, Danielle is a data analyst in the quality department while husband Damien works in production. “We have four kids under 10 so I was a stay at home dad,” recalls Damien. “When the opportunity to work at JLR came up however we decided I should go for it.” “It was tough at first as a working mum as I always had the reassurance the kids were with Dad,” says Danielle. “However we made life easier for ourselves and moved from Lancashire closer to work and I am on permanent days so I get to pick the kids up every day.”
Danielle and Damien, who first met when they were 11, say the secret to a happy married and working life is operating in different areas. “He talks a lot more about work than I do at home however, he will often come home and share the latest rumour on the shop floor,” laughs Danielle. “ I am too long in the tooth to indulge work gossip as I have seen and heard it all before so I just roll my eyes.”
It also looks like the JLR bug is set to continue for generations to come for the Kean-Trenwiths. “Our oldest daughter already talks about working at JLR when she grows up. She says “Mummy your work’s heaven” every time we go past the plant,” smiles Danielle.
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