The man who oversaw the maintenance of schools for more than three decades was yesterday honoured by the Isle of Man Government.
Tim Crookall MHK, Minister for Education and Children, presented Jon Webb with an illuminated address – a decorative certificate awarded for 25 or more years’ service with the Isle of Man Government that is signed by His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor.
The presentation marked Jon’s retirement as works inspector with the Department of Education and Children.
Jon was employed by a private company for a decade as a carpenter, joiner and builder before joining the then Board of Education in July 1983 as assistant works inspector, gaining promotion to inspector in 1997 when that post-holder, Bill Coleman, retired.
Presenting the illuminated address, the Minister said Jon was held in high regard by colleagues not only at the Snugborough depot, where he was based, but in schools, the College and in the DEC’s various services.
The Minister praised Jon’s ‘vast knowledge of all our buildings, professionalism, commitment and humour.
‘What an incredible amount of change you will have seen over the past 30 years and how satisfying it must be to drive round the Island and see all the schools to which you have had an input,’
Mr Crookall said.
‘On behalf of all your friends and colleagues in DEC and those who have transferred to the Department of Infrastructure; the Education Council; school governors; present and former pupils and Department members, thank you for the enormous contribution you have made to education and please accept my very best wishes for a long, healthy and extremely happy retirement.’
Jon said his ethos, and one he instilled in his team, which carries out work and maintenance at schools, was ‘say yes first and say no only if it’s completely impossible’.
He said he treated headteachers, bursars and caretakers, his main contacts within schools, as ‘customers’ – and said he enjoyed making a difference to children’s lives.
‘It has been a privilege to work with excellent Ministers and good directors and later chief executives who understood the challenges of the job and what we were trying to do. In education, I felt part of an organisation and felt valued.’
Jon lives with wife Jo in Douglas. The couple have daughters Anna, an accountant, Jessica, who works at Noble’s Hospital and Abigail, who is at Chester University.
He is now working as a self-employed building surveyor but has joined Peel Golf Club and is finding time to chip away at his handicap, as well as spending more time with his family.