Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Andrew talks to Train4TradeSkills Radio about his plumbing course

So Andy, what were you doing before Train4TradeSkills?

Well I’ve worked in the catering and hotel industry for 20 years, worked all over the world on cruise liners and 4 or 5-star hotels and restaurants. The company, we are now into cost-effective stuff and the reason I’ve retrained is to do a couple of jobs to my property. As a plumbing job I spent quite a few quid getting plumbers in – so that’s the reason why I’ve retrained as a plumber and heating engineer. I’m Gas-safe registered as well and gaining new qualifications all the time so I can progress to get into the industry.

Have you always had an interest in plumbing?

Certainly, I think from the way the course is designed you become such a humble person to start a new career.  In the course you learn so much and meet new people and get new ideas and suggestions from colleagues on the course.

So Andy, how did you come across Train4TradeSkills?

In Scotland it’s difficult with different governing bodies and I believe Train4TradeSkills is trying to do something about that to ensure the Scottish, English and Welsh qualifications are the same.  At the moment there’s still a bit of a divide because some of the regulations are different.

I’m 40 next year and it’s hard to get an adult apprenticeship these days. The reason for getting Gas safe registered is that I’ve been running the two courses together. Back in Scotland I’m doing the BPEC qualification and it’s quite good that Train4TradeSkills are now looking into offering the BPEC qualification for the Scottish colleagues that come down to Southampton. I believe they can also go on to do the Gas qualifications in Leeds as well if they want to do that.

What are your plans when you have finished the course?

I’m not quite ready to go into the self-employment industry at the moment yet because I do believe that working alongside someone for a couple of years – an older guy maybe at semi-retirement age in his 50’s for a couple of years and then go out and do it myself. By then I will be confident that I can go on and work at the level of expertise that are expected from a customers’ point of view.

Have you got advice for people who want to take up plumbing or a trade?

Well I think if it’s a total career change, take your time, be honest with yourself if this is right for you. There’s a lot of elements outside your course so don’t expect that they can run as a plumber at the end of the course, as there’s a lot to learn – that’s the best advice I can give as a mature adult.

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