A brief description of how I became an electrician, and why I want to be the electrician you choose. What I and other electricians east London have to offer.
I was raised in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire. It was a relatively tough upbringing drenched in slim opportunity. There was rarely enough in the way of food and it was sometimes hard to see the positives. Although I won a scholarship to a local grammar school, I had had the work ethic instilled by then and choose to leave at sixteen with relatively no qualifications.
I had taken positive beliefs on from friends and family, however, and I kind of knew that life wasn’t necessarily destined to be what my teachers had told me it would be. I knew I was capable of more, and I knew I could achieve more, despite the doubting Thomas’s enshrined in there negative beliefs.
I had always been the kid who would take a washing machine or an old valve radio set apart. Raised by my mother, the only tools in the house consisted of a butter knife, used as a slotted screwdriver. Despite this, I had always shown a keen interest in the technical aspects of life.
So, as a technical geek, I was pleased and excited when, out of nepotism, my sister found me a job at Brian Hodgeson electrical contractors. It is from this platform I was hooked by engineering and eventually found electrical east London opportunity. As an apprentice electrician, my role was defined by doing exactly what I was told, as well as making tea and pushing broom. I am very grateful for the time I spent there, particularly for the guidance of Keith, who, despite clashing, has been a great influence on my career.
After spending eighteen months serving my apprenticeship, I relocated to the south of England. I had a stepping stone in that I had family in London, and is was plain to see on visits, that the possibilities were boundless in terms of opportunity. I was fortunate enough to get a job straight away as an electrical improver.
After marring in 1999, I began studying for my City and Guilds qualification at Hertford Regional Collage in Hertfordshire in order to cement my skills. I found that I was enjoying my job and I felt the opportunity was there to better myself and to tie this in with the trade knowledge I was learning on the job. With this in mind, I continued to work as an improver, and I began to take on small jobs of my own.
These were small electrical jobs; changing light fittings and repairing doorbells. During this period, I was fortunate enough to get a job working on the fed ex building at Stansted airport. This gave me further experience in heavy commercial installation, and increased my skills no end.
Throughout, I continued to favour working on domestic installations. I started to gain more and more small jobs and by that, confidence. I began working for Glaxo Welcome on there research and development plant at Ware, in Hertfordshire. This was a fascinating place to work as I picked up all sorts of experience and time with
some great engineers. Nothing seems impossible when you work for a company of that size and scope.
I had started to feel a little limited during this time. Maybe that I was part of a machine and a little limited. Although a great job on paper, it seemed that it was time to strike out alone. I gained my City and Guilds Qualification in 2001, which gave me the confidence and expertise to start working for myself. It was a great sense of personal achievement to complete what I`d set out to and this inspired me to work for myself and take on bigger and bigger projects.
In the next stage of my career I began to work for call out companies. It was a great to get out and about and meet fresh challenges everyday. Not knowing what you’d face daily and doubting yourself and your ability. It didn’t help that the customer was often bewildered and unsure of the cost and outcomes with other east London electricians. I really felt for the customers as I would often be given there details whilst I had two other jobs ahead of me.
This was the problem though; the manager would guarantee an hour response when that wasn’t always realistic. I would always try and get my next clients phone number so that they could speak to their engineer directly, and I could give them an honest time of arrival. Simple, but effective. I believe people would rather have honesty than a fake response time and be sat waiting in all day.
I have tried to move this knowledge into my system. I do always loath not being able to say, yes I can come immediately, but I would rather be honest. I can’t bear waiting around for tradesman myself, and feeling that my time is being devalued.
It came to me that what customers want is very simple. I didn’t understand why they fell down in providing it. They want an honest, trustworthy trades person doing a fair days work for a fair days money. They want the emotional reassurance that they do not need to be on guard whilst the person is in their home. They don’t want to be hoodwinked or mislead on matters that they have no knowledge of.
I found myself slightly vilified. I couldn’t knowingly push a job into the second hour to get paid more. I couldn’t charge 100% mark up on materials. I couldn’t lie to customers regarding my e.t.a.
I was scared and apprehensive about working alone. I had to leave and try to give the customer what they wanted (to be treated well), and do it for a reasonable fixed price that I could live well enough on. I gained further domestic experience having teamed up with a fellow professional.
This helped me hone my customer service and design skills. I was able to gain the confidence I needed to brake out on my own. I had some unique opportunities on the way. Not least a large door entry installation in Kensal Rise. Various skills were picked up on this job, but the best learning for me, came from knocking on the customers doors and chatting to them about there concerns, and specifically how they wanted the job to pan out.
And so, my client base started to increase. I got work through a variety of means. In 2004 I began maintaining the Half Moon pub in Hitchin. It has since become CAMRA Hertfordshire pub of the year. I am grateful for the work and it’s great to have been involved in its evolution. Various weird and wonderful jobs have followed. Not least, the recent request to build an astral photography unit. A job for which I am extremely grateful, not least as the client has become a friend.
Being responsible for the ground up design and commission of something as complex and testing as a mobile astral photography unit has been a real eye opener into my skills base. It was an intriguing job to be a part of; an exercise into the limitless possibilities of one mans dream. A few headaches along the way, also. It has taught
me to be always updating my skills on the job. I literally learn something new every day.
I have been reading many books on green energy recently. Renewable sources of power are great for minimizing the impact we have on our eco system. I have been asked to design a photo voltaic array and storage system for a swimming pool circulation pump in a property in Portugal. I think we may try to include a wind turbine in that install.
An eccentric friend has bought a farmhouse in Bulgaria, and is looking to break away from reliance on utility companies and to minimize his impact on the environment. This is intriguing to me as we are only limited by imagination. All sorts of exciting designs for that are in the pipeline. First priority is a toilet though, as he is not on the major, er, pipeline.
Can’t wait for that to start!
I hope this helps your search amongst the electricians east London has to offer.