Royal Spin Doctor
Did it take you a long time to write that?Tell you what, this keeps on coming up in one form or another so I’m going to give you my take on it.
Bacl in 1982 when hardly any 16 year old had a job. I did.
Ok. It might not have been the RAF engineering apprenticeship I wanted but at the end of the week I had enough money for 8 pints Friday and another 8 pints Saturday with enough left over for a Chinzano and a packet of johnnys, should the occasion present itself..
im not sure where folk get the idea from that you can only be one thing in a lifetime?
I’ve now been working 40 years. Say I do 2 or 3 years on the brush and change trades and do another 37 as a spark. (not that I did, I’m just saying) Does that mean I’m still a painter?
’Cus I’ve never heard some say to me, ‘Well I’d like to give you the job mate, but the other bloke applying has got 40 years and you’ve only got 37, so I’m sorry mate but I’ve gotta give the job to Kenny because he’s got more experience.’
Now I ain’t saying I could still earn a living on the brush, because these days I’m only slightly faster than the late Stephen Hawking, but the quality is still there, so that means I can do it it without paying good money to someone else and without being disappointed with the results when they crash it in because all they wana do is get in and get out.
Plumbing: If you’re a JIB Approved spark with an industrial background like wot I is, you’ll have probably done about a mile of steel threaded conduit in the course of a year, on year, on year and those bending skills (quiet at the back) are transferable into copper. Now all you gotta do is learn how to solder and if you apply yourself and keep on applying yourself, you’ll get better, but no *u** is going to hand it to you on a plate.
You can learn the terminology and look on YouTube and familiarise yourself with Part H of the building regs and if you ask questions on site, I find people are only to happy to tell you.
Likewise with plastering. You’re in the s**t with a project at home, you cant afford to pay someone, so you have a go yourself under a bay window. Because you’ve got no other options. It’s only slighty f****d up and you go into work on Monday morning. Eh mate, I did this and then this happened, why? Where did I go wrong? How can I stop such and such happening? So the following weekend you take on a small wall and repeat the process. Then you might find yourself under notice for redundancy and by this time the blokes on site let you trowel up a whole wall because you ain’t really interested in joining bits of copper together anymore. It’s a new skill you’re acquiring. It’s exciting. But at this point you must be very careful not to get an erection - that just wouldn’t do at all…
Then they invite you to put some float on. ‘Don’t fk about with it. That’s what the Derby’s for..!’
To my mind, if you’ve worked several decades in the construction industry without acquiring another skill, ok perhaps not to the point where you can earn a living out of it, but certainly to advanced DIYer level or beyond, then I gotta ask you, How did you manage to avoid this wealth of information thats out there?
You get sparks with gas safe as well, or F gas as well. The lad who I went to school with, whose dad i worked for crossed over into spraying cars and later plastering too.
I look back now and remember a job at a flat above a Rumbellows in Birmingham and one of his blokes spent an entire day patching up the walls either side of a flight of stairs, mixing up about 5 boxes of Polyfiller in the process. And I think WHY? FFS! Simply because there was no one on the firm with any crossover skills.
where does the notion come from that you can be one thing and one thing only?
It takes 4 years to do an apprenticeship and to be fair perhaps as long again to learn the actual job.
But 2 of those years will probably be labouring and going to the shop while you’re waiting for the lad to mature. So take that out, you got maybe 2 years learning and after another 2 you should have someone capable of being meaningfully productive. Say like in the case of like an adult trainee.
65-16 equals a working life of 49 years. And you really think that’s only long enough to learn the one trade?
I went to uni as a mature student. I dropped out of a BEng Measurment and control Engineering.
I did 2 years at spark night school in one and got JIB graded up after 30 months. That was 25 years ago.
Do you wana tell me I’m not a spark now?
Is 25 years long enough to learn a trade?
I can move at a decent pace, but I’ll never be the fastest.
ive seen the fastest, I’ve worked along side the fastest, but I personally don’t think they’re any better, they just know which corners to cut so the work is just a good enough quality.
Ive seen £2.5k worth of custom light fittings blow up because Mr Fast did it so fast that the neutral fell out, resulting in 400volts through em, they were ruined. (3 phase lighting track)
im too meticulous for that, but that does come at the expense of speed.
and thank you all for your replies, some are especially insightful.