Ann Walker is training to become a gas-engineer. We spoke to Ann to find out more about her life, changes, and future ambitions in the trades.
How long have you been studying with us?
It has been roughly 4 years now because initially I started doing the plumbing course. I wanted to get my gas qualification first, but when I started to do the gas course I was advised that it would be better to go through the plumbing industry before I am actually considered for the gas qualification. So, that is why I have been doing the course for quite some time, but on the gas side of the course, I have been doing it for almost 2 years.
What was your original idea of getting into the gas-engineering industry?
I have been working with my brother, who is a heating engineer, up in Glasgow for almost 18 years. He has been in the business for more than 30 years. I was fed up of living in London and I then moved to Glasgow. My brother asked me one day to drive him to work; then he asked me to help him with general pluming work and since then I have been working with him for the last 18 years. So, that is how I entered the plumbing industry; it was never something I have been planning of doing, but I just fell into it and I am really enjoying it now.
How are you finding the practical training?
I really enjoy coming to the centre and doing the practical training. Having the teacher always by your side and going through everything which has been taught in class in order to help you gain that understanding of the industry is great and I really enjoy it.
What things have you done recently at your training?
I have been working a lot with gas pipe work, soldering, gas reading and other similar things related to the industry. I am enjoying the practical training.
You mentioned you were in London for a while…was that related to a previous career or job?
I went to live in London when I was 16 years old and look after my sister; I was then working in restaurants and different shops. I just went there and worked, but I never wanted to develop my career at that sector. I enjoy my current job much more than other jobs I have had in the past.
Do you get on working with your brother?
We get on perfectly well; he is my boss and it works fine for both of us. We are planning to continue to work together and this qualification is going to help me improve my potential and have an even better standing within the company. However, I am not planning to take over the business or anything like that.
Is there lots of work coming into your business?
Yes, we are having lots of work and the business is proving to be a success story. Sometimes, we have the occasional quiet spells when it’s not so busy, but being two of us on a permanent basis keeps us in employment most of the time. When we have more work, my brother brings in more people to the business as and when needed.
What advice would you give to anyone signing up to the course?
If you want to enter the trades and you are sure about your decision, I would say just go for it. Be patient, work hard because getting that qualification at the end of the course is definitely the best part of it. I would advise people to look forward and be eager of getting their qualification.
Do you think the course suits women and is there anything which they should consider before signing for it?
I think the course suits everyone who has the motivation to do it; the course is equally open to females and males, they get taught the same way, but it is up to the students to benefit and make the most of it. There is plenty of help around and tutors are always willing to help.