Name: Liam De Vine
Company: Tann Electrical
Course: C&G2365 Level 2 & 3 and C&G2391 Inspection and Testing

Following on from a case study we wrote in 2018, we caught up with Liam to find out how he’s been getting on. Liam originally worked in the street food catering business and made the decision to completely change career and train to become an electrician. We’re really pleased to learn that Liam is not only loving being an electrician but now runs a thriving electrical business.

After Liam completed his training with us he worked at a pharmaceutical plant installing electrical systems, plus he set-up a PAT test business, which he grew to include testing and inspection. Since then Liam has gone from strength to strength and now runs his own electrical company – Tann Electrical based in Preston.

Which courses did you initially take with Trade Skills 4U and why?

I initially took the C&G2365 Level 2 & 3 course and the C&G2391 Inspection & Testing course as these were the courses that would give me the complete education I needed to work as an electrician. Having no experience at all I needed something that would enable me to start working as soon as I had my certificates. The C&G2391 was added on as I wanted a deeper understanding of the trade.

What were your key goals when you initially trained with TS4U?

I knew that my weakest points would be my lack of practical knowledge and experience. I’d never been the most practical of people having sacrificed Technology at school in favour of Home Economics. Improving this side of things was definitely a key goal. My first day in the work bays was very nerve-wracking and my lack of experience was obvious compared to the experienced lads. I was helped by the tutors and the other lads, advice and tips were gratefully received. Over time I improved my skills and confidence, by the end of the course I was confident installing anything asked of me. I knew that my strength would lie in the classroom aspect of the course but had always struggled with maths. Again, the tutors helped bring me up to speed and I was soon dealing with calculations that I’d never have expected to understand.

My main goal was to leave with everything I would need to begin a career as an electrician. I believe that the courses I took were the best way to achieve this. Nevertheless, experience and practice are very important. I would recommend to anyone considering a similar route to find some type of employment to give you the opportunity to practice the skills learnt on the course as soon as possible. On my weeks off I worked with a local builder and (after working for free for a week) I was taken on and able to improve my skills outside of the classroom.

How did it make you feel when you passed your courses?

At the time all I felt was a mixture of relief and happiness. I’d built some good friendships through the course and it did feel strange that our group wouldn’t be together again. Once everything sank in, I realised just how much I had learned on the course. I still have photos of my work from the first day in the bays and they still bring a smile to my face.

What type of work did you secure after your training with TS4U?

My first job after qualifying was agency work. I was employed by a company to build control boxes for a pharmaceutical factory installation. This quickly developed into designing containment runs and calculating what cables would be required. When the install went live I was sent down to site in Wales for two weeks at a time to work on the install.

Over time I realised that working away wasn’t for me so I approached a friend who has been an electrician for 17 years about starting a domestic electrical business together. The time I spent working with someone more experienced than me has been invaluable. I now run the company on my own and pick up work through CheckaTrade, Facebook, Google and word of mouth.

Tann Electrical is NICEIC registered and completes all types of domestic electrical work. I am hoping to move into commercial work in the future but am concentrating of building the business at the moment.

Have you taken any other training or update courses?

I completed an EV charging course and will shortly be starting my Fire Alarm Commissioning qualifications. Studying at Tradeskills4U has helped me to rediscover my enjoyment of learning and I am always looking to expand my skill set. I am also currently part way through my NVQ which I hope to complete within a year.

What difference has the training made to your career?

It has been a complete change of direction. Moving me from the kitchen towards becoming a fully fledged sparky shows that it can be done and that the people at Tradeskills4U can help anyone through the course. From day 1, with everyone sitting quietly in the classroom and not knowing anyone, barely knowing which end of the screwdriver to use through to that last day, certificates in hand and genuinely feeling sad to be leaving the lads in the classroom, the tutors who helped me and the friendly faces on the front desk.

Tell us how training with TS4U has helped you?

Starting from scratch was difficult and I have had to work hard to build a customer base and get ‘word of mouth’ recommendations out there. I learned so much during my time at Tradeskills4U but I knew that this was only going to work if I used this to complement my real world experiences. I might not be the fastest worker out there but I know that the work I do is safe and done to the correct standard. ‘Test Test Test’ was drilled into us through the course for good reason. An appreciation of the dangers of poor work is one of the biggest take-aways from my time at Tradeskills4U.

What are your plans for your business?

Consistent business is my initial aim. It has taken a long time to grow and become financially viable. Once I have my NVQ I’ll be looking at the Design course to improve my knowledge further. I want to push the EV charging aspect of the business as well as offer a fire alarm commissioning service.

Tell us what you like about being an electrician / running your own business?

I’ve never liked having a boss (other than my wife!). Running my own business was always going to be my first option. As for being an electrician, the job is always interesting. Fault finding is great and one of my favourite parts of the job. I also do work for builders and bathroom renovators and enjoy seeing the finished projects knowing that I did the work and that it has been done well.

What has your experience been like working in the industry so far?

I have had to learn a lot, fast. Best practice on cable routing, working out how people’s houses have been wired, where problems are likely and when customers aren’t telling you the whole truth about what they have been trying to fix before calling you in are all things that I’ve had to learn on the job.

What advice would you give to someone looking to train as an electrician?

  • Get booked on with Tradeskills4U and get your qualifications. I love my job and am so glad that I made the decision to study with them. You will gain so much knowledge but you will need to supplement it with real world experience. Find employment whilst you study and it will set you up for when you finish as well as helping you during the course.
  • Use the tutors and all the staff, they know what they are talking about and will help you when you need it.
  • Don’t point at electrics, you might misjudge the distance and it really hurts.
  • Bring a packed lunch, I ate way too many pies during my time at Warrington Tradeskills4U!

How has your training with Trade Skills 4U helped you achieve your goals?

I have my own business and am happy in what I do. The results speak for themselves. Seriously though, my time at Tradeskills4U set me up well to start my new career. I learnt so much on the course and still echoes in my personal development now. I rediscovered enjoyment in learning at 38 and it is helping me to grown my business and my skill set.

As an alternative to a full apprenticeship I can’t recommend it highly enough.

And remember – Test, test, test.

We would like to thank Liam for sharing his experiences with us and we wish him and his business all the best for the future. You can read Liam’s original case study here.