Name: David Murby
Company: Prospect Electrics
Course: Bronze Package, C&G 2377, C&G 2391
What did you do before you trained to be an electrician?
I left school and went to university to do a degree in physics. After graduating I started working for the then TSB Group as a programmer. I spent 25 years working with software for various companies in banking, warehousing and then for many years in motor insurance. I progressed up the career ladder from programmer to manager to IT Director, finally ending up as the Managing Director of a division of a FTSE 100 company. As I gained ‘promotions’ I moved further and further away from the activities I enjoyed, so I decided to go self employed as a contractor and interim manager. After completing one long contract, I was trying to figure out what to do next as I was getting a little frustrated working on long term projects that I managed but didn’t produce anything directly myself.
I have a very close friend from school, Norman, who after many years working for a bank became an electrician about 10 years ago, so I was inspired by his change of career. I was fortunate that I had a little money in the bank so was able to take some time to train and then invest in the business to set myself up. After the initial training with Trade Skills 4U I was able to spend some time with Norman to learn many of the real-world practical skills that it’s almost impossible to learn in a classroom.
Which courses have you taken with Trade Skills 4U and why?
I took the Silver Domestic installer package initially as my aim was, and still is, to focus on the domestic installation business.
After about 6 months I took the 2391-52 Inspection and Testing course as I felt this would greatly improve my testing and inspection knowledge as well as allow me to carry out EICRs, which has been really useful to my business.
What was your training experience like with Trade Skills 4U?
I thought the set-up in Gatwick was excellent. The facilities are very good and very professional. The instructors are really knowledgeable and approachable and the support team that back them up are very helpful. When I was looking to do the 2391-52 I looked briefly at other facilities nearer to me in Reading but very quickly made the decision that it was worth the travelling to go back to Trade Skills 4U.
Tell us about your electrical business and how these course have helped you?
My business is just me and it has built up well over the 18 months since I started. I’m fortunate that I have been able to build up the projects I’ve done over time from simple light fitting changes and socket installations, right through to outdoor garden lighting projects and a three-story extension full wiring first and second fit.
The courses I’ve done have given me all the theoretical knowledge I’ve needed to do all of this, although I do find myself regularly going back to the books of course. Building up the practical knowledge carefully, making sure I don’t take on anything I was unsure about my capability for and having my old school friend Norman around as a sounding board, has enabled me to do the practical stuff that the courses equipped me for.
What are your plans for your business?
I’m happily going to stay on my own, building a solid business with a good reputation. Word of mouth has been very helpful to me already and I think many of the skills I had before I changed career have positioned me well, complementing the electrical knowledge I’ve gained. Skills like organisation, communication and customer focus that are common to any business regardless of industry.
Are you planning on taking any other courses to add to your revenue stream?
I thought about doing the Solar installer course but that not is so much of a job for someone on their own. Also I decided that at 50 I’m a little old to be climbing around on roofs! I may well do the Electric Vehicle Installer Course but at the moment I seem to be busy enough with the core domestic work. Clearly, I’m going to need to do the 18th Edition updates and future revisions to keep up to date.
What has your experience been like working in the industry?
I get great pleasure from the feeling of completion I get from finishing something every week, and sometimes every day. Coming from software projects that can drag on for months and sometimes years without any obvious major output milestones this is very refreshing. When you get to the end of the day, press the switch and the lights come on and the customer is very happy, it is a great feeling.
I’ve also found it interesting coming from an industry where I could be involved in multi-million-pound projects where there is very individual accountability when things go wrong. In this industry you can go and do a project that could take as little as a day and be of the order of a couple of hundred pounds and, if it is done wrong, there is real danger to the customer and true accountability for the contractor (you can go to prison in the extreme). Part of the job is educating the customer because what seems simple to them can often involve a lot more than they think and I now see why the public often undervalue the skilled trades. This is where being a member of the NICEIC has been useful to me and I see that NAPIT, ELECSA and other trade bodies are trying hard to get the public to understand the needs to have correctly trained people carry out work.
What advice would you give to someone looking to train as an electrician?
Get a good mentor – I could not have done this without my friend Norman who has been an inspiration and sounding block throughout the whole process. You need someone you can discuss things with and learn from. Also, have a good financial plan so you know what you are getting into as the set-up costs are not small if you want to do this properly.
How would you describe the facilities and training at Trade Skills 4U?
Firstly, all the instructors I dealt with were first class. They explained everything clearly and sometimes from two or three different approaches to allow for the different learning styles of different class members. They have great experience (and great patience) to draw upon.
The facilities are very good for learning. There is plenty of practical application and opportunity to get on the tools as well as the theoretical learning. The balance between the two in the Silver course I did was really good.
We would like to thank David for sharing his experiences with us and wish him well for the future.