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Former Student Invents the Speedy Sparky!

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 21st October 2016


We recently came across a new interesting product when browsing through a trade website and were excited to find out more about it. After a little digging, we found out the new creation on the scene, Speedy Sparky, was actually invented by one of our former students Barry Shaw from Hemel Hempstead!

We contacted Barry to find out more about his product, what inspired him to create it and how Trade Skills 4U helped him.

Barry explains the idea of the Speedy Sparky first came about in 2011 when he was completing the first-fix on a run of three-storey town houses. He realised he would be duplicating work across all the properties and knew there was a way he could speed the process up. That was when he had a lightning bolt moment, he carefully thought of a new tool that would comply with regulations and help his workflow and speed on site.

That evening after work, he decided to create a makeshift stencil that would pinpoint and mark up where each socket would go, ensuring they were level and conformed to BS7671 and Building Regulations Part M.   

The next day, he took his new homemade tool into work and finished his job in no time. He claims the new piece of equipment sped up his work five-fold and was completed to a high standard. Barry admitted his first proto-type needed some extra thought and attention with regards to the design so decided to flatten the model and incorporate a spirit level for extra accuracy.

The overall Speedy Sparky design now consists of:

Tough, lightweight plastic with structural ribbing on the back

30°angle markings to clearly position your sockets

40°angle markings for drilling holes

Spirit level to ensure precision

The tool can be used on various surfaces including; plasterboard and worktops which Barry demonstrates in his video below:

So how did Barry go from being a complete novice to an inventor?

Barry had a few different roles before becoming an electrician including, graphic designer and a model promotional staffing agency owner. After doing these jobs for several years he decided he wanted a reliable income, and thought to himself he had never come across a tradesman who struggled financially so he decided to retrain as an electrician.

He found Trade Skills 4U and initially did the C&G 2330 Level 2 and 3 in 2009 (now C&G 2365). Since then Barry has completed the Inspection and Testing courses as well as Commercial Solar PV installation too.

Since finishing his initial training he has worked with a few electrical training companies from building firms to solar installation. It was within the first 5 months of finishing the training he came up with the Speedy Sparky invention.

Barry believes his time at Trade Skills 4U helped him develop the problem solving knowledge and thought processing techniques to enable him to create the Speedy Sparky product.

Here at Trade Skills 4U we are really impressed with Barry and his product, it's always great to hear back from students who have achieved success once they have finished their qualifications.

We wish you the best of luck for the future Barry! 

Categories: ex student, speedy sparky, inventor