Drew Styles, UK Plumber of the Year 2017 and member of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) tells us a bit about himself and why he is proud to be a professional.
Why did you choose a career in the plumbing and heating industry?
“I’m a fourth generation plumber in my family, so it really is in the genes. I grew up around the trade and got stuck in from the age of six by watching my grandad on the jobs he was doing. I always enjoyed it and knew from then really that a career in plumbing and heating was something I’d want for myself and that one day I’d eventually be my own boss – which is exactly what I do today with my own business, Drew Styles Plumbing and Heating.”
What has your career path been like?
“Rather than jump straight into the family business after becoming qualified, I went to work for a housing association in order to get as much experience as possible. I only planned to be there for a few years but decided to stay on when my grandad died – as my original intention was to join him and work together following my time at the HA. After 10 years of learning lots there, however, I decided to go it alone in 2015 and I am really happy I did.”
When and why did you join the CIPHE?
“I joined when I first started my own business and was attracted to becoming a member because of the professional heritage and excellent reputation the CIPHE has. My grandad was a member and it gave him pride to be part of the CIPHE. I feel the same way about it too. Committing to membership shows you take your trade seriously and, as there are criteria you need to meet to join, not just anybody will be accepted. My CIPHE membership is a badge of personal pride and the CPD and e-learning support available to all members is particularly good too.”
What advice would you give to those just starting out?
“Always listen and take everything on board, the bad as well as the good – you will learn more from your mistakes than your successes, especially when just starting out. This is the key to success as you will always learn something and the feedback will help you to keep going and push yourself to do better. Even when you are established you should never stop challenging yourself, and in this career there is always room to grow and try something different.”
Do you have a career highlight?
“It has to be winning the UK Plumber of the Year 2017 title. The stakes were high, with lots of impressive finalists, so it was an even more amazing achievement for me to be recognised in this way and be crowned champion. The industry is really supportive and many initiatives exist like this, which helps to attract new talent and gives those of us who have been in the trade a while motivation to do well too.”