We recently had a chat with National Tradesmen Day finalist Keith Brown and asked him what it takes to be an Irwin Tools’ Top Tradesman. We also reveal this year’s winner.
Irwin‘s National Tradesmen Day is now in its ﬁfth year, and electrician Keith Brown has been shortlisted for the 2015 ﬁnal. The 46-year-old, from Bromsgrove, ﬁrst discovered the world of electrics whilst completing a multi-skilled apprenticeship. Now a self-employed electrician, Keith has 13 years
of experience under his belt working on numerous projects, both private and sub-contracted.
What do you feel makes a top tradesman?
Being an electrician requires a natural eye for detail to ensure that every job is completed to the highest standard. Missing the smallest detail can mean an entire project doesn’t come together. You also need to be a good listener as every customer or project has a unique set of requirements.
What do you enjoy most about being an electrician?
The best part of my job is being able to make a difference to people’s lives. I think being part of any skilled trade is something to be proud of and I ﬁnd it rewarding to work with youngsters who are just starting on their own career path.
What is the most important part of your job?
The most important part of being an electrician is safety. People put their faith in you, especially in jobs such as installing ﬁre alarms in homes. People trust you with their families’ lives so this comes with great responsibility.
Why do you think personal recommendations are so important for new customers when choosing a tradesman?
In any trade, a personal recommendation is a sure way of getting repeat work. A reference is far more valuable than any self-promotion because people trust others in a similar situation or looking for a similar service. A tradesman is only as good as his last work and when you rely on referrals this is even more important.
How important do you think apprenticeships are?
I am a strong advocate of skill sharing and believe it is important to offer youngsters experience outside of their usual day-to-day tasks. I will always take on a responsibility to teach the younger generation, because I think it is important for the industry. The industry’s technology and regulations change so much, it’s important for new starters to be up-to-date and gain hands-on experience.
What has been your career highlight so far?
A career highlight for me was managing the fire alarm systems across the Olympic grounds for the 2012 games, ensuring the safety of sportspeople, staff and spectators. To play even a small part in this historic event is something I will remember forever.
How does it feel to have your work recognised through the National Tradesmen Day competition?
It was such a huge surprise to hear that one of my juniors had nominated me for the competition; it’s great to know that my efforts are appreciated. I think youngsters coming into the trade can beneﬁt a great deal from someone other than a tutor or employer and I hope this initiative encourages more experienced tradespeople to take the time out to share their knowledge. This is how we will grow the industry and produce a new generation of highly skilled tradespeople.
Keith was nominated by a former apprentice. He commented that Keith often went above and beyond his standard duties as a co-worker, taking budding electricians under his wing and sharing invaluable knowledge. Keith takes great pride in his work, and so as a mentor he is very well respected.
And the winner is…
Irwin Tools recently announced the winner of this year’s competition. Stacey Greenwell, from Stoke-on-Trent, impressed the expert judging panel with his dedication to the community. He was nominated for his commitment to rejuvenating what would be derelict areas of town, in order to provide homes and jobs for those in need. He was one of hundreds of nationwide nominations and beat ﬁve other ﬁnalists to be crowned 2015’s Ultimate Tradesman. As this year’s winner, Stacey was given the keys to a brand new Ford F150 4×4 truck worth over £35,000.
“I’m so thrilled to win the National Tradesmen Day competition,” said Stacey. “It feels good to know the work I do is appreciated and this award is a testament to the great team of individuals I work alongside. I never win anything and I know my family will be really proud.”