For anyone thinking about a career as a plumbing and heating engineer, Luke Oldfield offers some great insights. We asked the second-year apprentice about his experiences at work as well as what he gets up to once he has downed tools for the day.
We have barely begun the conversation about what it’s like to be an apprentice plumbing and heating engineer before Luke makes it clear he wants to do a nice, neat job. Luke is even quite precise about the way he talks, as well as the way he goes about his work.
Recently completed his second-year plumbing and heating apprenticeship and expects to become fully qualified by July 2019
Tonic Heating, Bristol
Precisely, what does he do when he’s not at work?
Away from work, Luke is anything but neat and tidy. His main interest turns out to be motocross!
Lumps, bumps and jumps
For those yet to come across it, motocross is that muddy, bumpy off-road motorbike racing that people do within enclosed circuits. The one that involves about 40 riders hurtling round an uneven track. There are more tight bends in motocross than you would find in a bungalow’s airing cupboard. It is definitely not a sport for wusses. Nor is it the sport you’d expect such a neat and tidy worker to do when he’s finished nipping up his compression fittings.
Motocross is quite an expensive hobby. So, while he revs through memories of the thrills and spills of his favourite sport, Luke brakes sharply to thank his parents for their support.
Tons of experience
In work terms, Luke has pipes and boilers in his blood. His dad Tony is his boss as well as his mentor and inspiration. He also has “a few cousins” in the trade. Two years into his apprenticeship, Luke can provide a flood of work examples. He works on servicing, landlord reports, plumbing maintenance at student flats and fitting boilers. It all sounds very impressive, especially when you remember that Luke is only 20 years old.
Luke wants to gain as much experience as possible. And it seems like he wants to gain it as quickly as possible. But just because he wants to sponge up skills, you can tell he takes real pride in his work when he says: “I’ll always do it as neat as possible and try not to leave any marks on the wall. Leaving it very neat, that’s what I like to do.”
A people person
Whether he is kicking up mud or cleaning down pipes, Luke is always good with people. He knows that pipe skills alone are not enough to run the business he aspires to own one day. He knows he needs “to be able to interact and be nice and friendly and know how to work out what the best way of doing things is to make it the best for the customer”.
Luke’s final sentence is sound advice for anyone interested in becoming an apprentice plumbing and heating engineer.