Daniel Langford had a prestigious job in the City of London, a Mercedes-Benz, a company credit card, free meals out and weekends at golf and horse racing entertaining clients. But he says the best decision he has ever made was giving all that up to become a plumber.
Daniel, who has set up his own plumbing business in Hertfordshire, is the first to admit that he enjoyed the status of his job and being a commercial director of a big company. But Daniel says: “The trappings were nice but it’s much nicer to be able to spend time with my family.”
The 39 year old from Bovingdon in Hertfordshire, swapped his Mercedes for a van with plumbing supplies in and his company logo on it and sitting in an office for hands-on work, for mending leaks to fitting taps.
He had been unhappy in his job for some time. He had a 110-mile round trip every day and hardly got to see his children, two-year-old Ben and four-year-old Georgie, in the week.
“I only really saw them at the weekend and then you have other stuff that you have to do as well,” he says. “I really wanted to do something closer to home and I wanted to do a job I actually liked.”
Daniel had always enjoyed plumbing. When he left college at 16 he had trained as a building services engineer. At the time a site foreman told him that he should come out from behind the desk and work with his hands but he felt that the office was the place for him.
But over the years, he had always enjoyed tinkering around with tools and doing plumbing jobs on his own home. “I saw it as problem solving,” he explains. “I thought ‘if I can get paid for doing something I enjoy, that would be perfect.’” Daniel adds that he wanted a job that was recession-proof and thought plumbing would be ideal. “People always need a plumber!” he says.
He did a lot of research into courses available and chose to retrain with New Career Skills. New Career Skills specialises in retraining mature career changers for careers as plumbers, electricians and in renewables and microgeneration.
“They had really good testimonials, they offered the qualifications I wanted and I could retrain locally,” he explains.
He began his course in August while still working for his previous company and completed his training in January. He says that while it was hard work juggling two jobs and a very technical subject, his background made it easy for him.
After getting home at 7pm and making dinner he would then hit the books at 9pm, determined to get through the course and set up his own business as quickly as possible.
He continued working while he was studying and took voluntary redundancy when he completed the course, ready to go it alone.
“I set up my business before I finished the course so I was all set to go. In the last five weeks I’ve had 100 hits on my website every week and I’ve had lots of work. Once I started, things really snowballed.”
And is it what he thought it would be?
“I love it!” he enthuses. “I don’t see it as work. Working out how to solve problems and doing it is a nice feeling. I’ve never really enjoyed a job before.”
He also loves having more time to spend with his family. “We all get to sit down and have dinner together now and we can even go out for a meal. I can pick them up from nursery and have the whole evening together. It makes things easier on my wife too.”
Daniel admits that he had wondered if he would mind giving up his high status job but he hasn’t looked back. “I haven’t thought about my old life,” he says. “I don’t miss it at all. Now I feel totally relaxed and I really enjoy going to work. I’m my own boss.
“I really enjoy being the local village plumber!”
To find out more about retraining with New Career Skills call Freephone 0800 037 9934 or visit www.newcareerskills.co.uk