My whole life has been one great learning curve - long may it continue'
Thomas Welch left school at 16 and went straight into the construction industry. By the age of 19 he had started his first training course in slating and tiling at City & Guilds, which started him on the road to setting up his own business as a roof and decorating specialist. He has since completed numerous courses –all construction-related – and has won awards for his work from the Painting & Decorating Association.
Setting up his own business has been a hard slog for Thomas Welch, but he has come a long way since his first foray into construction aged 16. Welch quickly realised that to get ahead, he would have to stand out from the crowd. ‘Getting a qualification seemed an obvious way to be a cut above the rest, so I enrolled on a part-time slating and tiling course.’
He qualified 18 months later, the experience having boosted his self-esteem: ‘I finally felt like I knew what I was talking about.’ Full of enthusiasm, Welch soon started up his own business. ‘My dad chipped in with guidance, but it took five years to get going,’ he recalls. He continued to take as many City & Guilds courses as he could, from copper roofing to construction. ‘I believe you can always learn more in life,’ he says. Only this April, Welch completed a two day thatching course just for the fun of it. ‘It is not specifically relevant to my job but I feel it is important to prevent myself from stagnating.’
As a result of this drive to learn, Welch’s business has gone from strength to strength. ‘We have taken on projects like Sir Christopher Wren’s Royal Hospital and Lily Langtry’s old house.’ His eldest son, also called Thomas, has joined the business and, as his father did, took roofing, slating and tiling at City & Guilds. Welch thinks learning is a good foundation for life in general. ‘Now my son has more options – he could even become an NVQ assessor.’ Welch’s youngest son, Teddy, is also keen to join the business. ‘He has just left school and will hopefully start his NVQ next year, just as soon as he is 18. There is nothing like keeping it in the family.’
Welch encourages all his employees to do training: ‘I fund my staff to do it. It is not easy for a small, family-run business like ours, but it is worth it. My whole life has been one great learning curve – long may it continue.’
This story was written by City & Guilds in their Broadsheet magazine.
This article is from The Decorator magazine, December 2009 - January 2010, from The Painting & Decorating Association.
We are a Multi Award Winning established family business specialising in several disciplines within the building industry. We have many years experience and are fully qualified Traditional Master Craftsmen and give a professional service at all times. We work on all large and small domestic dwellings, commercial and industrial properties and no job is ever too small.
We have studied at numerous colleges, training establishments and universities throughout the UK over the past years learning our crafts, also at professional levels and still attend restoration & conservation courses, keeping our skills and ideas fresh and up to date.
All works carried out by fully insured, experienced and qualified City & Guilds Craft, Advanced Craft and N.V.Q. Level 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.& 6 Master Craftsmen to the highest standards of workmanship, integrity and courtesy. CITB - ConstructionSkills Registered.
Graduateship of The City & Guilds of London Institute (GCGI).
Fellow of The Institute of Leadership & Management.
Fellow of The Institute of Roofing (FIoR).
Licentiateship of City & Guilds (LCGI).
Series 6000 Construction Craft Supplementary Studies.
Achievement of Exams and Assignments passed in Construction.
Colour and Pattern in Buildings.
Properties and Functions of Materials.
Design in Building Work.
Principles of Construction.
Vice President of The London Association of Master Decorators 2017/2018.
Committee Member of The Painting & Decorating Association Trophy Awards Competition.
Chairman of The Southern Roofing Training Group 2004/5/6.
Vice Chairman The Southern Roofing Training Group 2002/3/4.