Plumbers need a good head to get ahead

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  • Imhotep was a skilled tradesman who designed and built structures that have lasted thousands of years

    Imhotep was a skilled tradesman who designed and built structures that have lasted thousands of years


“It’s the plumber, I’ve come to fix the sink”

An age-old joke that many tradespersons tend to use when they are greeting each other. Yet a very profound statement that encapsulates that if one has a problem with their sink or any other water issues, they will most likely call a plumber.

Over the years, yet another saying has taken a foothold in our society when speaking about persons in various trades:

“Well, if they can’t use their heads, they have learnt to use their hands.”

If you take the time to speak with any skilled tradesperson, or go one step farther to learn any given trade, you quickly learn that tradespersons indeed have to use their hands and, more importantly, their heads.

Ask yourselves: can a plumber show up to fix your sink without knowing the correct size of pipework associated with the job? Can they properly replace the pipework without knowing how to measure accurately down to the millimetre?

As a youngster, I spent plenty of weekends and summers working with my uncle, master carpenter James Famous. I accompanied him on countless job sites, watching he and other Bermudian tradesmen build houses from the ground up.

On these job sites, they built foundations, walls, door frames, window frames and indeed the roofs covering these houses. Some 40 years later, I can drive around Bermuda and still see these structures standing magnificently.

After graduating from Berkeley, I had the honour of attending Bermuda College to study automotive science under the tutelage of several instructors, including the late, great Alfred Carey. There we were immersed in learning several subjects including business management, English, mathematics, graphical communications, electrical wiring, welding, metalwork and computer science.

Essentially, we spent more time working with our heads than our hands, as the first rule of being an automotive technician is to be able to diagnose whatever challenges are put in front of us and find the suitable solution to the problem. Some would refer to that as analytical skills.

For the past 25 years, I have worked at Belco alongside hundreds of Bermuda’s finest technicians, employed in fields as vast as — but not limited to — computer science, electrical generation, electrical distribution and, yes, plumbing.

Along the way, we have continuously to be upgrading ourselves in safety procedure, customer relations and technical changes.

This same regimen can be found in any given trade, from air conditioning and refrigeration, auto-body repair and chef to masonry, tiling and upholstery. Basically any tradesperson works with both their hands and their heads.

Take a look around any city in the world, you will see buildings of all shapes and sizes. Each and every one of those buildings was built by persons who had to use both brain power and manpower.

A prime example are the Pyramids at Giza, which have stood for 4,000 years and were built by skilled tradesmen.

The vehicles that transport you to work each day are built and maintained by tradespersons; the same tradespersons who made it effortless for you every time you flick on a switch, television or your warm shower.

As we prepare yet another set of high school graduates to enter the workplace, please remember to instil in them that if they choose to enter a technical field, they are no less than those who choose to enter academic fields.

Simply put, Bermuda needs more technically skilled Bermudians in the workforce, including plumbers.

• Christopher Famous is a Progressive Labour Party organiser. Reach out to him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail carib_pro@yahoo.com

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Published May 19, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated May 19, 2017 at 7:44 am)

Plumbers need a good head to get ahead

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