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“Get yourself a trade and be willing to keep on learning.”

NAME: Dan James, Fine Finisher
FROM: Merthyr Tydfil
BASED: South Wales
JOINED: Plastic Surgeon August 2013
PROMOTED: to Finisher Grade 1 Sept 2014

MY JOURNEY
Having got a handful of GCSE’s I quit the sixth form to start a paid job dry-lining with my father. Unfortunately when he passed away I struggled to keep the business going and spent 18 months as a domiciliary carer to pay the bills and look after my family. Since starting with Plastic Surgeon I have had a real feeling of security and I love the work, which varies all the time. I made the grade from a trainee to a Finisher Level 1 after just over a year and really there’s as many hours overtime as you can eat!

ABOUT THE JOB
Plastic Surgeon is a specialist in for all the different building substrates and components; and as I am trained to cover both domestic interior and exterior masonry materials I work on a very wide range of projects. A lot of the work is near to home in South Wales, but I have travelled a lot as well, including to Hamburg and Rotterdam where the company has been involved with the refit of cruise ships. Every day brings a new challenge. I think it’s a pretty marvellous career, with a far more professional company than any other I have ever encountered.

Dan’s Career Tip: Get yourself a trade and be willing to keep on learning. I suppose it helps if you ‘re interested in what you’re doing and I’ve enjoyed all the different skills we’ve been taught at Plastic Surgeon, but particularly the wood graining, because I love art: I could do it all day.

Q&A

What do you love most about working in construction?

The independence really, once you’re qualified and proved yourself then you’ re not looking over your shoulder all the time. Instead you just get on with it and that also means you tend to move about to different sites and meet a variety of  people.

What’s the biggest reason young people should consider a career in construction?

By getting involved with the building industry they are setting out their stall for the future, the construction industry has to progress for them to have a decent world to grow up in, and once you’re in there should always be a job for you making things better.

What do you consider the coolest building structure in the world?

Mount Rushmore.

What is the most memorable building from your childhood and why?

The Town Hall in Merthyr Tydfil which in its time served as a gaol, a nightclub and plenty of other roles.  I’ve been back there with Plastic Surgeon, repairing a load of porcelain tiles which were originally made by the Doulton Company before it became famous for dinner services and ornaments.

Favourite building in the UK and Why? 

Cardiff Swimming Pool and Sports Centre. It’s built mainly in glass and just looks magnificent.

What’s your coolest moment in construction?

Completing a wave form ceiling over a swimming pool in Barry, where the contours rose and fell by about a metre, and we had to shape it all in plasterboard, scrim cloth and bonding plaster before the top coat was applied. Seeing it all finally painted blue was great.

What has been your proudest moment in construction?

I always take pride in my work, but when I heard I’d got the job with Plastic Surgeon it was special because I had been in a bad place financially and emotionally – I was really happy.

Dan’s Career Tip: Get yourself a trade and be willing to keep on learning. I suppose it helps if you ‘re interested in what you’re doing and I’ve enjoyed all the diiferent skills we’ve been taught at Plastic Surgeon, but particularly the wood graining, because I love art: I could do it all day.

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