“During my research I had come across some forum talk online which was very negative about the cost of the Guild’s training program. I guess it does seem like a lot of money to start with but, like most things, there is more to it than meets the eye and you get a lot more than just a few days in the class room. Once I understood what I was getting for the money, I was happy about committing to the scheme.
“Throughout my time at Sure Fire and on the work experience days, I heard the analogy of comparing sweeping with driving – once you have passed your test, then you start learning.”
Ali Swainston - ISIS Chimney Care
“And what do you do?”
“I’m a chimney sweep.”
“The reactions can be interesting, from amusement to sympathy. But what people don’t often realise is that chimney sweeping is probably one of the best jobs in the world!
“I have been sweeping for 7 years and have found it to be a very good way of life. Not only do we regularly enjoy the satisfaction of inspecting a flue that we just swept and see that it is looking spic and span, but much more besides.
“I get to travel throughout my region (stopping of for a bit of fly fishing – on the fly), meet interesting people, some of whom become friends and are given access to some very fancy homes and castles, where we usually wouldn’t be able to set foot over the door.
“What I like most about sweeping is the lifestyle. I have come to be at ease with the quiet period and enjoy a relaxed summer. The rest of the year is busy, but I can fill the diary to suit myself.
“The income is good – although it takes time to build up the business – and it will be more difficult in some areas than others.
“In the past year there have been two changes to my business. Firstly, Alasdair has come to work with me. He has a share in and runs a second branch of Fire Work. We have also begun more surveying work; I did the chimney survey course a few years ago, but only now feel confident to begin this type of work.
“A chimney sweeping business can be moulded to suit you. It does take a lot of time, cost and effort to build it up, but in my case, and for lots of other Guild members, the hard slog at the beginning has paid off.”
Jason Ross - Fire Work
“The course was fantastic, with excellent facilities and trainers who have been in the business for years and really know their stuff. I met some great people on the course who I am still in touch with.”
Jo Thurgur - Joanna Thurgur Chimney Sweep Services
In 2013 I decided to enter the chimney sweeping industry and paid to train as a sweep. After a couple of days training in a classroom I was given a certificate, sold some dodgy tools and wished the best of luck in my new career.
I discovered after a couple of years trading as an incompetent chimney sweep that I needed more than luck – some proper training was required as I was unintentionally putting people’s lives at risk.
“In 2016 I decided to bite the bullet and invest money in some proper training. I researched my options and came to the conclusion that the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps was my best option as I wanted to do things right this time.
From the moment I contacted the Guild I haven’t looked back. The training was very thorough, from the week in classroom with the excellent instructors through to practical on-site training with some excellent sweeps. All of them have been extremely helpful and if you don’t quite understand something they take the time to explain.
Since I joined the Guild my business has really taken off and I now feel properly qualified to deliver a very professional service. I’m still on a learning curve and when I encounter a problem on a job there’s always someone who can give me advice and reassurance which makes the job so much easier.
I look forward to being part of the Guild in the future and taking my career forward with them.”
Nick Rance - Rance and Broom Chimney sweeping
“I found the course to be very knowledgeable. Being a Guild sweep has given me greater confidence when going to customer’s homes and this has enabled me to become a HETAS approved chimney sweep.”
Richard Lawson - Hexham Chimney Sweeps