We are asked on a daily basis; what make a guild sweep any different to any other?
There are three answers to this question
- Consistent high standards
- Very high levels of training
- Ongoing access to Industry Knowledge
It is the opinion of the Guild that in order to be considered a competent sweep, a certain level must be achieved and this unfortunately takes time. In years past a chimney sweep would have spent 2 years apprenticeship with a master chimney sweep before going out on their own. In reality nowadays this is not practical and does not allow for the necessary classroom theoretical element. To accommodate both theoretical and practical the Guild training program for new sweeps consists of 3 days theoretical training at the Sure-Fire technical centre http://www.surefire.org.uk/, followed by several weeks with a master mentor on our work based mentoring program. This Mentoring program is an industry first as it gives much of what an apprenticeship does without the long time scale. This program is designed to give a sweep the necessary knowledge to be able to undertake the job safely and professionally.
We are often asked why do you require so much theoretical training to be a chimney sweep?
A. Chimney sweeping today is far more that just cleaning the flue in-fact a professional sweep can advise on the appliance installation, chimney fire safety, carbon monoxide issues as well as giving invaluable advice on things such as fuel types and burning cycles. Furthermore sweeping chimneys carries inherent health and safety risks. This alone requires extensive training to safeguard the sweep and the customers property. Chimney physics, combustion theory of hydrocarbon based fuels and fluid dynamics are also on the curriculum . This extra knowledge helps a good sweep understand why a chimney does or doesn`t work and inturn can undertake fault finding work in an expert manner.
We are sure that as you search through the Internet you will find so called training providers that will suggest that you can become a competent chimney sweep within a day. In reality this is impossible no matter how good the teacher or student, there is simply too much information to convey and absorb. The only viable alternative to the Guilds training program, is the NVQ level 2 training run by the NACS. This training is also in-depth and is accepted along with the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps by HETAS for the purposes of becoming a HETAS approved sweep.
Ongoing training and Master Chimney Sweeps Program
The Guild is a forward looking organisation and is always keen to promote further education. There are several courses which will be beneficial to chimney sweeps, some of these are;
- Working at heights
- Camera surveying
- Pressure and smoke testing
- Solid Fuel Awareness (HETAS certification)
- Solid Fuel Engineer
- Steel Chimney Systems
- Installation of Flexible Liners
- Appliance installation
- Site Safety
- Bio-Mass Expert
Master Chimney Sweeps Status is only offered to members who have over 2 years experience as a full member. These special members have proven their competence in many areas including full HETAS registration. For more details on the GMCS master Sweeps program contact Mr David Wooffindin GMCS Training Trustee.
Chimney sweeping is now a modern and clean profession that has come a long way since the days of the chimney boys. A guild Training course will open up a world of modern equipment, training, expertise and certification to both the newest of sweeps and the experienced alike.