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A TEENAGER has become the youngest ever chimney sweep to pass assessments set by the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps.

Charlie Ross, aged 17, from Dunfermline in Fife, drove himself to the Surefire centre in Ripley, Derbyshire at the beginning of October and passed the standard assessments. He is now working in the east of Scotland, sweeping chimneys in Edinburgh and Fife for Firework chimney sweeps Ltd. [sic].

Charlie was driving to his next job when we contacted him for a comment. He said that being a member of the Guild, and the fact he’d passed his training, reassured any customers suspicious of his professionalism due to his age.

“It helps people to trust me. It feels good to be an independent sweep at the age of 17. Some customers look at you cautiously but most people are happy to see a young sweep come in. I find chimneys interesting and enjoy meeting different people when I’m out and about. Each job is different, which is interesting.”

Charlie said that he was aiming to be in the profession for life and he found being part of the Guild forum helpful for finding out extra information.

“I had a lot of training beforehand with my uncle Jason before the assessment,” he said. “So the course was itself was more about giving me understanding, about finding things out.”

Uncle Jason Ross, founder of Firework chimney sweeps, and based in Inverness and the Highlands, said the chimneys being swept by Charlie were often in tenement buildings, which posed different challenges to those of the large detached homes of the Highlands, where the youngster had received a lot of his training.

“We are very pleased for Charlie,” added Jason. “He has got on and he is getting on with it. He’s doing well. He drove himself down to the assessment and, as a practical guy, he didn’t struggle with the courses.

“Of course, as a youngster, dealing with customers is more challenging but I’ve had great feedback. He’s been working by himself for a number of weeks now.”

“Sometimes I work with him if it is a very challenging job but people learn a lot by doing sweeping themselves, and that is what he’s doing. I expected I would get a lot more phone calls from him but actually he’s getting on with it.”

Lawson Wight, chairman of the Guild, was delighted at Charlie’s progress.

“Congratulations to Charlie on his achievements and his uncle Jason for training him in both the trade and the business, alongside our respected Scotland director, John Stone.

“It’s fantastic to see someone so young taking the trade so seriously and it’s great for the future of the profession.

“It’s interesting that about 20 percent of sweeps on our course are training to work in existing Guild members’ businesses.

“Charlie’s achievement also shows that interest in the Guild is growing in Scotland and we’re looking forward to launching Guild courses specifically for Scottish Sweeps, in Scotland itself, in the middle of next year, 2019.”