How Eric engineered a future in gas
After 38 years’ service, WO1 Eric Bristow, 57, is leaving the Forces this December to work as a gas engineer, having specialised as an Artificer in the Royal Marines. While serving, he achieved an engineering degree, as well as civilian plumbing and heating qualifications.
He registered for ELC in order to pursue his further education, choosing the courses he did with a view to his future career and the pathway to that role. His education advisor encouraged him to ‘always shop around for the courses you want – not everything offered will suit your needs’.
During resettlement, he undertook City & Guilds Plumbing and Domestic Heating training courses at levels 1, 2 and 3, as well as an Unvented Hot Water Systems course. These provided the basic knowledge he needed to go on to – and do well in – his gas engineer course.
Choosing Gastec as his training provider for subsequent study, he says his chosen course, New Entrant Gas, was ‘well structured and caters for all types of student’. The format was a mix of academic study and practical training that supplemented the civilian qualifications he had already obtained. It was also residential and he found the hotel environment conducive to easy study.
Having just started out on his first job since leaving the Forces, as a self-employed gas engineer, Eric says he enjoys being his own boss in a role that sees him working mainly on central heating systems, from servicing and maintenance to full house system design and installation. He is already finding that he draws on some particular aptitudes he gained in the military – timekeeping, project management and engineering skills in particular. And he’s earning more than he did in his Forces role.
Asked what advice he would give to others going through resettlement, he responds: ‘Plan early. Don’t leave the planning to others – be proactive.’ And with regard to claiming ELC, he also has some sound advice: ‘Book early and ensure you get all the paperwork done on time.’