Romford Business: How a car crash and a crash course helped Ian, 35, switch from caring to wiring

PUBLISHED: 17:38 21 August 2013 | UPDATED: 17:38 21 August 2013

Former carer Ian Chalkley, 35, 'switched' careers and is now a self-employed electrician

Former carer Ian Chalkley, 35, 'switched' careers and is now a self-employed electrician


For Harold Hill dad Ian Chalkley, changing careers was like flicking a switch – literally.

Now a self-employed electrician, Ian had been a carer for 15 years but found the low pay and the long hours less than ideal.

So when the 35-year-old first thought about becoming an electrician, it was like a light bulb going on.

“I know several plumbers and plasterers, but only one electrician,” he explained. “People are always saying electricians are hard to come by.”

Ian started his course with adult educators New Career Skills back in January 2012 – but in fact it was a car crash that gave him the impetus to finish the theory work.

“I didn’t have much to do,” he said. “I couldn’t drive or go anywhere, so I ended up fast-tracking my career.

“I’d had enough of watching TV – it bored the life out of me – so I did the theory side of the course within three months. It’s meant to take six.”

And once he was back on his feet, bright spark Ian went on to complete the course with practical assessments.

Now he’s set up his own business – I&T Electrical – named after his and his partner Tina’s initials.

It’s a challenge, but one he’s relishing.

“I’m still relying on friends and family who have work I can do,” he admitted. “It’s hard to get yourself established because the money coming in is going straight out on advertising, equipment and stuff you never thought you’d need.”

And when you get down to it, carer to electrician isn’t as big a career switch as all that.

“I’ve always been a hands-on kind of character,” explained Ian, who has a 12-year-old son.

Some of his care clients have even asked him to do electrical work for them.

“I have my CRB check,” he added, “and people feel reassured by that, especially if I’m working in the homes of people who are vulnerable.”

To find out more about retraining with New Career Skills call 0800 037 9934 or visit

To contact Ian call 07967 635 020 or email

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