Never too old to become a plumbing apprentice!

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David Kelly is a plumbing apprentice at Cardiff and Vale college in Wales. Just like other apprentices, he is new to the trade and learning a lot about plumbing from his lecturers. Unlike his fellow apprentices, he is 60 years old! We caught up with David to ask him about his new plumbing career and his life before plumbing.


HIP Magazine: What were you doing before the course? 

David Kelly: I was involved in the catering industry for 20 years and had a long career in the finance sector including working as an assistant manager for a major bank in the channel islands.  After arriving back in the UK a few years ago, I decided that the finance industry was not for me anymore. A year ago precisely  my thoughts started to drift towards going back to college after 30 years to study, but I did not have a clue as to what.


HIP: What made you decide to take the plunge?

DK: I am one of the 80% who believed they ended up in the wrong job. One day I had a eureka moment, where I wanted more out of life. I decided to take a big leap into the unknown by enquiring about a Plumbing and Heating course at Cardiff and Vale  college. The process was daunting and pretty scary because I was frightened of failure.


HIP: How did your family react?

DK: My children and grandchildren reacted with complete astonishment because I did not tell them until I had already enrolled! But they now are embracing my journey as a plumbing apprentice.

HIP: Which plumbing apprentice course are you doing at Cardiff and Vale?

DK: The course is full time Level 2, 16 hours a week.


HIP: How have you found it so far?

DK: I absolutely love the course and didn’t realise how much I would enjoy the traditional methods of plumbing and embrace the change. I auditioned for the X Factor in 2011 and I remembered the fear and trepidation in singing in front of a judge. But that was nothing compared to walking into a college workshop for the first time! It was like hell on earth but I have absolutely no regrets.


HIP: How have the others on the course reacted to you joining?

DK: My plumbing apprentice colleagues treat me like one of the boys. We have a great laugh and are very supportive of each other. I would also like to make a special mention to my course tutors Jason and Matthew for their support and patience.


HIP: When are you due to qualify?

DK: I am due to qualify in April/May 2019, and I cannot wait! I plan to go self-employed once I’ve qualified.


What a story! In David’s words ‘you’re never too old for a career change, I refuse to accept that my age should limit my potential.’ David – we salute you!



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