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How one career changer-turned-chimney sweep

It’s early days, but I’m already learning that the only one who can be relied upon to move things forward is me. Others are kind enough to help but if I don’t drive stuff, it simply won’t happen. Tom Rawsterne

Changing career couldn’t be easier with the Ready For Business’ Programme. Read on to learn about one of our inspirational entrepreneurs, who after 28 years in local government, decided to make a career U-turn.

Tom Rawsterne from Gotham, Nottingham, is no stranger to business. Having been Nottingham County Councils Regional Development Officer, he supported local businesses and stimulated job creation in the area. Inspired to go-solo when he employed a local chimney sweep to clear his home chimney, he contacted NBV (part of the Nwes Group) and took his first steps into self-employment.

He said: ‘I wanted to have a complete career change which suited me. The seasonal nature of chimney sweeping is the perfect match for me, and the only way to ensure I got employed was to employ myself!’

After attending the Group’s East Midlands Start-up Seminar– a one day course which helps people develop their business idea and ask all those burning-business questions- he boldly got the ball rolling and immediately signed up his business, Happy Hearth Chimney Sweep Services, with the HMRC.

“The Start-up Seminar was extremely useful,” said Tom. “I felt free to ask ‘idiot’ questions without fear of looking a fool.”

With the help of his business advisor, Tom was given the guidance and support to gain the training needed to be a fully-fledged self-employed chimney sweep and to transfer his previous skills in local government into his new role.

He launched his new occupation with vigor and also called upon the help of a mentor- another established chimney sweep- shadowing him and gaining practical experience, along with picking up the tricks of the trade.

He said, “It’s early days, but I’m already learning that the only one who can be relied upon to move things forward is me. Others are kind enough to help but if I don’t drive stuff, it simply won’t happen.”

Now servicing chimneys in Nottingham, Derbyshire and Leicestershire, Tom will soon be a member of the Institute of Chimney Sweeps. He hopes that his effective communication skills developed over the years within the public sector, matched with access to the most modern equipment, will help him rival his competitors.

Tom hasn’t lost the aims that were established in his previous life as Regional Development Officer. For now, he is working alone cultivating his business and advancing growth, but in the future he hopes that will be able to create jobs in his local area by taking on an apprentice.

“I would like to take on a youngster and be in a position to hand it over to them, giving them a viable future once I have called it a day. We’ll see how things go.”

To find out more about Tom and Happy Hearth Chimney Sweep Service visit: www.happyhearth.co.uk

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