SPARKS

INTERVIEW: Dans the Engineer

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Dan Jackson is a YouTuber electrician who has vlogged his way through the past year, discussing a wide range of topics affecting his trade.

Dans the Engineer captures a ‘day in the life of an electrician’, and has gathered more than 2,000 subscribers and 178,000 views on YouTube, with many interacting with him as he discusses products, issues and the industry.

He has been the owner of his company, Blueserve Facilities, for over eight years but has now left his role to start a new adventure: to travel the world with his family.

SPARKS Magazine: How did you get into the electrical industry?

Dan Jackson: I started A-Levels and I didn’t enjoy them at all, so I quit. I got a job as admin staff for an engineering company and I didn’t see a future in it. To work up in that company, you needed a degree and money was never going to be great. As a 16-year-old at the time, I was motivated by money early on. My dad is a builder and I told him I wanted to come and work for him. I enjoyed building with him on weekends and during school holidays. He said to me, ‘You don’t want to get into construction, it’s one of the most stressful industries in the world. I suggest you go to college and get a trade official qualification. What about electrics?’ I looked into it and loved the idea of it. I signed up with JTL and basically sent 200 letters to employers. In those days we didn’t use emails that often! I got one interview with a company and they accepted me there and then. That’s how I started my apprenticeship.

SPARKS: Tell us a bit about what you do on YouTube.
DJ: I started making videos because I wanted to create a link between clients, electricians and also governing bodies – everyone who is involved in the industry – to be that impartial thing. I’ve never promoted my own electrical company, it’s been more of an individual thing. I speak to the NICEIC, NAPIT, I’m a fellow of The IET, and I’m a contractor myself. I deal with clients. It’s making awareness about certain topics and things that people find interesting.

SPARKS: What sort of videos do you make?
DJ: I’ve done videos on products to show what’s on the market and given my honest opinion as a hands-on engineer. With my background, I’ve been there and done it. I was an apprentice, I’ve worked my way up to be an electrical supervisor and then set up my own company. I’ve got broad experience within the industry, worked in all different sectors. I want to give people something back, because I feel we are all in this industry together. I am happy to share info that will help people. The idea is to raise the standards and raise the bar. There’s a lot of people out there who install and carry out really poor works. Some do it intentionally, which is worrying, but some don’t know any different. The truth is, the level of training these days is shocking. We work on systems that can kill people. It’s important to have a high level of training or understanding of electrics. The more info people can have, the better. I’ve highlighted topics in my videos that I’m facing, for example about clients. The way legislation works, clients have a lot to say about who they get doing their work, whereas some think they employ an electrician and their hands are washed of it. The law says that they are supposed to do due diligence that they’ve done the work properly. I’ve been highlighting things that clients need to know to up their knowledge as well. The range of work we do, it could be something small and domestic to half a million pound jobs – it’s very varied. Whether you are a one-man-band electrician or working for an organisation, what you do as an electrician can have a massive effect on the industry as the whole.

SPARKS: What sort of reaction do you get?
DJ: It’s been really good. People contact me all the time asking for my advice. It may be technical-related, something personal, something business-related. People feel they can come to me and talk about an issue they’ve got or ask for advice and I’m more than happy to help.

SPARKS: What are you doing now?
DJ: I’ve quit my job to travel the world. My company is co-owned and I’m being bought out, essentially. The company is going to continue. We have 15 people who work for us, so it’s not an option to close shop. I’ve lined up works until the end of the year for my usual team.

Dan’s Youtube can be found here and his new channel, which will document his family’s trip around the world, can be found at www.youtube.com/ourventurebeyond.

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