Dan Jackson FIET

Introduction

“I hope others will see I’ve had my career reviewed by an international institution, and this will provide more weight behind my messages,” he says.

Dan tells us more about his route to running his own business and achieving IET Fellowship.

Why did you choose a career as an electrician and how did you get into it?

I started A-levels because my school was pushing me to, but I didn’t enjoy them. So I ended up quitting and getting an office job in an engineering company, but I soon learned I wasn’t going to get very far without a degree. So I looked into becoming an electrician, loved the idea of it, and literally applied to around 200-250 apprenticeships until I got one.

I worked for three different companies whilst I was an apprentice. At the first two, I didn’t see a future for myself. In my third year, I joined a company that offered me exactly the kind of work I wanted to do – electrical installations for petrol stations.

How did you get to the position of running your own business?

The third company I worked for as an apprentice, and later as an approved electrician, went bust overnight during the UK’s recession. The administrators came in and everybody was made redundant overnight.

My contract manager turned around to me and asked if I wanted to start up a company. I summed up my options – I had some money in the bank, so I said let’s go for it. We knew there was work and people who needed work, so we took the opportunity. We had the company incorporated the very next day.

It was tough – we had to wait a month until we had any money coming in and then we had to prioritise who we paid. I wasn’t paid for five months, which put a strain on my finances and my relationship at the time, but we knew it had to be done to get the company up and running.

Why did you apply for IET Fellowship?

Another IET Fellow Paul Meenan inspired me massively. He likes to push people to develop and he suggested I go for Fellowship.

It is recognised by many within the industry that, as a Fellow, you’ve been peer-assessed and you’ve achieved a status through career progress. Also, it is a great opportunity to network with others, and share ideas and experiences to help balance your perspective.

What would you like to achieve as a Fellow?

I really want to inspire the younger generation to work hard, keep learning and take responsibility for their actions. I am especially keen on inspiring through social media and modern technologies.

As a younger Fellow, I want to represent the younger generation within the IET Fellowship community. I can also bring to it my extensive knowledge of electrical contracting, as well as my experience within the fire industry.

Do you have any advice for early career electricians and future IET Fellows?

Experience is everything.

In the third year of my apprenticeship, I was doing some long hours, working days, nights and weekends. I remember turning up for this one particular job, where we had no drawings or guidance from the client – we just had to get it done.

I started talking to another tradesman on the job who owned his own company, saying this is just a bit too much. He said to me, look, although it’s tough, you’re gaining experience that your college mates aren’t. The more experience you get, the more quickly you’ll learn, the quicker you’ll climb up the ladder. That completely changed my attitude.

Where can members find out more about you?

LinkedIn and YouTube. I’ve just recently left my business, after eight years, to go travelling around the world with my family, but members can follow my progress via my YouTube channel.