Unleash others'​ potential.

In 1982 I left school at the age of 15, to become an apprentice carpenter at Bryant homes in Solihull, West Midlands. Having no exam results, I didn’t have too many other options available to me to do anything else. Certainly, with my only exam result being a CSE grade 1 in Technical drawing, at a time of HB pencils and not CAD meant I was doing nothing academic.

So, there I was, a shy 15-year-old on a building site with grown men, having to deal with all the typical new boy apprentice issues, "can you get me a left-handed screwdriver and a skyhook" to name a few. Well, it didn’t take me too long to come out of my shell, to find my voice and become a valued part of the site team. 

Let’s get on with why I am telling you this.

The person that looked after me and the other apprentices was called Brian Jinks. From memory, I don’t think that looking after apprentices was his only job. I think he also had something to do with the plumbing department as well, but I could be wrong. Well, I probably met with him once every six months to see how I was getting on, so he knew me, but at the same time not really. At one of my last meetings, before my 4-year apprenticeship ended, Brian said at the end of our catch up “give up carpentry and go and be a salesman”. At this time I was well past my shy, young apprentice days and I remember swearing at him, something like “what the **** do you know”. After all, I didn’t have any friends that were salesmen, and if I am honest, I didn’t even know what a salesman was, so why would I want to be one? I thought he was telling me after four years, I was so rubbish at being a carpenter, that I needed to find another career.

 I couldn’t have been more wrong in thinking this. What I was soon to understand, was that Brian had spotted a skill in me that nobody else had recognised. Neither family, friends nor work colleagues. Usually, for me, a 5-minute conversation between my manager and I would not be remembered after it finished, as our meetings were ordinarily uneventful, but what I didn’t realise at the time was the massive impact that Brian Jinks’s comments would have on the ultimate course of my life.

Because of Brian’s comments of “Go and be a salesman” at the end of my apprenticeship, I quit carpentry and joinery and went into sales, where I excelled in every role I did, before starting ATG-IT in 1989.

Without Brian Jinks taking the time to understand and spot my hidden skills and then advising me, I would no doubt still be a carpenter and joiner. To be honest, this is a great profession to have, especially as you can never seem to get a good one these days; however, I definitely wouldn’t have been living up to my potential.

My question to you is, who are you going to be a Brian Jinks to today?