On 9th February we had the pleasure of welcoming Leslie Kellner to our Northolt centre – Logic4training’s oldest ever gas installer! A delightful character, Leslie is a sprightly 84 years old.
Still working, and keeping up to date with his ACS, Leslie completed his gas cooker (CKR1) training and assessment.
We caught up with Leslie to find about how he got into gas, what he enjoys about the job and how he keeps motivated after all these years!
“I realise I’m a bit of rarity, but I’ve been a workaholic all my life. I need to work for my mental wellbeing. It’s important to feel I’m doing something useful for other people.”
“Some people work fifty weeks a year, just so they can enjoy their two-week holiday. I’m wired differently, I live to work, only going on holiday to please my wife. I’m very fortunate with my wife. She’s fourteen years younger than me and doesn’t forbid me to work.”
How did you get into the trade?
“I’ve always had a talent for mechanics, which I inherited from my mum – not my dad. As a boy, I was always tinkering with televisions and repairing cars. I studied Electrical Engineering at college.”
“When I was 45 I decided I wanted to fly, so I built my own airplane – from a kit. Flying was ok, but I only spent fifty hours or so in the air, it was building the plane that I enjoyed.”
“I’ve been a Gas Board Engineer since 1967. After that I was with Corgi and now I’m with Gas Safe. My registration number is no:357, which shows I’m one of the very first engineers. I’m proud of that.” says Logic4training’s oldest ever gas installer.
What motivates you?
“What motivates me? Well, it’s not money, that’s for sure. I get tremendous satisfaction from solving problems.”
“Boilers have changed a lot over the years. They’re much more sophisticated these days and rely a lot more on electronics; printed circuit boards and such. When I first started out, there were very few electrical components in a boiler.”
What’s your workload like of the oldest gas installer?
“These days I take it slowly, aiming to complete one, two or sometimes three jobs a day so that I can be home by lunchtime. They’re mostly repairs and I don’t rest until I get it right. If I’ve not sorted something out, I’ll go back and back again until I do.”
“Some gas work is heavy going and I don’t have the strength or the stamina these days to replace a boiler, so I concentrate on fault-finding and undertaking repairs. I save my customers a lot of money, mending boilers that other engineers would relegate to the scrap yard.”
How has it been through the pandemic?
“I have been very careful about the Coronavirus. I’m not taking any risks and wear a mask when I’m out and about. I know I’m in my eighties, but I can’t sit and watch television all the time, that would finish me off! Thankfully I’ve had both vaccines now.”
What advice would you pass on to a young engineer just starting out as the oldest gas installer?
“I’d say this is a good trade. Challenging, but satisfying and if you’re honest you can earn a good living. You need to be reasonable. Don’t take liberties with people and they won’t take liberties with you.”
What are your plans for the future?
“I’ve two more years before I need to take another assessment, so I’m going to work those out. And then, I think I’ll call it a day.”