It’s as true for trades as it is for any line of work: you can never truly appreciate a profession until you’ve tried your hand at it yourself. A task a seasoned professional makes look blissfully easy can take novices years to master.

This month, Hot Courses caught up with two experienced members of the Able Skills teaching team; plasterer Joe Holloway, plus joiner and carpenter Kevin Batten. Both seasoned professionals have spent more decades honing their skills and learning their craft, which gives both Joe and Kevin remarkable insight into their trade. That’s what makes them such valuable tutors on our training courses.

Hot Courses, a website providing quick course searches in the UK, came away with a wealth of knowledge from Joe and Kevin. From a new found appreciation for cornicing, to the news that joinery is a trade which “can’t be replaced by robots”, our teachers certainly gave the Hot Courses interviewers an education!

Joe Holloway on Plastering

“It’s nice seeing people’s faces when it’s like, ‘Wow, now I can see my room coming together!’ The cornice work, the fibrous plaster, that’s even more rewarding. It’s something different completely. It’s an art and it’s where you get to use your imagination.”

A plasterer since the age of 16, Joe got into plastering when he received an apprenticeship with his father’s firm. After a four year apprenticeship, six years at the firm and 18 years as a self employed plasterer, Joe has found a new role at Able Skills. Something he is grateful for, given the physical strain of plastering.

According to Joe “plastering is a very physical trade”, but the real joy comes from seeing the finished product. An expert in superbly smooth walls and beautifully moulded cornicing, Joe has a wealth of knowledge to share in his interview.

Kevin Batten on Joinery & Carpentry

“It’s a great trade to go into because it’s one that can’t be replaced by robots. They’ll always need people who can work with wood. Trees are still growing and you only have to walk through London to see how many cranes there are and how much work there is out there for people who know how to work on site.”

With well over a decade in the trade, Kevin got into joinery after completing an apprenticeship at a young age. According to our carpentry expert, developing accuracy with hand tools is one of the most challenging skills aspiring tradespeople must learn, but if you can unlock this skillset, carpentry is a trade which can take you all over the world and never leave you short of work. Read more from Kevin here.

To read the interviews in full, click here for Joe’s and here for Kevin’s.