Meet the Member - Mike Maskrey

Mike (right) with Mark Sainsbury, who was head of the plumbing department at Stockport College

Mike Maskrey is a third-generation plumber who has a great deal of experience both on the tools and within the education and training sectors. With a grandfather, father and uncle all in the plumbing and heating profession, it seems that Mike was destined to be in the industry. Going out on jobs with his father, Eric, when he was a young child sparked an interest that has lasted decades. His son, Joseph, has even joined the ranks, completing his Level 2 in plumbing in 2010.

“Plumbing is in my family’s blood,” says Mike, “Dad’s view of the industry greatly influenced my career path. He was a big advocate of the Institute of Plumbing, as it was known then, and he was the Nottingham Branch Chairman for two years.”

Early years

In 1977, at the age of 16, Mike joined Hiltons, a well-respected Nottingham-based firm, as an apprentice plumber. He also attended Basford College in Nottingham on block release and then one day and one night per week. He worked mostly on large industrial works, for companies such as Boots, British Home Stores and M&S, installing hot and cold water, boosted water and sanitation systems.

“My dad’s influence was always there,” says Mike. “On my first day at college, a lecturer called Walter Holt came into the classroom and took the register, he asked if I was any relation to Eric Maskrey and I said yes. It turned out that he had taught my dad. This is how it went for five years at college; I could not escape my dad’s reputation.”

Mike spent five happy years at Hiltons, learning his trade and gaining valuable experience. Everything was going well, so he bought his first house in December 1981 and was also looking forward to his wedding the following year. However, a spanner was put in the works when he was made redundant in early 1982.

“My dad told me not to worry and that he would take me on,” recalls Mike. “It was one hell of a risk for him as I was an industrially-trained plumber and his company dealt with domestic plumbing. I had to learn my trade all over again. I was with my dad for 17 years. He was a feisty character, and a cracking, much respected plumber and I miss his counsel now. I would love to be able to tell him what I am up to.”

Branching out

In 1988, Mike took a part time job at Basford College in Nottingham, teaching heating and ventilation for two years, before transferring to the plumbing department. He worked alongside teachers who had taught him the trade.

“I had been teaching at the college for 13 years when my dad told me he was going to retire to look after mum, Audrey, who had Alzheimer’s disease,” says Mike. “Dad offered me his business, but I didn’t want to be a business owner, I wanted to be a plumber.”

Mike moved to Stockport in 2000 and worked as a plumber for a company called Mycocks in Buxton. He worked here for a couple of years before being offered a full-time teaching position at Stockport College. Here he taught Plumbing at Levels 2 and 3, HNC in Building Services Engineering, and Foundation Degree Level 5 in Building Services.

“My time on the tools was over,” says Mike. “I hung up my tool bag because I had seen Dad suffer terribly with arthritis, which eventually saw him registered disabled, and I didn’t want to end up the same way.”

Mike left Stockport College in 2013, but continued to teach at Doncaster college from 2013 to 2015 and then Burnley College from 2015 to 2017. During this time, he also wrote six text books for City and Guilds on Plumbing and Heating at Levels 2 and 3.

“I love the heating and plumbing industry and the books have helped me reach thousands of apprentices,” says Mike.

New opportunities

Mike joined BPEC in 2017 as a technical development manager, writing textbooks and plumbing qualifications. To date he has written the Level 3 Diploma in Plumbing and Domestic Heating, three heat pump qualifications and has overhauled solar hot water qualifications.

“I love my trade with a passion, so when the advert appeared for a position as training manager for CIPHE, I jumped at the opportunity,” enthuses Mike. “Being offered the position was like coming home.

"In my role as training manager, I will be carrying out writing and development work, and visiting colleges to promote the CIPHE. I hope to educate the installers of today in the systems of tomorrow."

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