Darrin Gamble started a chimney sweep business called 'As Daft as a Brush' to help fund his Masters couse in HIstory at the University of Birmingham.
Darrin Gamble's story:
I enjoyed a successful and rewarding career in social housing, but after 30 years I knew I was ready for a change. Through various business training courses, I was always encouraged to have a Plan B – what I was going to do when I no longer wanted to, or couldn't, continue with my Plan A.
At the end of January 2019, I set my Plan B in motion. I have had a lifelong passion for history, especially the medieval period and wanted to pursue this love through doing the Medieval Studies MA at the University of Birmingham.
After getting my place on the MA secured, the next step was to find a way of funding myself through the 10 months of the course and beyond. This needed to be something that was flexible - to fit in with my studies and from a personal point of view it had to be very different from the work I had been doing in my professional life. After having watched various chimney sweeps in action at my own house over the years. I knew that this could be a trade that would offer me the variety, the flexibility and the direct contact with customers that I wanted. It also offered me the opportunity to learn new skills and was a way of starting my own company with relatively low set up costs.
So, I decided to become a chimney sweep. I spent a week being trained by the National Association of Chimney Sweeps and then began to market and promote my new business. I certainly had variety. In the morning I may be in a customers lounge sweeping a chimney with my rods and brushes and in the afternoon reading some 14th century manorial court rolls, learning the meaning of a whole new set of words such as roods and bushels!