What do painters and energy professionals have in common?

Sue Beard FSAMP, Head of Professional Affairs, Energy Institute

Are you signed up to one of those neighbourhood websites? You know, the ones where people moan about their bins and tout their services?

Following the first UK lockdown earlier this year, a painter and decorator called John posted on ours about the responsibility of tradespeople like himself to keep others safe in lockdown.  As lockdown restrictions had been clarified he could begin to think about taking on some types of work, so he posted about what that meant.

John’s professional body has drawn up guidelines for those in the trade to minimise risk factors and keep clients safe during COVID-19. But, for him, it isn’t just about current circumstances. As a professionally qualified tradesperson he is constantly aware that all activity involves risk if safe practices aren’t adhered to. He has critically reviewed his practices from top to bottom to keep clients safe without compromising the quality of service or workmanship, so that they can have complete confidence in his business if they  call on him.

It’s exactly what he should be doing of course, but why am I bothering to mention it? Energy professionals and painters are a bit different, aren’t they?

Well, it struck me how unusual it still is for individuals to talk so clearly about their professional practice, how they are striving to meet high standards, and what they think the responsibility of being a professional involves.

Not talking about it is a bit of an own goal though. Knowledge, skills and competence – being dedicated, trustworthy and safe – these are the foundations of professionalism and exactly where the value of being a professional lays.

Energy professionals have so much to be proud of in the standards they must meet, the deep knowledge and skill they must hold and constantly keep up to date, and the level of responsibility they have in keeping society going.  In these times – indeed, during any time – we should be shouting about it from the rafters, because your professionalism is a selling point for you and the sector in every person you meet.

It has been striking how the pandemic has laid so many things about our lives bare, thrown things up in the air and shown us what really matters – such as health, kindness, and our responsibilities to others.

By talking about professionalism and what it means to him, John has shown me that he’s a real professional – he’s keeping his practice up to date, following codes and caring about his clients and others he works with.

Having spent rather a lot of time at home in 2020, I can’t help but notice that the bathroom is looking a bit shabby. I know who I’m calling.

Find out more about how the Energy Institute can support your career development at: http://www.energyinst.org/membership-and-careers/membership

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