Proving that when it comes to business, family can still come first, brother and sister, Blaine and Colleen Rafferty, have joined forces to build a successful business in the plumbing trade.
Fulfilling a long-held ambition to have his own plumbing business, Blaine set up BR Plumbing & Heating in Ballymartin, near Kilkeel, just a few months ago, and when he was looking for an apprentice to expand the operation, it was his sister, Colleen that he turned to.
“Colleen was working locally in a café, and I told her that she could earn more money and learn something useful into the bargain if she joined me. That was last November, and since then she has been helping me out in the evenings and over the summer. It has worked out so well that she is now officially my apprentice.”
For Blaine, the choice was easy.
“Colleen and I have always got on the best and I knew she would do well. She is learning the business from the bottom up and taking everything in her stride. It’s a perfect solution for me and I hope it will be a long-term business relationship. Colleen’s doing a lot of very good work. I put her in at the deep end sometimes to test her and she copes well. She also keeps me right on a lot of things.”
Colleen takes up the story.
“I had originally wanted to go into catering or something food related, but soon realised that it wasn’t for me. When Blaine spoke to me about the opportunity of joining him in his business he said he knew it was something I could go far in. I’ve loved it from the very start. It’s very hands-on and I enjoy the variety that each day brings, and getting out in the van, meeting people.
“People have had very positive things to say to me and women, especially older ladies, sometimes tell me they feel more comfortable with another female coming into their home.
“I’m really happy working in plumbing, and with Blaine. I grew up in a house with four brothers – I’m the baby and Blaine is the eldest. We bonded from an early age, and
we seem to have the same frame of mind, often bouncing ideas off each other. He’s a big inspiration and I’ve learned a lot from him – he says you’re never done learning.”
BR Plumbing & Heating carries out all aspects of plumbing and heating work, from leaking taps to new build houses, and Blaine and his new apprentice take pride in a job well done, at competitive prices.
“I always wanted to start my own plumbing business,” said Blaine. “My Aunt, Eilish Costantino, works at Firebird Heating Solutions and there was always talk around the table about boilers and plumbing. I received top-class training in plumbing at Southern Region College, Newry, and that’s where Colleen is enrolled now too. After college I gained a broad experience working in a plumbing firm for five years, and at the age of 24 I was able to fulfil my dream to start up my own business. My aim is to grow the business, and with Colleen at my side, the future is looking bright.”
For more information, telephone (NI) 0771 633 9576 (RoI) 0044 771 633 9576 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org