Family values at Fairs & Baker

Three generations working at the same firm: Julian Sadler. Lee Sadler and Dylan Sadler

Three generations working at the same firm: Julian Sadler. Lee Sadler and Dylan Sadler - Credit: Archant

Continuity is the key at Ipswich construction company

There used to be a tradition of sons following in their father’s footsteps, in terms of trades or professions.

Those times have changed, to an extent.

If your father was a carpenter, a policeman or a vicar - you do not necessarily have to follow a similar route when entering the world of work.

So it is unusual to find three generations working in the same trade.

But at Ipswich plastering and dry walling company Fairs & Baker that is happening.

Among the workforce are grandfather Julian Sadler, his son Lee Sadler and Lee’s son Dylan has recently joined as an apprentice.

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Dylan,17, is actually following in his great-grandfather path, not just his father and grandfather.

Because Julian’s father, Charlie, worked for the company until his retirement.

“I have been working for 43 years now,” Julian said. “I went into the trade straight from school.”

His son Lee has been working in the trade for more than 21 years already.

I met them at a construction site in Bucklesham Road, Ipswich where they have been dry walling, plastering and rendering hnew homes.

Fairs & Baker is a local family firm, established by Peter Fairs and Paul Baker in 1978, famously when Ipswich Town won the FA Cup at Wembley.

And the family connections continue as works manager Duane Kostrzewski is Peter’s son-in-law, and married to Tanya.

Duane was previously working in the construction trade in London, as a commercial director, and joined the family firm seven months ago.

Fairs & Baker now has 20 employees and a reputation for quality and expertise built over 35 years in the trade.

In Ipswich and Suffolk many of the local building companies traditionally took on apprentices in the whole range of specialist trades for the industry but duing the recession there were cut-backs.

Now, with a busy construction industry and a growing demand for new homes too, the sector faces the prospect of a major skill shortage.

Many of the baby boomer generation of workers are coming towards retirement age and new talent is needed to learn these important skills if the enought new homes are to be built.

Fairs & Baker are planning for the future, says works manager Duane.

“We have a mature, experience workforce but they are not getting any younger.

“So we are taking on four apprentices this year, and Dylan is one of them.

“We want the older guys to pass on their skills and knowledge to the youngsters.

“Peter (Fairs) is a great advocate for the education side. Knowledge gained on the job is also important.

“Young people can benefit from the knowledge of the experienced workers.”

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