Chadwicks CEO Patrick Atkinson discusses why we need MORE apprentices and what needs to be done to remove the stigma…
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Patrick Atkinson, Chadwicks CEO
Patrick Atkinson returned to Ireland in 2015 to lead Chadwicks and Heiton Buckley just as the building trade began to boom again. Since becoming the CEO in 2017 Patrick is leading a long-term plan for the Chadwicks Group, which he hopes will help the company maintain its position in Ireland as the lead builders' merchant brand.
Dermot Carey, Construction Industry Federation
Dermot Carey heads up Safety & Training Department within the CIF. Dermot has responsibility for developing and guiding the CIF’s policy in these areas. Along with shaping policy, the role involves liaising with Government departments, Education sector and members on issues and providing assistance with member safety regulatory compliance. Included in this role is the operation of the Safe-T-Cert accreditation service and its day-to-day operations in the Republic of Ireland.
WhatsApp Voicenotes: 087 77 54 555
Podcast Email: email@example.com
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For your convenience, here is a 90% accurate automated transcript of the podcast.
This week on under construction with chadwicks.
Patrick Atkinson 0:05
We've made 20,000 just under 20,000. People are involved in apprenticeships, that's up from about 1000 about five years ago. So there's been a big push on by government and by sellers to try and raise the awareness and get more people involved in apprenticeships.
check your mirrors, volume. The under construction podcast with Asian power and Franco starts now.
Aidan Power 0:31
Welcome once again to the podcast. Hope you're doing well. This week it's all about apprenticeships. Chadwick CEO Patrick Atkinson will discuss why we need more apprentices and what needs to be done to remove the stigma surrounding them. dermacare from the construction industry Federation will be telling us about some of the government grants and incentives available to employers for taking on an apprentice. And it's back. It's our joke of the week now john Flynn is still top of our Joker board. But this week john McCarthy is aiming to knock him off top spot and hopefully pick up the chadwicks tool of dreams Mr. Fred cook How you doing sir?
Fred Cooke 1:01
Oh my god.
Aidan Power 1:02
Hey, did you have to serve an apprenticeship in in comedy like it would in the construction industry?
Fred Cooke 1:08
I did. Yeah. I guess I supported loads of comedians and I learned a lot from those glasses for the Tommy for to your Tommy tiernan for two years. So that was great. And you think you know, there's lots of pranks and comedy circuit we're not your claims. Well, what I was what I was amazed by in the construction site is there's just as many pranks obviously like, like I'm where I live the moment there's so much going on with building and a lot of builders are telling me that you know, the prank and all these new kids are new to the job. Now, some of them were quite obvious. Initially, I got the first one myself, like one kid was sent off to get a bucket of steam. But the bit i love about that was the guy behind the trade suppliers behind me sat behind the desk. He says if one person if another kid comes along under the age of 17, he's asking for a bucket of steam. I swear to God, I'm busy enough these days, but I'd have to deal with this. Another Skyhawk. He was sent off to get a sky Hawk. I was like,
Aidan Power 2:08
do you think people are actually falling for this? But
Fred Cooke 2:11
you know what, when you're when you're, I guess if you're arriving to your job, you might be kind of half asleep and a bit tired and yourself you know you and you don't ask questions. You're not sure the assumption is these guys know what they're talking about. So I'm going to get to the sky hook.
Aidan Power 2:23
I do what they tell me to do.
Fred Cooke 2:26
I'll find out what the Skyhook is later on. But no, I didn't get it. A skirting board ladder. Those yelled when I had to go on board letter. Yeah, and so but then some of them are more physical. I went online to see what more problems can happen. One guy was asked if he could if he could jumpstart a chainsaw. He was running the blade along the cement floor trying to get the chainsaw working so doing it for a minute while the guy was laughing, you know? Now can be very cruel and there's a lot of pain involved as well. When when you see what happens with these builders, right drop kicking loose pipes, you know, like, like, like trying to get into the goals right just to lose pipes. But one guy needed a job. He didn't know that one of the pipes was actually buried into the concrete. Yeah, and if you watch it, he really hurt his leg. throat laughing but then there's a bit of silence. Are you okay? their shame. Sorry.
Unknown Speaker 3:26
Your joke you know,
Aidan Power 3:28
Fred Cooke 3:29
Exactly. Yeah. nailing the toolbox onto the floor, simply
Aidan Power 3:35
gluing stuff down on them glue and details like that. Alright, let's hear from Tara Garvey. Now Tara is a Tyler. She's based in London, and she's gotten touch to reveal some of the pranks that she's come across over the years on site. Hey,
Unknown Speaker 3:49
this is Tara here. I have got a few funny stories has happened to me over the years that I've witnessed. So one of them was when I be on site, the lads would often ask the new people on board, would they go and get the strike paint? And the other famous one was the glass hammer? By
Aidan Power 4:10
glass hammers and stripy paint? And what about if anyone has ever found the bubble for the spirit level? Can they please get in touch with the podcast? Because we're still looking to find out where we can buy one can you get one of those in chadwicks? Anyway, if you want to share some of your best friends from a job that you've been working on, you can get in touch. Our contact details are in the podcast description.
Trade talk tips, and Bandra. This is the under construction podcast from chadwicks pledge getting done.
Aidan Power 4:36
Well now it's time to welcome to the podcast a big boss man of chadwicks it's Patrick Atkinson. CEO. Hello, Patrick. How are you? Hi, Aiden. How you doing? Oh, you sound a lot friendlier than we were expecting. Like, oh, CEO, Big Boss, man. Maybe he's a scary man. Not at all. Hi, thanks for joining us on the podcast. It's all about apprenticeships this week. Give us a sense to start Patrick. of apprenticeship numbers and the likes in Ireland at the moment. Are they are they down Do we need More,
Patrick Atkinson 5:00
we definitely need more. At the moment we've about across across the four years of apprenticeship with about 20,000, just under 20,000. People are involved in apprenticeships, that's up from about 1000, about five years ago. So there's been a big push on by, by government and by scholars to try and raise the awareness and get more people involved in apprenticeships.
Aidan Power 5:21
And would that kind of be in line with how the housing market and the crash and all those kind of things numbers fluctuate as a result of that?
Patrick Atkinson 5:28
Yeah. And when we were falling short of where we need, I mean, they obviously construction is, has gone way up in the last few years. And probably because there's a four year period where for apprentices to qualify, you know, there's always a lag behind when you get the market turning up from the number that we have. And then you know, it's cyclical business. So by the time it gets to the top and we've got enough, it's it's starting to go down again. So that's one of the big problems we have with apprenticeships.
Aidan Power 5:54
Okay, so four years is the term for an apprenticeship, what age can you start?
Patrick Atkinson 5:59
You can start at the age of 16. And that's that's a minimum requirements. And and what you really need then is to have done your Jr, shirt search and get five DS is your minimum requirements. So
Fred Cooke 6:10
sorry, Patrick, how long would an apprenticeship usually last?
Patrick Atkinson 6:14
So between two and four years, because depends on the type of apprenticeship. So there's 27 different craft apprenticeships, and there's about 35 others. So whether they're q six q seven, and they go up as far as q 10, in terms of the level of education, so it's, yeah, typically four years for anything in construction.
Aidan Power 6:36
Have Chadwick's taken on many apprentices.
Patrick Atkinson 6:38
We actually don't take any apprentices down because that's, that's not what we do apprenticeships are really for people who are in the actual construction phase of the of the supply chain. So we supply a lot of materials, but we don't actually build anything. What we have done is we've developed our own trainee ships, which in association with the college and Teller, just to to bring in young people to teach them about how to be part of the builders, merchanting trades, we teach them our products, but the needs of our customers, and all of that. So we have been running that for the last couple years.
Aidan Power 7:12
Okay. What are attitudes like towards young people taking on apprenticeships?
Patrick Atkinson 7:17
It varies. You know, the, the, you know, there's been a recent survey done and about 10% of those who are involved in apprenticeships have heard about apprenticeships from their career guidance people, about 75% of them here from family members or friends who were involved in apprenticeship. So you're much more likely to become an apprentice, if you've been part of a peer group or family have been involved in apprenticeships. So if your dad was an electrician, you might look at become an electrician, or a carpenter or a plumber. Because you're familiar with that. When you look outside of that people who haven't been involved in apprenticeships, it's it just kind of looked down on it's kind of a second class citizen, I think in terms of you know, we have a, we have a high degree of access to, to universities in this country, we get a lot of people go on that. And we and we put great, great store in that. And I think that's a positive thing that we we educate a lot of people to university level, but we don't always see apprenticeships as a as a credible option. When you look at you know, about 5000 young people going into apprenticeship every year, we have 80,000 people don't even start you know, and and the same number during Junior search, and you only need Junior start to get in. So it's actually a very small number. You know, it's kind of two or 3% of people leaving school actually end up in in apprenticeships,
Fred Cooke 8:32
Patrick is running parts of the trade that are seeing a shortfall in apprentice numbers.
Patrick Atkinson 8:37
Every single trade is seen as shortfall again, in a survey done recently 86% of all construction companies said they were short of skilled labor. So it's massive. But what we're seeing is there are some trades where there are no apprentices in apprenticeships in at the moment. And so we've we've known in tiling, we've no one in painting, we've no one in plastering, like, these are key skills that we need in this country and and people are not opting to do them as apprenticeships at the moment.
Aidan Power 9:03
So but you're involved in a trying to raise awareness, but tell us about the access apprenticeship program, what's involved and how people can get involved.
Patrick Atkinson 9:11
Yeah, so I got involved in that I was I was involved very involved with WorldSkills over a number of years for about 10 years in a previous life. And I sit on the on the board of WorldSkills Ireland and out of my association with that and went to Dublin. I agreed to chair an advisory board, which allows for a program called access to apprenticeship to happen that's funded by by private sector. And basically what that does, it takes a inner city children who have fallen out of the formal education program, and we put our arm around them and say come in and work with us for 12 weeks, we give you access to 10 different different skills. And if you can find one that suits you, we get you some work experience in that and that then hopefully allows them I'm going to use the term back to into into an apprenticeship. But it really without that program these these young people wouldn't otherwise be able to get access because they may not have that proper Junior surge or fall native education earlier than that.
Aidan Power 10:13
And as well as the numbers being down particularly pot when it comes to women, how short are we fall in when it comes to women apprentices?
Patrick Atkinson 10:19
It's pretty shocking to be honest with you, I think in 2015, there was 27 women involved in apprenticeship now that's gone up. It's just over 1000 2017 at the moment, wow. So it's been a big increase. But there's also been a shift away from not away from what to include other apprenticeships besides the what we call the craft apprenticeship. So there are things like property management and insurance and other other skills involved now are the apprenticeships involved. So that's probably more attractive to to a broader section of the community and
Aidan Power 10:53
probably a more diverse section of the community. And Pat, just to go back to when you talk about our school system, and maybe a sense of snobbery, or how we view academia versus more practical skills. How do we fare compared to other countries? When we look at the likes of France and Germany? They see their apprentices in a very different light, don't they?
Patrick Atkinson 11:11
Yeah, they do. So if you go to Germany, I mean, vocational and academic education is seen on a par. So there, it's not one is better than the other, they're absolutely it's one or the other. So the whole equation, so Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and indeed, limit ta in France is the same, you know, so your, your, your, your carpenter, electrician, in some, some parts of France would be more valuable than your local GP To be quite honest with you. And, you know, one of the things that we used to say, in the global world scale, his business was, you know, there is no economy without scales, you know, you can do with accountants, but you can't really do without, you know, the builder or the, or the, the electrician or the plumber, you know,
Fred Cooke 11:51
so perfect. That's so interesting, because I went to school and Calvin, and I guess was a different tier system, like those different ranges of classes. Like for me, it was five classes. So like, and it was seen, and it shouldn't have been seen as top, second, top, middle, second, bottom and bottom. And I was in second bottom, I had the best laugh for five years, and I managed to get a lot done in is for a lot of people in my class would have been really good at woodwork, and, and metalwork. And a lot of people at the top are put into the academic side of stuff. So I guess, I guess what the question is, is that it's those people now who are doing work, they have a trade, and this is 20 years later, you know, what I mean dev a phenomenal, fantastic, comfortable life and are still more creative than a lot of people in the academic world. Do you
Patrick Atkinson 12:36
find that 100% and look, the real difference is often that that the people who work for apprenticeships, they learn by doing rather than learning by reading and and that's that's often a differentiator. And we've also seen that you know, we are we were traditionally an agricultural based country and and, you know, the oldest son got the lands probably solve your your cabin, Fred, you probably will have experienced this. And then the second guy probably because, you know, farmers and farmers, sons and daughters were used to doing things hands on and learning how to how to build walls or do a bit of basic electricity or plumbing or whatever. And they invariably were the ones who went into skills but since we've seen a big move off the land, we're getting less of that cohort coming into into the the apprenticeships. So we're dependent on really the sons and daughters of people who are in the trades to do it. You know, and that can be you know, apprenticeships can be hairdressing. They can be confectionery, they don't, they don't honestly need to be bricklaying and welding. You can also I think, Pat, certainly,
Aidan Power 13:35
I anecdotally knows this from many of my friends who are trades people. It's lucrative.
Patrick Atkinson 13:40
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I actually, I heard I tell this story, sometimes I was talking to a friend of mine recently, and she was mentioned about skills and said, You know, that's not really for our children. And I said, Well, I don't agree. I said it's really lucrative. I said, How much did you pay your accountant last year? She said about 600 euro I said, How much did you pay your hairdresser? How much did you pay your electrician or your plumber when they came around a lot more than that, I can guarantee you every single every single time so it's it can be very lucrative and and we have a massive scarcity. go looking for a builder right now and you won't find 1am I too old to do an apprenticeship that no no in we'd love to have you
Aidan Power 14:16
always need a plan B or sorry.
Fred Cooke 14:20
I guess with me who probably works in the comedy industry, I was very lucky to have an apprenticeship with Tommy tiernan. And for two years getting to travel with him and I find something that you talk about there. And the wonderful thing about a getting into an apprenticeship is that if you if you tell someone to do something, they might remember what if you get them involved? They'll never forget. You know what I mean? And and that's that's the importance I find of what's going on here and how important it is they defined an apprenticeship.
Patrick Atkinson 14:45
Yeah. And then in the US used to call them the journeyman and then you know, when you're when you're talking about your, your experience there you were the journeyman, still on.
Aidan Power 14:55
We're all on the journey. You're gonna stay with us because very soon you'll be taken on the pod Quiz we'll see how much you know about many different subjects not giving anything away. But for now Patrick Atkinson Chadwick Co. Thanks very much.
This is the under construction podcast from chadwicks. Arlen's leading builders, merchants and Home Improvement specialists.
Aidan Power 15:23
It is time for our joke of the week. And as well as a belly laugh we are playing for the tool of dreams. So here's how it works. You send us in your joke. If at the end of the series, it is top of the leaderboard judged and scored by Mr. Fred cook, you will win your tool of dreams and that does what it says on the tin when you go into chadwicks. What is that tool that you've always desired that you Yes, have in your tool belt, or indeed your toolbox and you want to be the envy of everyone on site. If you're top of the leaderboard, you will win the tool of dreams. So here's this week's contender. He is Don McCarthy, a retired civil engineer and maybe about to take up a job in full time comedy take it away done.
Unknown Speaker 16:01
My mother in law fell down a wishing well. I was amazed. I never knew they weren't.
Fred Cooke 16:15
Fred, what do you think? Oh, I love the DOM. Donnie. He's hilarious. It's brilliant delivery. Right? I'd say you know one joke in one sentence. One joke. It's like Tommy Cooper isn't and it's like, it's like your back what's wrong my back or take my mom? classic, classic jokes.
Aidan Power 16:36
To be compared to Tommy Cooper. Don will do delivery was very good from dawn. We like that.
Fred Cooke 16:42
I'd say I'd say I think we've a new a new winner so far. I can't give him an eight out of 10.
Aidan Power 16:48
Okay, john, that puts you automatically top of the leaderboard, the highest score before that. 6.5. So you were well in the lead Dan McCarthy, you're one step closer to winning the tool of dreams. So if you want to try and be done, get a higher score than eight for Mr. Fred cook. All you got to do is send us in your job to go top of the Joker's board. And you can get in touch by sending us a voice note. You'll find our WhatsApp number in the podcast
description. The under construction podcast from Chadwick's get it automatically by clicking the Follow button on your podcast app right now.
Aidan Power 17:20
Joining us now is Dr. Macquarie the director of safety and training from the construction industry Federation to continue our conversation on apprentices Dermot, welcome to the podcast. How are you all go? Thanks very much and thanks for having me on. pleasure. Thanks for being with us. We're learning a lot about apprenticeships this week. And you can fill us in more Dermot. Firstly,
Dermot Carey 17:37
let's start with the government and what they're doing certainly in recent times to help promote apprenticeships because we were hearing from Patrick earlier that they're very much needed. Absolutely apprenticeships are very much needed. And government has been putting a lot of efforts in the last number of years to promote apprenticeship and and raise awareness and apprenticeship. With generation apprenticeship is is one of the major initiatives that government have launched in the last three or four years some of the today. One of their initiatives which is a schools based initiative comes to an end as in the awards that the the winners of a competition are going to be announced today. But generation apprenticeship is is an initiative for fronted by solace solace is the training organization the national training organization. The generation apprenticeship is targeted at school leavers career changers, to advise them of apprenticeship is what it's all about, and does a generation apprenticeship website. And more recently, the government. Simon Harris minister Simon Harris is very positive for his apprentices and wants to promote the apprenticeship generally, and launched the apprenticeship Action Plan, which is a four year action plan starting this year finishing in 2025, which has five major objectives. Ultimately principal objective is to promote apprenticeships more get people to know what what the apprenticeship is, and outline the career paths possibilities that are there and expand the numbers of apprenticeships that are available. So there's a lot being done currently, by government promote apprenticeships,
Fred Cooke 19:13
how many apprenticeship places are available per year?
Dermot Carey 19:16
Well, I suppose that's very much a function of how the economy is doing at any one time because apprenticeship or apprenticeship to be available you need an employer is very much on like ca or so that people may well be familiar with ca o and university places that there's an exact number of places every year. That's not the case for apprenticeship. It depends on the number of employers and I'm just looking in prep I suppose for today, I just look to see how many apprenticeships are currently live. So there's nearly 18,000 apprentices out there currently. And at the height of the boom, I thought when I say boom, we're back in 2008. There were in only one year about 1000 apprenticeships offered last year and I'm skipping 2020. We all know why because COVID really kind of cleared the bridge for everybody there. So there were just over 5000 new apprentices registered in 2019. And that was a curve that was continually going up. So we expected it to increase but obviously we got hit with with COVID. But I suppose government's target is that there'd be 10,000 apprenticeships available every year in a broad range of careers. And it's 10,000. That's the target per year.
Aidan Power 20:35
Okay, so there's a big drive on to increase numbers and perhaps also maybe change perceptions as well of apprenticeships.
Dermot Carey 20:42
Maybe perceptions is the wrong word, but maybe to educate people on the potential for apprenticeships. I think Irish people are very focused on university and success looks like a university course. Which is not necessarily the case, we'd have many when I say we as in the construction industry Federation, we'd have many of our members and managing directors and chief executive officers who would have gone to an apprenticeship and learn their trade the business through an apprenticeship and now we're in very high positions within their own companies. And either they own a company or they're the managing director of companies. So we need to educate people on the potential but also need to provide them with a broader range of apprentices, apprenticeships, and that's partially what's being done at the moment, as part of the generation apprenticeship and apprenticeship action plan to broaden the appeal of apprenticeships and broaden the the choice in relation to apprenticeships.
Aidan Power 21:43
And what about from the employer side, anyone listening? Who might want to take on an apprentice what incentives are there to do that?
Dermot Carey 21:51
Well, I think employers have to see the benefit of apprenticeship in best they can train an individual to work in their business and understand their business. But also there are currently under the an initiative announced last year as part of digitalise stimulus as a result of COVID. There's what they call the apprenticeship incentivisation scheme, whereby any employer who registered apprentices by the 30th of July, and that's maybe worked, announced and again, it's 30th of July this year, if they register their apprentice, there is 3000 euro bonus signup, bonuses, the wrong word, but I grant forward stash, puts out apprentice, but also under that a little bit of complexity here in that, particularly anybody in the construction sector and what would be known as the pre 2016 apprentices, which are really all the construction related apprentices, apprenticeships. Those employers while they are the apprentices after job, and then you need to understand those two types of training involved on the job and after job after job means that the apprentices either in a training center or they're in an institute of technology, and while they're there, their salary or their wage is paid for by the state. So there's quite a quite a good incentive for employers to take on an apprentice.
Aidan Power 23:19
It's Win win in that regard. And it's important as you've outlined that we need to increase the numbers of apprenticeships, we also seen a greater choice in the types of apprenticeships that you can do.
Dermot Carey 23:29
We are indeed and I think currently, when we're sorry, when work began to develop apprenticeships, probably four years ago and increase the number of apprenticeships there were 25 apprenticeships available principally in the construction sector. But since then, a lot of work has gone on to create new apprenticeships, and I'm just looking at a list here. So we now have somewhere in the region of 60 apprenticeships in in broad areas, such as accounting technician, hairdressing, retail supervision, sales, Lean Sigma operator GL a driller, and indeed within the construction sector, our own organization or organization fantasy is if I've completed work on an apprenticeship and scaffolding which will be launched within the next couple of weeks. And currently, we have a group working on an apprenticeship in roofing so there's, there is a lot more choice there. And then there was previously and that level that that choice is beginning to increase and will increase over the coming years as as various different trades and organizations realize the potential of apprenticeship and begin to develop an apprenticeship in their own specific area.
Aidan Power 24:45
Well, Jeremy, thank you so much for joining us and informing us about all that there's something there for everyone, including people seeking an apprenticeship, but also employers and the benefits they can get from that. So dermacare is the director of safety and training from the construction industry Federation. Thank you for being with us.
Right Thanks for having me on. under construction with chadwicks new episodes every Monday on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts
Aidan Power 25:15
for this week's pod quiz and our contestant is chadwicks CEO Patrick Atkinson. Are you ready? I am ready. Good. I like it nice and cam you need to get three questions right you've got one minute in which to do this and if you achieve that, you will be winning for Fergal O'Brien, who is a renewable engineer in Wexford. Not the Snooper player I don't believe unless he's diversified. You'll be winning a song from Fred, Fred, you've got the song ready to go.
Fred Cooke 25:39
I'm ready to go in.
Aidan Power 25:40
Alright, Fred's gonna keep score Pat, very best of luck. Here we go. What does it mean Pat to bleed a radiator? It means to basically take the air out of it. Correct. Question two, what should you do before drilling a hole in the wall? market? You need to do that I'll accept. Why would you wrap a paintbrush and clingfilm. Stop from drying out? Okay, let's move on to rob because I know you're passionate about that. What country is Lyons? Hey coach Warren Gatland from Wales. Gonna take your person that's, you know, it was New Zealand. One Irish player holds the record for most Celtic league pro 12 and pro 14 tries scored. I'll give you options. Is it a Gordon to RCB Tommy bow or see Robbie Henshaw? Oh, okay. It's Tommy bow. All right, let's get a squeeze one more in what should you paint first when you're painting a room? Is it the ceiling? The skirting boards are the walls and ceiling is the right answer. And that is our time or Pat. I think you did better than you needed to do. Let's find out Fred. How did he do?
Fred Cooke 26:48
You got four wives. got four wives. Sorry. Four white walls. And you got four is that enough for us? Okay, good. Okay, but
Aidan Power 27:02
that's like Yeah, okay. I'm happy with that could have done better. Yeah. Okay, but yeah, that that was a tough enough one. All right. Congratulations to pat it means Fergal O'Brien not the snooker player. The renewable engineer gets a song from Mr. Fred cook.
Fred Cooke 27:17
You read Fergal O'Brien's phone leave a message after the tone though I got back now. Don't you fear cuz I worked Fred's best engineer. Come on.
Leave a message. This is the under construction podcast from Chadwick's. Let's get it done.
Aidan Power 27:42
That's our podcast for you this week. Thanks to Patrick Atkinson, the CEO of chadwicks and dermacare. He's the director of safety and training from the construction industry Federation. Before we go as always, Fred, what did you learn this week
Fred Cooke 27:52
aid when I learned this week is you'll always get paid when you own your own trade.
Aidan Power 27:58
Nicely said, well, we're back on another podcast next Monday. Remember, you can hit the Follow button to get under construction every week from me Aiden power and Mr. Fred cook Have a great week.
The under construction podcast is produced by DustPod Dunn IE for chadwicks. Ireland's leading builders merchants company where you can choose from the best products and expert advice to get the job done. drop into any of our 40 plus stores nationwide, or visit us online at chadwicks davon. e chadwicks. Let's get it done.
Date: 31st May 2021