There are some successful husband and wife working teams, but for Deborah and Daniel Sutherland it’s hardly a day at the office… more a pass the screwdriver dear.
The couple from Reading, who have been married for eight years, work together fitting double glazed windows and doors for the Anglian Home Improvements.
Fed up with feeling she was working longer hours for less money, Deborah was disillusioned with life – until husband Danny suggested she should come and work alongside him at Anglian Windows.
A joiner by trade, Danny had been working for Anglian for 18 years and thought he and Debs would complement each other well. They had been doing up their own home for some time, having bought a renovation project that needed total rebuilding.
“I knew she would be good at the job and though it means we’re together 24/7, we get along fine. Perhaps our secret is that we give each other space if we need it and we’re very tolerant!” laughs Danny.
Debs let it slip that fellow fitters at based at Grazeley, Reading, had a bet on how long she would stay the course – being a fitter can be physically challenging – and she revels in having outstayed those who doubted her.
Five years on she is still proving them wrong, and is wondering why other women haven’t followed her example as, despite the long hours, she loves her job.
Perhaps the secret of the couple’s success lies in the wealth of their diverse work experience. Both had stretched their wings with jobs abroad – Debs’ career history includes a contract as a civil servant within Special Branch in the Royal Hong Kong Police, while Danny has worked in Qatar and Abu Dhabi. Even with such a career record, Debs admits learning a new trade was challenging at the beginning but says Danny was a good teacher.
“I started with the basics such as preparing the site, then progressed to more skilled work such as trimming off glazed windows and doors and adjusting locks,” she explained. “Never let anyone tell you that two Anglian windows or doors are the same, perhaps it’s because they aren’t mass produced and each one is made to the surveyor’s specification. “She’s a lot stronger than she used to be,” says Danny. “Most days it’s just the two of us and it can be very physical work, but we use our heads as well as our brawn. He’s the tradesman so he likes high standards. If I don’t come up to scratch he makes me do it again,” added Debs. “When we get in the van in the morning, he is the boss. But when we get home woe betide him,” she chuckles.
Debs believes that women, especially those on their own, feel at ease with her. But wherever they work, the couple take an interest in the customers they come across.
“Our great interests in life away from work is travelling and meeting other people, which is another plus for this job as we meet people from all different walks of life – all nationalities and cultures,” added Debs. ” We like to talk to people and we learn something new every day. This is a really interesting job to do.”
The Sutherlands are a very popular team and Anglian Home Improvements has many requests to put them on to a job, more than can be accommodated.
By way of explanation Debs continues: “We always keep the customers informed of what we are doing. It’s important to respect the customer’s home. Danny’s very particular and very patient.”
Both dedicated football fans, they support Manchester United and travel to see their team play. Perhaps it’s the understanding of teamwork that adds to their popularity in their own field, or it could be their obvious enjoyment of life and keen sense of humour.
Anglian Home Improvements, formally known as Anglian Windows, have been successfully trading for over 40 years. For information on our double glazing and conservatory products please visit www.anglianhome.co.uk