David Armitage of York Handmade Brick Company - My First Job

PUBLISHED: 16:40 05 October 2011 | UPDATED: 20:06 20 February 2013

David Armitage of York Handmade Brick Company - My First Job

David Armitage of York Handmade Brick Company - My First Job

David Armitage, chairman of York Handmade Brick Company, explains how he built his successful career

David Armitage, chairman of York Handmade Brick Company, explains how he built his successful career

What was your first job?
I was a trainee fitter in the maintenance side of brickmakers George Armitage & Sons. I got the job because I was the fifth generation of the Armitages to work in the business. After graduating from university, I thought a spell on the shop floor would be immensely useful and so it proved.


What lessons did you learn?
I wanted to learn what it was like at the sharp end of a manufacturing business in West Yorkshire. It was a very interesting experience but, at the time, I didnt appreciate getting up at 6am and heading through the freezing fog to work. I certainly appreciated all the jobs I did after that all the more.

How did your career progress?
I moved into sales as a representative for a chunk of West Yorkshire. It was a fantastic learning curve. I met everyone from senior partners in architectural practices to jobbing builders and builders merchants. I moved on from there quite quickly to become sales and eventually marketing director. I learnt a lot about the market along the way by talking to customers and gauging their reactions and attitudes.


I have played a large part in our trade association, the Brick Development Association, becoming chairman of the marketing committee and later chairman of the whole organisation. This has been invaluable in developing my career and knowledge because I have rubbed shoulders with my peers from much larger companies. In my late forties I was fortunate enough to be able to buy my own specialist brickmaking company, where I am now the chairman and managing director.

Whats next for you?
I am now 71, so I havent set my sights on a new job! But I havent set my sights on retirement either. I am not satisfied with what I have achieved yet and there is plenty of room for improvement. My family motto is ideals are not attainment but for pursuit.

What words of wisdom would you pass on?
Work hard and, above all, enjoy the work you do. Thats much more important than the pay. The more you put into a job the more satisfaction you will get out of it. Forget about any sort of clock-watching.


I have received lots of advice in my career and have learnt a lot from watching other people and listening to them. There is no substitute for experience and you can swerve a lot


of pitfalls by learning from other peoples errors as well as your own. Learn from your experiences and from those of other people and dont make the same mistake twice.

Latest from the Yorkshire Life