Charlie Mullins has collected an OBE from the Queen for his ‘services to plumbing’.
The London plumber, received the news that he had been listed for the award in January this year, said: “Who would have imagined the Camden street urchin, would one day be invited to Buckingham Palace to be made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire? Not me that’s for sure. It was such an honour to find out that I had been awarded an OBE for ‘services to plumbing’, made even more meaningful for me because it’s for something I’ve been doing, and have loved doing, since I was a nine year old kid.”
Since starting his career as a plumbing apprentice, Charlie credits his own apprenticeship as being a vital component of his success. Now a passionate voice for helping young people into jobs, Charlie regularly advises the government on apprenticeships saying: “These days some apprenticeships have become a joke. The word ‘apprentice’ has been used by companies who flaunt it for PR purposes, to inflate work experience placements, job-shadowing, shelf-stacking and other forms of cheap labour.
“I believe the word ‘apprenticeship’ should be protected, and must mean what it used to mean, and did mean for me: a rigorous, mutual commitment between a young person and a company, where the end product is a skilled, work-ready young adult.”