Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Building a future


CRAIG Phillips' life could have gone in a very different direction. At 13 he started working in a small butcher's shop in Liverpool, and, battling with dyslexia, left school at 15 with no qualifications to work there full-time.

By the age of 18 he was running two shops successfully, but having doubts about his career. 'I came to a turning point. I couldn't see a big future in being a butcher, supermarkets were sweeping the board. I went off and travelled around Europe for six months. When I came back I had no money and no job. I got offered a labouring job in Shropshire, where my mum and stepdad were running a pub.' While working for Wrekin he completed a City and Guilds in brickwork, and took further night school courses.

'I've always had a lot of drive, and realised that I wouldn't go very far very quickly in a large company. I worked as a sole trader for several years. It was hard to make a name for myself. They had the image of a stereotypical thieving Scouser ? it took me years of working hard for next to nothing to prove myself. I did the refurbishment on the pub my parents ran which dates from the 1400s. After five years I was in a great position where I could pick and choose my jobs.' By the end he was employing over 30 tradesmen and turning over more than £1 million. But after Big Brother he did not have the time to keep his building company going. These days, his hands-on building work is reserved for derelict properties in Merseyside that he buys and refurbishes.

He is also taking on a project renovating a cottage for another celebrity with a history in construction, Ricky Tomlinson.

'He told me it was a bit unusual because you got a boat with it. I asked if it was by a canal, but he said no, there was no road and for three months a year the river was flooded and you needed a boat to get out!'