Funeral Director
The Co-operative Funeralcare

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Brian L

00:00:03 My name is Brian L. I’m a Funeral Director and Embalmer with the Co-operative Funeralcare. The role of a funeral director is quite simply to deal with families during one of the most upsetting and troubling times in their life. You make arrangements with the families. You organise ministers, crematoria, things like that to make sure that everything is perfect for them. You then conduct a funeral on the day of the service, which means you’ve quite a high profile.

00:00:29 We paging in front of the hearse, we’re making sure the family are comfortable, making sure there’s nothing worrying them and basically making sure the whole day goes just as they’d like.

00:00:40 When I was 13-14-15, I had a police record for vandalism, theft, things like that. It did make a big impact on my family’s life. What really changed was quite simply intervention from mainly one of my teachers and also my uncle who was a prison officer up in Edinburgh. He’d actually take me to the jail and put me in a jail cell for nearly two hours and just said this is where you’re heading if you don’t buck your ideas up.

00:01:12 And then Mr Coburn at my school when I was growing up in secondary, 15 year olds just took me aside and, you know, had a word with me, just told me, you know, I could do a lot better than I’m doing and, you know, if I just knuckled down, I can get into college and go on to do whatever I want.

00:01:29 I left college to become a mechanic at Pringle of Scotland, the knitwear firm. That was an apprenticeship and one of the big things that happened at that point in my second year of my apprenticeship, is I met my girlfriend, and decided to move down to South Cumbria and I became a bingo caller down here which it was a complete change from what I’d done before.

00:01:51 I then went onto work with an insulation firm fitting insulation to jet engines, and it was fascinating to see the engineering side which was the kind of the base I wanted to go into originally as a school leaver. I finished that and I started working at a petrol station and a restaurant just trying to make ends meet, you know, help the family out. Then I got the job in the funeral service and things literally from there went skywards.

00:02:23 There’s no specific qualifications that you need to come into the job. All of the training can be done while you’re working and doing the job. I started as a driver/bearer simply driving on funerals and bearing on funerals. I then progressed to full time taking care of the cars, making arrangements as a trainee funeral director. So everything can be learned doing the job, so it’s quite fortunate. We get a lot of people who can do the job that may not have school qualifications but they make some of the best funeral directors in the country.

00:02:58 My Mum was a great influence on my work ethic growing up. I mean at one point my Mother who brought us, all four of us, myself and my three brothers up on her own. She had two jobs, oh no, three jobs even trying to support us. We never went out without new shoes, we never went without anything we really needed. She was a great influence on how I view work. I’ve never been shy about having, you know, a couple of jobs to make ends meet, you know, so it’s been a big influence on the family.

00:03:32 Looking back to where I could’ve been, looking back to how I was as a teenager and look at myself now, I am very proud of how I am now and it just proves that you can, with a little bit of work and a little bit of dedication, that you can actually change no matter, you know, how off the rails you are as a teenager. I think everything that’s happened in my past, everything has accumulated to make me the person I am. So even if I could go back and change something, I don’t think I would. I’m happy with who I am and how I am.


Brian L is a Funeral Director and Embalmer at The Co-operative Funeralcare. He’d tried various jobs such as a mechanic and a bingo caller before he joined the funeral service. He likes the fact that the work-based training is very good, so you can become a really good funeral director without having a lot of academic qualifications.

More information about Undertakers, mortuary and crematorium assistants

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

84%  male 
16%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Undertakers, mortuary and crematorium assistants make funeral arrangements for clients, prepare the deceased for burial or cremation, and supervise and assist the proceedings of funerals.
There are no formal academic requirements although some employers require candidates to possess GCSEs/S grades. A full driving licence is often required. Training is provided on-the-job. Professional qualifications in funeral directing and embalming are available.
  • Collects body of deceased and assists with the completion of necessary documents;
  • Interviews relative or representative of the deceased to discuss preparations for funeral;
  • Liaises with cemetery or crematorium authorities on behalf of client;
  • Washes and injects body with sterilising fluid to prevent deterioration prior to funeral, and applies cosmetics, wax and other materials to restore normal appearance;
  • Provides hearse and funeral cars and leads funeral procession;
  • Controls the operations of crematoriums and cemeteries and processes legal documentation.
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