Walking past a bookshop opened a whole new chapter in Iain Beck's career.

The trained tinsmith is now forging a new career as a blacksmith making decorative wrought-iron products to clients' own designs from his workshop in Banbury thanks to help from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Beck was looking to change careers after the introduction of computers left him with very little skilled work - and the chance to employ his engineering skills in a more traditional field came about in Rugby town centre.

"I served my apprenticeship as a tinsmith at Park Sheet Metal in Exhall and I continued in the industry until seven years ago when computers came along and took away a lot of our work since they could carry it out much more quickly," he said.

"I re-invented myself as a blacksmith when I happened to be walking through Rugby past a bookshop.

"This particular book about artist blacksmiths might only have been small but it jumped out at me so I went in there and bought it.

"I took it to Germany where I was working at the time to read it and when I came back, I put myself through a year's course in blacksmithing at Moreton Morrell and set up Iain Beck Metalwork."

Mr Beck's forge is based a few minutes' drive from his home in Ratley and he juggles his time between carrying out his commissions and lecturing part-time in blacksmithing at Moreton Morrell where he completed the course.

"The skills I learned in the automotive sector can be applied to blacksmithing and my aim is to become known and established for producing bespoke, unique work, for architectural as well as public and private purposes," he said.

"The principles and methods of blacksmithing are very similar to that of tinsmithing. Raw material is hammered, stretched, bent and formed into the final product, for which my background has given me a good eye and feel for.

"I also love teaching. It is very rewarding to see someone who doesn't have a great deal of knowledge about a subject slowly being transformed into someone who can work metal with an individual style."

He is also working with the Chamber of Commerce on various aspects of developing his business and has joined its Manufacturing Networking Programme which holds events for local manufacturers to swap ideas and work together.

Nikki Eaton, who runs the Manufacturing Networking Programme, said: "We hear too many stories of companies losing their skills base - it is always good to see someone making good use of their abilities to strike out in a new direction."