Now that the Conservative and Liberal Democratic coalition government has its feet firmly under the table, we wait with baited breath to witness the effects of cuts in government spending being made across the board. The cuts, although severe, don’t seem as though they will reach the rumoured 30 or 40 percent which sections of the press were reporting. We sincerely hope it stays this way so you can survive this period of uncertainty unscathed. 

However, there is a positive element to the cuts. The drive for public sector efficiencies aims to reduce red tape, helping to ease the cost of running a business. This will include the review of established regulations, which can only be good news for those individuals who are keen to set up their own businesses and become qualified and established self employed tradesmen.

One concerning aspect is the review currently being undertaken regards current Building Regulations, and in particular, the section which affects domestic electrical installations. An example of such a review includes the Approved Document P, or simply Part P, as most people will know it.  Phil Buckle, Director General of the Electrical Safety Council, spoke about the importance of attending electrical training, and particularly the appropriate electrical training to gain the all important Part P electrical qualifications: “It is the Electrical Safety Council’s View, that the removal of Part P would be detrimental to electrical safety.

“While we have an excellent safety record of fixed electrical installations in the UK, there are currently no controls in existence for those individuals wishing to undertake certain types of electrical work. It is feared that this could lead to an explosion in DIY projects, as the finances in many households are currently tight. This would negate the efforts of recent years to improve the safety of electrical installations in homes throughout the UK”.

The ESC has been made aware that certain unqualified individuals are having their electrical work ‘signed off’ by registered installers. It goes without saying that this practice represents a huge risk, and could easily lead to injury or even death. 

The conclusions we can draw are thus: if you are ‘Part P Qualified’ and are a registered Domestic Electrical Installer, or have become a registered member of a competent person scheme, the risks are yours if you decide to sign off any individual’s work. Take note: If an accident does occur, the Health and Safety Executive may well look to prosecute as it is deemed to be your responsibility under Part P of the Building Regulations.

Secondly, attending formal electrical training and becoming ‘Part P Qualified’ represents a worthwhile investment for anyone wishing to carry out electrical installations in homes. It is a legal requirement to do so, so don’t be one of the misguided few who persist in avoiding regulation.

Here at Access Training you can become Part P Qualified in no time at all. Just view our wide range of electrical training courses and choose the one which is most appropriate to the type of work you wish to carry out. What’s more, you can offset the cost of training against your tax bill; call us for more details.

In a stark warning from the UK’s building industry, there are currently not enough plumbers, electricians, gas engineers or the required skilled manpower to build and maintain the UK’s infrastructure

We have already mentioned in earlier posts the words of Di Johnson, president of the Electrical Contractors’ Association, who has voiced her concerns about the number of skilled trades people who will be available in the future.

She warned that the failure to invest now may result in a skills crisis, which would take the country years to recover from. Johnson aired her concerns: “there will come a time when we won’t have the skilled resources to deliver major infrastructure projects.

“I work in the electrical industry where the average age is around 45. This is largely the same across much of the craft sector, which means we could face serious problems in five years time as these skilled individuals start retiring from the profession, or look for a less physical office-based job… we simply will not have sufficient numbers to replace them. This will impact hugely on major infrastructure projects. If the nation’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup had been successful I would have had grave concerns about our ability to meet the deadlines.  

“Electrical, heating and ventilating professionals are the frontline troops responsible for delivering the sustainability agenda. These professionals can advise and properly install energy saving technology to ensure maximum efficiency. Without an increase of numbers in these sectors, we will not be able to hit the UK’s ambitious carbon reduction targets.”

Without a doubt, the time is nigh for any individual looking for a change in career to seriously examine the possibility of trades training. Whether you are interested in the electrical or plumbing industry, there are currently widespread opportunities available to those who receive trades training now. Whether they form their own business, or work for an employer, you will be able to secure your long term future, as well as that of the country.
 
To read in more depth the comments made by Di Johnson, please go to votlimum.co.uk. For further information regarding the trades training on offer here at Access, take a look at our plumbing, gas and electrical courses, and you could take great strides in the industry and fulfil your ambitions.

According to recent research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), companies looking to recruit staff with a high level of trade skills are still coming across the same stumbling block - they are at a distinctly short supply.

The report found that more than three quarters of construction related companies surveyed complained of a trade skills shortage.  They stated that the most difficult candidates to recruit were craft and trade skills workers, with a third of respondents admitting they were ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’ to find and hire as they are in such a short supply.

The CIOB’s deputy chief executive, Michael Brown, said: “There is still a skills shortage in the industry... no one knows what is around the corner. It will hit the industry twice as hard when we recover from the downturn as there will be a marked shortage of skills, even though we are currently operating at well below capacity.”

Interestingly, apprenticeships are currently struggling to fill the chasm in the trade skills gap. More than a third of those firms consulted during the survey employ apprentices; however, 44% currently do not do so, with 11% declaring their firm would be cutting back on the amount of people they were putting through trades training due to the testing economic conditions. However, the overall conclusion was that a third of respondents believed craft and skilled trades people were difficult to hire.

One comment made by a contributor elaborated thus: “We do not have problems attracting [apprenticeship] candidates, but unfortunately not everybody applying is of the required standard. Part of the problem is that the careers advice currently on offer seems to portray construction as a one level industry.” It seems that the best quality of candidate is not always attracted into the trades. Indeed, of the firms that do hire apprentices, 30% believed the number of individuals attracted into the industry had decreased.

This is very interesting news for adult learners and those looking into trades training as a career option. The message is loud and clear; there remains a huge skills gap with widespread opportunities available. Employers currently cannot attract the desired quality of individual, and apprenticeships are failing to fill the gap.

Here at Access Training, we teach a comprehensive range of industry recognised trade skills, which will help you secure a more lucrative and rewarding career. Contact Access Training today on 0800 345 7492.

Source: The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and www.Voltimum.co.uk

We are regularly asked various questions regarding the two City & Guilds Inspection and Testing Courses, as there seems to be some confusion as to exactly what each course entails. Access Training is here to clear this up:

  • I want to inspect & test but which qualification do I need?
  • What’s the difference between the City & Guilds 2391-10 and the City & Guilds 2392-10?
  • I have some basic experience of inspection and testing but I want to be able to issue Landlord Certificates, so which qualification is best for me?
  • Do I have enough experience to undertake the inspection and testing qualifications?
  • What does the 2392-10 qualification qualify me to do?

By way of general advice, we will now endeavour to outline these two important City & Guilds qualifications, which are appropriate for electricians, inspectors and other persons requiring training and qualifications in inspection and testing.

The two City & Guilds qualifications relating to electrical installations are:

The 2392-10 City & Guilds Level 2 Certificate in Fundamental Inspection, Testing and Initial Verification.

The 2391-10 City & Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Inspection, Testing and Certification of Electrical Installations.

Firstly you will notice the words highlighted in bold above; these show the subtle differences in the courses which are often missed. What becomes immediately clear is that one of the courses directly leads to the other; let’s elaborate on that point further:

The first qualification, the 2392-10, is a level 2 electrical qualification, which was developed to meet the needs of the electrical industry and for electrical training centres as a means of introducing students to the basics. It is also the perfect course to serve electricians, giving them the very best possible chance when naturally progressing onto the 2391-10. This is the qualification, which after completion allows you to ‘certify electrical installations’. The 2392-10 alone does not certify you to do this.

However, the main reason for this course being introduced was that the pass rate for the 2391 full inspection and testing examination was only around 40%, as many found the leap in understanding to be too great. Directly compare this to Access Training’s students pass rate of 72% for the 2391-10, if they have previously attended the 2392-10.

This proves that by passing the Fundamentals of Inspection and Testing in the first instance, your chances of achieving the lucrative 2391 Inspection and Testing qualification are nearly doubled!

In summary, the 2392-10 is suitable for those with limited experience or those with only basic prior knowledge of electrical principles (as taught on Access Training’s Professional Electrical Course and Advanced Electrical Course), and is a purpose designed lead-in to the full City and Guilds 2391-10 Inspection and Testing, giving you a much greater chance of successfully achieving the qualification.

The second qualification is the full name for City & Guilds 2391-10 Inspection & Testing qualification, which is the one you ultimately want to achieve. It is a more advanced electrical course and is a qualification which allows you to test and inspect domestic, commercial and industrial electrical installations – in layman’s terms, issuing Landlord Certificates.

As City & Guilds states, it is a Level 3 electrical course, and therefore has a relatively high degree of difficulty. Some practicing electricians make a concerted effort to avoid this qualification due to its infamy! Enquire about our course and we’ll explain why these fears can be easily allayed. 

To surmise, our advice is simple: unless you are fully aware of the level of expertise involved with achieving the 2391-10 Inspection & Testing qualification, or have previous extensive experience of inspection & testing practices, then you should achieve the 2392-10 Fundamentals of Inspection & Testing first. Although the 2392-10 doesn’t allow you to carry out any specific work as such, it dramatically increases your chances of passing the 2391-10, leading to a far better understanding of the inspection and testing process.

For specific information on the courses discussed in this article, click on the links below or call Access Training now on 0800 345 7492.

The 2392-10 City & Guilds Level 2 Certificate in Fundamental Inspection, Testing and Initial Verification.

The 2391-10 City & Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Inspection, Testing and Certification of Electrical Installations.

If you are reading this post you are doubtless aware of the continuing debate surrounding the future of Part P and whether or not it is sufficient to meet the demands of the electrical industry, and more importantly, of the general public.

Electricians across the spectrum seem to be divided about its effectiveness, unable to agree as to whether the current electrical building regulations go far enough, or simply create a vacuum within the industry. Since the coalition government took power the regulations have been caught up in the political undercurrents which have been circulating a number of government departments.

The debate will certainly go on, but the merits of Part P of the building regulations received a ringing endorsement last month from comments made by Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety Council, who said, “I certainly agree Part P has not been seen as the electrician’s friend, but it has certainly brought about benefits for the consumer.

“As a contributing factor towards improved safety, the Council will continue to lobby Westminster for its retention. We have also made our support for Part P clear at the party conferences held in the autumn of 2010. We have already sent comments to the Minister, Andrew Stunell, as part of an initial review of the building regulations. Our entire raison d’être [at the Electrical Safety Council] is to ensure the safety of all users of electricity. It would not be acceptable to the ESC if we were to allow a vacuum whereby untrained individuals could undertake electrical work without checks – this would surely be the case if Part P were scrapped.”

There seems little doubt that with the might of the Electrical Safety Council behind it, and in conjunction with associated bodies such as the NICEIC, Part P will remain in place, continuing to protect the general public from the dangers of unchecked electrical work in domestic properties.

If you’re an electrician or tradesperson undertaking electrical work in a domestic environment, it is essential to ensure your conformation with Part P of the building regulations. We would also highly recommend joining a Competent Person Scheme such as the NICEIC.

If you would like to learn more about the Part P electrical courses offered by Access Training, or you’d like to know more about the NICEIC, call us today on 0800 345 7492.