So you've completed your trades training course and are now out in the world as a self-employed tradesperson. You've got your vehicle, all your tools and are ready for long and prosperous career ahead of you. You might feel relaxed, but even then there's is still the need to be vigilant about certain things.

Statistics from Commercial Vehicle Direct Insurance Services have revealed that tradespeople have lost over £75 million due to tool thefts from their vehicles since 2008. Tradespeople are a popular target for thieves, with the average value of their tool box being over £1900 according to claims made between the 1st May 2011 and 30th November 2013.

The survey found the areas hit by the most costly thefts in the last five years are:

  • London Metropolitan - £30.6 million
  • Yorkshire - £10 million
  • Essex - £5.3 million
  • West Midlands - £4.2 million
  • Great Manchester - £2.9 million

Meanwhile certain places have also seen a significant rise in vehicle-related crime. Essex had it worse at a 68% rise, followed closely by Avon & Somerset (57%) and Greater Manchester (45%). At the bottom of the table was Suffolk (22%) and London Metropolitan, which only saw a 12% increase. The figures were obtained through a freedom of information request to UK police forces.

CVDIS director Andrew Jackson commented: "A tradesperson's toolkit is their livelihood and being without it for any period of time can be crippling. Of course, tradespeople must take precautions themselves, as leaving hundreds or sometimes thousands of pounds worth of tools in their vehicles can make them a target for thieves. But other actions are also needed."

So just remember to lock your vehicles up at night and whenever you're not around. While its not our intention to scaremonger, you never know when thieves are about! Not only that, but making sure you have the right insurance that covers everything could be the thing that saves your business should the worst happens. Even if you never use it, the security of having it there is not worth passing up.

 

National Apprenticeship Week is fast approaching, and the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) is just one of the many groups drawing attention to just how important that are to the trade industry.

With university degrees proving to be less helpful in the job market, its not surprising that so many young people are turning towards different career paths when leaving school. Stable jobs are getting tougher and tougher to get into as Britain slowly climbs out of the recession, and when an employer has to make cuts new graduates are usually the ones that suffer. By learning a trade such as plumbing, electrics or any sub-sector of the construction industry, young people are providing themselves with skills for life that are often in demand for more than the skills most degrees yield.

According to the Office of National Statistics, over a quarter of university graduates are earning less than school leavers on apprenticeships. Not only this, but a survey by BAE Systems and the Royal Academy of Engineering also highlighted just how beneficial trades training courses can be. Almost a third of respondants (29%) said that they now see training schemes as a viable option for their children. They also admitted that five years ago it was something they would have never even considered.

CIPHE CEO Kevin Wellmen stressed just how important apprenticeships, specifically calling them the "lifeblood of the industry" and saying that they should be given the respect they deserve. He added: "For too long they have been seen as a second-class route to a career. I believe that attitude is now changing."

However, he also commented that the plumbing and heating industry needs its apprentices to be of the highest standard, which they should aim toward by achieving an NVQ diploma. This will "ensure they have the right skills to tackle the challenges they will meet in the workplace".

And where can you achieve an NVQ qualification? Access Training Academies of course! Our intensive training courses provide all the skill and quality you'd find in a college course, but in a fraction of that time. The tutors are all experiences tradesmen themselves, all with a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with you in classes of no more than eight students to a tutor. With accredititation from the likes of City & Guilds, Logic, BPEC, NICEIC, the Gas Safe Register and more, you can rest assured that we put nothing short of 100% quality into all of our trade courses. To find out more, give our team a call on 0800 345 7492.

National Apprentice Week 2014 will take place from the 3rd to the 7th March. Stay tuned to this blog for more stories during that time!

It seems like almost every day we're posting about the ongoing construction boom and just how much its going to benefit new construction trainees, but the industry really is on the rise and the good news just keeps on coming!

Now the latest CITB Construction Skills Network forecast is estimating that the industry is set to see 182,000 new jobs created over the next five years. This rapidly recovering market is led by increased housing demand, with skill shortages predicted across several occupations. In addition to this, planned new nuclear builds will also result in an increased demand for scaffolders over a period of at least four years.

Over the next five years, this is how construction performance in the UK is expected to look:

  • The South West, Wales and East Anglia will benefit to perform the strongest, at +3.5%, +3.4% and 3% respectively - all above the national average of 2.2%.
  • Other areas will feel the effects much more slowly, but the North West (+1.3%), East Midlands (1.1%) and West Midlands (+0.8%) are all still set to improve.
  • Employment growth is a lot more mixed. Some areas are set to see a notable growth (East Anglia is expected to increase by an average of 2% a year), while others may see a reduction (the West Midlands at 0.2%)
  • Private housing will be the main drive for the growth, with the sub-sector rising by around 7% in 2014, with a further 5% the following year. From then on, its expected to grow by 4.6% a year until 2018.
  • Infrastructure is set to have the second largest annual growth, at 3.6%, followed by industrial (3%) and public housing (2.2%)

CITB chairman James Wates commented that the report showed that the economy is "turning the corner" and that the construction industry is benefitting from that. However he also stated: "Growth needs to be sustainable; underpinned by long-term infrastructure projects and continued investment. Employment in 2018 is predicted to be 196,000 below pre-recession levels, which is why measures must be taken now to ensure growth is sustained over the long-term."

Do you need any further proof that now is the time to take up a trades training course and enter the construction industry? Over the next few years there is going to be increasing demand for bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, tilers and painters/decorators. All of these professions are needed in order to meet the rising housing quota, and entering the industry as a qualified professional has never been easier. Access Training Academies offer quality, accredited courses in all of these trades at our state-of-the-art training centre just outside Cardiff city centre. Here you'll learn from our experienced tutors in classes no larger than eight students, permitting to work closely alongside your tutor. After learning the skills required to be a professional tradesperson, you'll be able to undertake the tests required to earn your qualifications right here at the centre. From there the construction world is your oyster - you can go and find employment in a larger company, or alternatively take the steps to set up your own business.

The best part is, these intensive courses will get you fully trained in a matter of weeks, as opposed to the few years it will take with a college course. That may sound like you're getting much less out of it, but our City & Guilds accreditation is a sure symbol that we don't skimp on any of the quality. To find out more about our range of course please fill in the online form found on this website or give us a call on 0800 345 7492. From there one of our course advisors will be happy to answer any outstanding questions you may have.

The construction boom is here, don't miss out!

While obviously the main part of gaining a great reputation as a plumber, electrician or any kind of tradesperson is to be fully qualified from an accredited training course, there are still other aspects you have to look at in order to make your business become a success. In the past we've looked at issues such as how your van looks, using social media and even how to handle missed calls. But now we come to another big part of today's modern age and how consumers will search for a competent tradespeople - the internet, or more specifically, websites.

According to new research from digital marketing/website provider hibu, less than a third of construction firm websites are mobile-friendly. With 62% of adults in the UK now using smart phones and 83% having browsed the internet on their phone, this is proving to be a missed opportunity to reach a wider audience. Smart phones are quickly becoming the most common method of accessing the internet thanks to their portability and ability to be used on the go - and so in some ways its even more crucial to have your website mobile ready than it is laptop accessible.

Hibu UK Chief Executive Officer Richard Hanscott said: "Anyone who has visited a website that isn’t mobile-friendly knows how frustrating – or even impossible – it is to browse and navigate it on their mobile device. With consumers increasingly searching local businesses on their smartphones and tablets, it’s crucial that firms have websites that are mobile-friendly so that they continue to attract customers and do not fall behind their competitors. Business owners may feel daunted by mobile technology but in reality they do not need any technical skills to ensure that their site works well and looks great on any device, or even optimised specifically for smartphone or tablet."

So once you've earned your qualifications and are heading out to become a self-employed tradesperson, a mobile friendly website is definitely something worth considering. If you find yourself struggling to do this, hibu have launched a business store specifically catering to those in need of one. The best part is that you can also take advantage of a 30-day free trial before signing up to the full service.

ELECSA and NICEIC operators NAPIT and Certsure have come together to create a single place consumers can go to find a fully qualifiied electrician. This easily identifiable mark will cover all full scope Part P registered electricians and is planned to roll out this year.

The two associations both created their own individual registers last year, but have since realised the advantages of creating a single one to avoid confusion. In addition to this, both feel that the attention given to the launches has proved a distracytion from key issues in the electrical industry - namely safety and quality. To overcome this, NAPIT and Certsure met back in November to discuss the way forward in terms of promoting competent, qualified electricians.

The proposal that has been put forward is anticipated to include all licensed Electrical Competent Person Scheme Operators in England and Wales who are approved by the DCLG to run an electricial certification scheme, who have been said to be "happy with the plans" in principle. The schemes will continue to operate individually in accordance with current Building Regulations, however they will now also promote the new quality mark as well as their own.

Emma Clancy, Chief Executive Officer of Certsure, said consumers will now benefit from a single point of reference, making it far easier for consumers to locate a registered electrician in their area. NAPIT Chief Executive Michael Andrews added that the new register will also "ensure that electrical installers continue to be able to take advantage of the choice and value for money that comes as part and parcel of healthy competition in the marketplace"

When becoming a fully qualified electrician, gaining your Part P qualification and joining a Competent Persons Scheme is an incredibly important step to take. It ensures consumers that you are fully qualified and able to perform electrical installations, setting you apart from the so-called "cowboy builders" that plague the industry. Not only that, but a Part P qualification allows electricians to self-certify their own work. This means you can sign off on any installations without having to inform your local building authority - saving you a considerable amount of money in inspection fees.

The Part P qualification, along with all electrical qualifications needed to become a full-time electrician, is available as an intensive course from Access Training Academies. If you would like the steps to become a fully-fledged electrician, take a look at the courses we have on offer and give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.

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