Even though we're only one month into it, 2014 is setting up to be a fantastic year for the construction industry and tradespeople alike with a seemingly constant stream of news to suggest Britain is truly climbing out of the recession and the industry has a long line of prosperity ahead of it. This doesn't look like it'll just mean more jobs in the industry for trainees currently going through various construction training courses, but improved benefits for you as well.

Reed, one of the largest recruitment companies in the UK, revealed that new vacancies on its website rose by 29% in January compared to 2013 - with construction and property leading the way with a 74% increase. This is due to the construction boom the industry is currently in the midst of, along with a significant rise in both private and public housing planned. Reed's statistics showed that around one in five of the national workforce actively searched for a new job in January.

However despite the gradual increase in job vacancies there have been over the last few months, the average salary hasn't seen much change at all. This is set to change though as a skills shortage, particularly in the construction industry, has become prevalent. Many fear that there is simply not enough trained labourers to replace those that will be retiring in the next five or so years - and so fully qualified plasterers, carpenters, tilers and bricklayers in high demand. Knowing that there's a construction boom currently taking place, workers have also gained newfound confidence in their careers. And of course, the ever-growing cost of living is also a factor in why employers are being pressured to (deservedly) increase pay.

So what does this mean for new construction trainees? Well, for starters there's never been a better time to start a career in the construction trade, whichever sector you think may be suitable for you! Qualified construction workers have always been in demand and commanded impressive salaries, but the industry really is at the top of its game right now - not only will you find yourself in an exciting and varied line of work, but your skills will be valued more than ever.

But what's the quickest and most effective way to break into the industry? College courses can be beneficial, but not only are many understaffed with limited facilities but they can also take years to complete. While the industry is expected to enjoy this "golden age" for a fair few years, there's no guarantee that the high demand for workers will last this long. What you need is an intensive trades training course - the very kind we provide here at Access Training Academies. Our training courses last a matter of weeks rather than months, and pack the same (if not better!) quality you'd find elsewhere. In smaller class sizes you'll learn from tutors with a number of years' experience in their field, completing both theory and practical work before earning valued qualifications here at our accredited Cardiff training centre. These qualifications come from awarding bodies such as City & Guilds, and represent exactly what a plasterer, carpenter, tiler or bricklayer need to break into the industry successfully.

To find out more about the construction training courses we offer, call Access on 0800 345 7492 and speak to one of our course advice team. They'll be happy to answer any questions you have and arrange a full tour of our facilities so you can see exactly what we do before signing up.

2014 is a brand new year - take hold of it and take the steps toward that new career you've always dreamed of.

There's more to being an electrician than simply completing your electrician training course. earning your qualifications and starting work. Another duty is to promote the safe use of electrical appliances and installations, much like the work of charity the Electrical Safety Council. Their latest campaign is calling for retailers and manufacturers to promote awareness after research found hair straighteners are being sold without additional safety devices or information on preventing burns.

Their investigation found that hair straightener burns among children have doubled in recent years, accounting for nearly one in ten burns. It also found that two thirds of parents are not taking the measures to store the appliances away safely. Hair straighteners can reach temperatures of up to 235°C, staying hot for around 15 minutes even after they have been switched off. Many incidents have been caused when toddlers touch, grab or even tread on the hot straightener plates. However it isn't just children who are at risk, as nearly half of all adults surveyed said they have received a burn from a hair appliance before.

However blame does not solely lie with the parents, as the ESC's mystery shoppers investigation also found that none of the high street and online retailers sampled encouraged customers to buy heat proof pouches alongside them. More alarmingly, while most manufactures provided basic safety information with their straighteners, only a third provided any sort of heat proof mat or pouch. Those that were tested varied greatly in quality - with some even smelting once heat was applied.

The ESC are now starting their own hard-hitting campaign to promote awareness and reduce burns among children and adults alike. The campaign, dubbed "Beauty Burns" has already created a powerful video to illustrate the effects of leaving these potentially dangerous appliances unattended around children. The charity will also be giving away free heat proof pouches in an attempt to encourage people to store their hair straighteners properly. To find out more about the campaign, visit its official page at www.esc.org.uk/beautyburns.

ESC spokesperson Emma Apter commented that it was "worrying" these products are being sold without retailers or manufacturers taking reasonable steps to promote safety. She added: "Hair straighteners can cause burns so serious that surgery is required, and children are at even more risk since their skin can be 15 times thinner than that of adults. Retailers and manufacturers must do more to protect their customers."

While most tradespeople are hardworking, honest people, there are always going to be some out there who try to spoil it for everyone else. These "cowboy builders" are the kind that don't complete a trades training course and try to get by on their own knowledge, not only breaking the law but also putting their customers in serious danger. Here's just one example of what happens to people who pretend to be a professional electrician without the relevant qualifications or electrical training course. This foolish contractor has been fined for fraudulently claiming to be registered with certification group NICEIC while at the same time carrying out dangerous electrical work.

David Taylor, trading under the name DT Property Maintenance and Electrical Contractors, was found guilty by Snaresbrook Crown Court of leaving electrical jobs unfinished - making homes unfit for human habitation. This included leaving dangerous electrical rewiring that needed to be put right as well as leaving leaking roof which needed replacing. All instances required other contractors to come in to fix the shoddy workmanship, costing residents in excess of £10,000 in addition to what they had previously paid Mr Taylor.

Action was taken by Hackney Council's Trading Standards, who worked closely with NICEIC to reveal that he was falsely using the NICEIC, Trustmark and Part P logos in his business. Mr Taylor pleaded guilty to 12 separate counts under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, landing him a sentence of eight months. In addition to this, in November 2013 he had also been found guilty at a trial in Isleworth Crown Court for committing fraud against an employer. This case was brought to court by the Metropolitan Police and resulted in an additional 12 month prison sentence.

NICEIC's CEO Emma Clancy said that the group take misuse of their logo "very seriously and welcome this latest prosecution". She went to on say how the NICEIC logo is associated with quality and it was their duty to protect the honest contractors associated with them. It also sends out the message that anyone found to be misusing the logo will be caught and dealt with appropriately.

After hearing Mr Taylor's story, does working as a cowboy builder and falsely using Competent Persons Scheme/qualification logos sound worth it to you? I thought not. The only way to become an electrician is to do it properly, and that's by completing an electrical training course and EARNING the qualifications properly. From here you will be able to properly join a Competent Persons Scheme and join the ranks of the honest electricians working hard across the country. Our electrician courses here at Access Training will get you well on the way to starting your new career, offering high quality teaching in an unbeatable time frame.

Just give Access Training Academies a call on 0800 345 7492 to find out more.