At this point it seems like the Green Deal just can't catch a break. After a humiliating first year it seemed like things were picking up for the Government's flagship energy scheme, but it will now be investigated by Parliament's spending watchdog after it was revealed that a staggering £36 million was spent on the scheme in the last 12 months.

A report from the Independent highlighted some of the spending the scheme made on promotion in February, including:

  • Over £300,000 on "consumer demand, marketing and communications". This included a £100,000 rebranding exercise.
  • £227,000 to a single consultancy company on Green Deal monitoring and evaluation.
  • £20,000's worth of fees to part-time staff helping to run the scheme. This is in addition to the plan's full-time civil servants.

The criticism of the scheme came following the publication of the latest uptake figures for March, released by the DECC last week. While the figures show that there is a rise in households seeking assessments and installing energy-saving measures, the increase perhaps isn't quite enough to have justified this level of spending. The report said that currently 2000 households had plans in progress by the end of March, a slight step up from February's 1754.

Meanwhile 188,234 green assessements were lodged, which is a big increase over the previous month's 25,138. The increase of 163,096 marks the highest number logged and a rise of 40%.

As for Green Deal Plans, 2,000 household were shown to have plans 'in progress'. Five hundred and thirty two were 'new' (quote accepted), 473 were marked as 'pending' (Plan signed) and 995 were 'live' (all measures installed). Of the measures installed, boilers accounted for 30%, followed by photovoltaics (25%), solid wall insulation (17%) and loft insulation (9%).

A spokesperson for the DECC commented saying that the Green Deal was always a "long-term" project that would deliver results "over a long time frame", but that didn't stop detractors from speaking out. House of Commons Public Accounts Committee chairman Margaret Hodge had this to say:

"It is pathetic when you consider that the Coalition promised to be the greenest government ever yet is spending millions of pounds on a scheme that is not even performing at the margins. Sadly, the Green Deal is looking like it is extremely poor value for money."

Is the Green Deal beyond salvagable at this stage?

With a distinct shortage of skilled bricklayers during a big construction boom, naturally the wages are just as high as the demand. But only this month has it been revealed just how high these wages can go, as some bricklayers are found to be earning six-figure salaries in certain parts of the UK.

Speaking to the Sun newspaper, property consultant Mark Famer explained that because of the shortage builders could command such high salaries. In London he said day rates are anywhere between £150 and £200, with more experienced bricklayers able to "earn the equivalent of £100,000 a year". This is quite a turn from the time during the recession, where rates fell by 50% due to the lack of work.

While London might be the centre of attention in all of this, that doesn't mean the same wage rises don't apply elsewhere! There are new build projects starting across the UK, especially in the housing sector thanks to Government plans to build over 200,000 new homes. These houses are going to not only need bricklayers, but also qualified carpenters, plasterers. tilers and decorators to get the job finished - all of which are currently in demand by the industry. 

But before you can take advantage of the demand and start a brand new career in the construction industry, you'll need to earn the qualifications employers look for. At Access Training, we make sure that our trades training courses give you exactly what you need for a long and successful career - not just in terms of qualifications, but also skills that will remain with you for the rest of your life. No matter which path you plan to take, Access specialises in all the different trade types to ensure you get the best possible training.

Want to find out more? Give our course advise team a call on 0800 345 7492. They'll be happy to answer any questions you may have, and you can also arrange a tour of our training centre to find out first hand how we do things here. And who knows, maybe you'll be earning that six figure salary one day!

Via International Business Times

It's more good news for the construction industry as the Government begins to move forward with £36 billion of planned infracture investment between 2014 and 2015 - potentially supporting over 150,000 jobs.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osbourne paid a joint visit to a Skansa site yesterday to promote the measure, which will see 200 projects rail, road, local transport, flood defences, broadband, airport infrastructure and waste management start construction. In addition to this, nearly 200 infrastructure projects will see completion this year. The £36bn investment consists of £5bn public money, £21bn in private cash and £10bn in joint investment.

A full list of the projects can be found here.

Cameron said: "Ensuring Britain has first class infrastructure is a crucial part of our long term economic plan: supporting business, creating jobs and providing a better future for hardworking people.

"As a crucial part of our long-term economic plan, this government is backing business with better infrastructure so that more jobs and opportunities are created for hardworking people, meaning more financial security and peace of mind for families.

Osborne added: "Because of the tough decisions we have taken in day to day spending, we can prioritise public investment where it is most needed and create the right conditions for private investment in infrastructure where it brings value for the taxpayer.

“So this year over 200 new projects worth an estimated £36 billion are due to start, creating thousands of jobs, securing future growth and delivering the world class infrastructure Britain deserves."

More jobs means more opportunity, and more opportunity means an even better reason why now is the time to re-train and take up a career in the construction industry. With on ongoing economic boom raising the demand for qualified bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, tilers and more, wages have also reached an all-time high. Some areas in the UK even reported bricklayers earning upwards of £100,000 a year! If you've been looking to for a more challenging and active career, now is the time to take the bull by the horns.

But first you'll need the proper skills and qualifications for the job, something we can help you with here at Access Training. Offering intensive training courses in all of the popular trades, our expertise will guide you through everything you need to know for your brand new career. To find out more and speak to a member of our course advice team please give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.

Via Construction Enquirer

Last month the DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) announced amendments to the current Building Regulations, introducing a previously proposed third party inspection scheme to allow DIY enthusiasts/those not registered with a Competent Persons Scheme to have their work checked and certified. However NICEIC and ELECSA have announced that they will be opting out of these changes, arguing that the changes could "undermine registered electricians" and cause more harm than good.

In a statement from Emma Clancy, CEO of Cetsure (which operates the two brands), it was said they "do not wish to see DIY'ers carry out potentially dangerous electrical work" and believe it needs to be left to competent electricians who will able to comply with the wiring regulations. She went on to point out that the third party inspector scheme is not UKAS accredited, meaning that there is to be no external verification ensuring that the scheme operators are doing their job to the correct standard.

"It makes a mockery of competent persons’ schemes and the tens of thousands of registered electricians already in the marketplace. There are glaring holes in the scheme, such as the amount of time an installation can be live before it is checked, potentially endangering the householder," she continued.

Other electrical contractors have also expressed concerns over the scheme, especially toward a lack of clarity as to where the responsibility lies. Is it with the inspectors even though they didn't install it? The question has also been raised as to why DIY installers do the work themselves (and get it checked) in the first place, when as it stands they'd actually be saving money by hiring a competent electrician to do the work.

Finally, Certsure have released a video where NICEIC/ELECSA representatives Tony Cable and Darren Stanniforth discuss the brands' position on third party certification. You can view it here at this link.

Here at Access Training, we fully agree that DIYers shouldn't be attempting any form of electrical installation without the proper knowledge, training and qualifications to ensure that their work isn't a hazard to themselves or anybody else. However we also understand some of you will want to have a go at it yoursepves, which is why our range of electrical training courses is suitable for trainee electricans and DIY enthusiasts alike! At our Cardiff training centre, you'll be able to earn your 17th Edition Wiring and Part P qualifications, proving you skilled enough to join a Competent Person Scheme and tackle all sorts of domestic electrical work yourself.

To find out more, just give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

We've posted plenty of blog entries about how changing careers into construction right now because of the big industry boom that's going on, but what about the other great reasons beside wages and job opportunity? New research from AXA Business Insurance looked at hundreds of UK tradespeople to find out more about them.

The old stereotype of trade work just being for those who don't want to go to/dropped out of university couldn't be more wrong, with over a third of respondents (37%) being university educated. Meanwhile 83% had formal qualifications in their respective trades (such as an NVQ Level 2 diploma), and 70% had gotten where they are today through an apprenticeship. In turn, more than half had then extended these opportunities to other newcomers to the trade by offering a formal apprenticeship within their own businesses.

Another stereotype that's slowly being broken down is that trade work is just a man's game. Though the growing amount of female tradespeople still only represented one in ten within the research, two thirds of these were under the age of 35 - suggesting that many women are now considering it to start our careers.

The decision to be your own boss and go self-employed is also proving to be increasingly popular - with over half of respondents going on to set up their own business. 28% revealed that their introduction into the trade was through a family business, while half also said they had worked in another industry before settling on their trade. That just goes to show how it's never too late to make a career change!

So how about a bit more of their working routine? According to the data, the UK's tradespeople are working an average of 41 hours a week, taking around 2 and 3/4 week's holiday a year. The majority (89%) will work weekends some of the time while one in five always work weekends. But despite this, when asked to rate their job happiness on a scale of 1 to 10, the average came out at eight suggest most tradespeople are content with their way of life. And of course, if working weekends is going to be a problem, as a self-employed tradesperson you'll be able to choose your own hours!

So there you have it, the other side as to why joining a trade can be an amazing career path. This research just highlights how tradespeople can come from all manner of different backgrounds with different skillsets, but all get to enjoy the same rewards. The same applies to our trades training courses - we welcome students from all different backgrounds, gender, experience and skill levels. All you need with us is the determination to make your new career a reality. To find out more about the range of electrician, plumbing, gas and construction courses we have on offer, please just give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

Via HVP Mag

On Friday the 28th March the Electrical Safety Council was no more, relaunching with a new web site as Electrical Safety First. The rebranding is part of a new, ongoing campaign to raise public awareness of the dangers of electricity, after Government survey suggested awareness was at an all-time low. According to their data, only 14% of the general public were even aware of Part P!

The new name has come after 18 months of extensive research into what was already known about electrical safety. This didn't just extend to the general public - the Government, key stakeholders and even the industry itself were also scrutinised over what they knew about the dangers and what they knew about the Electrical Safety Council itself. It seems few knew that the Council was in fact a consumer charity, with many thinking it was either a trade association or part of the Government. So as a result of this, a name change was decided to reflect its nature as a charity.

However not everyone is pleased with the change, as some electricians have criticised dropping the more authoritative 'council' in favour of the more "more meaningless" 'first'. They believe that the name now lacks the respect it previously had and would have been far more suited to a campaign change rather than a charity. However Electrical Safety First defended the change, claiming that their research pointed to them needing a simpler name, along with easier to digest language to accompany it. 

Electrical Safety First say they've already secured significant media coverage to raise the profile of electrical safety, and this has started with the revival of famous 70s/80s public information animated series Charley Says. These films were the work of Richard Taylor Cartoons, and saw a little boy named Tony and his cat Charley learn valuable lessons on all manner of things. The new film is narrated/voiced by comedian David Walliams, who was excited to revive the series. "I loved Charley Says when growing up and I think it's great that Electrical Safety First is bringing the characters back to life and creating some new storylines," he said. "We've all had a go at mimicking Charley the cat's 'meow', so I just hope my version is up to scratch and will help people stay safe in the home."

You can view the new video here at the Electrical Safety First website.

Complicated electrical installations should always be left to the trained professionals, while if you would like to have a go at simpler tasks at home its vital that you AT LEAST have the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations and Part P qualifications. Whether you wish to gain electrician qualifications for professional or personal gain, we can help you achieve them with our intensive training courses here at Access Training. If you'd like to find out more about what our courses entail and book your place, give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

Why not start a new career?The steps to retrain and start a new career aren't quite as hard as many people think, but there's always one obstacle that makes the decision much harder than it needs to be - fear. The fear of it not quite working out, the fear of what other people might think of your new career path, the fear of struggling to find (and pass) the training you require...these and many other fears are preventing people from making their dreams come true. However, these fears will only stop you if you let them, and this can be avoided with three simple steps to helping that dream career become a reality.

Play to your strengths

The various construction/trade industries all rely on different skillsets that realistically may or may not be suitable. Trades such as bricklaying or plastering place greater emphasis on physical strength and stamina, while electrical and gas engineering training require more theory knowledge and calculating skills. Knowing what you excel at is the key to making your new career a success, but be sure to also do a good amount of research into your potential new career before starting down the path. What qualifications do you need? Where can you train? What will the course entail? These are the kind of questions you should be asking, and ones that our team of course advisors would also be happy to answer for you.

 

Take it one step at a time

Even if you're dead-set on what you want to do with your life, the thought of rushing into a new career can still be incredibly daunting. At the same time, procrastinating can also doom something to failure before it's even gotten properly off the ground. Don't just make a website or twitter and then leave it to die; instead, wait until you're good and ready to do things like that . Take it slowly - we've already mentioned research, so move on to writing your goals down on paper. Discuss your plans with friends and family - you never know, they might have work that needs doing that you can eventually take on or even have some handy contacts in the industry. Come to one of our training centres, have a look around, and discuss your needs with our course advisors. Then, when you feel ready, you can book the date for your training course and have plenty of time to prepare yourself.

 

Prepare a safety net

While we by no means think failure is a likely thing (in fact, we're confident it'll be quite the opposite), it would be wrong of you to not prepare for the worst just as a precautionary measure. Make sure you have an idea of where you could turn for a job should your new career not turn out the way you expect, and then once that's written down, keep it safe and you need never think about it again unless it comes up. It's also good to be sure you have ample finances to keep yourself afloat while you're training. If you're currently employed you might want to hold onto that job for as long as possible while you retrain. This is why we've made our courses flexible - so that you can train when you have the time.

 

That should get some of the fear out of the way! Now, here are some very real facts that demonstrate why now is the time to start a new career as a professional plumber, electrician, gas engineer or construction worker. The UK is always short of professional tradespeople to perform all kinds of domestic installations and fixings, and with new housebuilding on the rise that shortage is only going to increase. There simply aren't enough bricklayers, plasterers, carpenters and tilers around to help set the houses up, and even when there are, where are the electricians, plumbers and decorators who are able to turn that house into a home?

Construction/trade careers are cited among the happiest around, offering the right level of challenge to match the skills required. The hours and pay rate are enviable too, especially if you choose to go self-employed!

Still, there's no wrong time to start a new career. These trades aren't just a young man's game, nor are they something best suited only to older people; if you've got the drive and dedication to earn your qualifications and make the dream come true, then you're exactly what employers are looking for.

To find out more about what's on offer here at Access Training, give us a call on 0800 345 7492. Keep your end goal in sight, and then not even fear will be able to stop you.