Summer temperaturesIf the last few weeks have taught us anything, it's just how hot the British summer can get. This might be fantastic for when you're relaxing and sunbathing, but when you're working, things can get rather uncomfortable. On a construction site, it may be awfully tempting to strip down to keep cool, but this is a big risk to building site safety. Workplace equipment supplier Slingsby is urging workers to stay safe by continuing to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hard hats and high visibility clothing.

These things should be provided by your employer under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations, to cover health and safety risks where they can't be controlled in other ways. Slingsby encourage employers to ensure that their workers aren't wearing uncomfortable or ill-fitting clothes, and to take the various brands and styles into account when purchasing the right PPE.

Building site safety always comes first, even more so with the HSE currently on a blitz of construction sites in the UK. While the final figures are yet to be confirmed, during a 2-week period of inspections the Health & Safety Executive is estimated to have stopped work on 13 occasions due to poor conditions. Obviously these were due to more serious conditions such as exposure to hazardous substances and materials, but not having the right precautions could still lead to fines.

If you're a construction employer, it is your duty to keep your workers safe; if you're a worker its your responsibility to abide by the building site safety rules for the sake of your own life.

If you're considering a career in the construction industry but require the skills and qualifications to make it happen, give Access Training Academies a call on 0800 345 7492. We provide intensive training courses complete with City & Guilds accreditation in bricklaying, plastering, tiling, carpentry, plumbing, gas, electric and more. Even though our courses are far shorter than those you'll find at a college or similar facility, the quality of learning we provide is no different as our courses are staffed by tutors with many years' experience in the industry as professionals. Whatever your needs or goals may be, our team is ready to find the perfect course for you!

s1jobs, Scotland's largest recruitment platform, is reporting a "digital revolution" within the construction industry as they saw an almost 50% rise in job vacancies advertised online in April 2014 compared with the same month last year.

With the construction industry still very much in the middle of its recent boom, it seems job seekers are also getting wise to this with s1jobs also recording more than 46,000 job applications in the first four months of this year.

They believe this suggests that the stereotypical image of a builder is a thing of the past (and they wouldn't be wrong there!), with them now more likely to be scrolling through job listings on a pc, tablet or smartphone. More than 35,000 searches for construction vacancies are made on the s1jobs site each month, while 13,500 candidates have looked to maximise their recruitment prospects by posting their CV online on s1jobs.

Scottish construction recruiter Contract Scotland was also in agreement of this new trend, with spokesperson Jennifer Brown saying: "IT literacy is assumed these days rather than requested. Take it from us, we haven’t seen a paper CV in years – I would definitely say it’s becoming a thing of the past."

Don't be fooled into thinking this is just a trend happening in Scotland either. The ever-increasing use of the internet to advertise and apply for jobs is something that's happening all across the UK - and arguably the world as well! With the floodgates open for people all over to apply for jobs, it's more important than ever that you make sure you have the right skills to put yourself ahead of the crowd. And the most effective way to do that is with an Access Training Academies trades training course. From bricklaying and carpentry to plastering, tiling and painting/decorating, we have all your construction needs covered complete with full City & Guilds accreditation. Unlike college courses which can take years to complete to the same standard, our courses get you up to speed in a matter of weeks with intensive hands-on training from industry professionals.

From there, the world is your oyster and no amount of online application forms will stop you in achieving your goal. To find out more give our team a call on 0800 345 7492, where our course advisers would be happy to answer your questions.

News via Installer magazine

Government-endorsed quality mark Trustmark are now helping tradespeople comply with new changes to home improvement and repair contracts, following the introduction of the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.

These new regulations have introduced major changes to consumer projection law, applying to contracts made in stores, online and in-home. Failure to comply to these regs may lead to prosecution or fine, so it's important that all qualified tradespeople know exactly what they need to do.

Among the major changes are:

  • Consumers are to be given far more information prior to signing a contract. This includes everything from information about the trader and goods to cancellation rights and any applicable charges.
  • Traders need the active consent of the consumer for all payments. Methods such as pre-ticked boxes for additional payments are no longer acceptable.
  • Consumers are not liable for costs they've not been told about in advance
  • The cooling-off period for goods and services sold by distance or off-premises selling will be now be14 days from date of delivery of the products across the EU. Formerly this was seven days from date of contract.
  • Where the consumer has the right to cancel a contract, they must be provided with a model cancellation form by the trader
  • The cancellation period is extended to, broadly, 12 months if the trader fails to provide certain pre-contract information. The trader could also be liable to a fine of up to £5,000.
  • There are some exemptions in regards to cancellation rights, one of which is for products "made to the consumer's specification" – this will include such products as made-to-measure windows made to a consumer's specific requirements; another is for urgent repairs and maintenance when a consumer invites a trader to their home.

TrustMark chairman Liz Male said these changes are "a big step forward" in helping both consumers and traders enjoy a clear and positive relationship. She added: "What matters now is that all TrustMark-registered firms get the detailed guidance they need in order to ensure they are fully compliant. I’m delighted our approved scheme operators in this sector, including NICEIC and NAPIT are already busy providing this support to their registered firms."

More information and further developments can be found at TrustMark's website.

How Safe Is Your House? is a new programme from the BBC that looks at all the different accidents that can befall homeowners. Not only does it feature experts uncovering home dangers that you might not know about, it also goes undercover to expose rogue tradespeople and the shoddy work they perform while pretending to be fully qualified. The second episode in the series aired last night on BBC 1, and included was something very important to us here at Access Training - proper gas engineer training and the Gas Safe Register.

It is estimated that there are currently around 7500 unqualified gas engineers working illegally in the UK, installing up a quarter of a million (250,000) appliances in our homes. All engineers should be part of the Gas Safe Register to work legally on any sort of gas appliance, and without that not only are they working illegally but you have no way of knowing how qualified these engineers really are. One simple registration may not be enough either - engineers must have separate qualifications for EACH gas appliance they work on. So if an engineer is Gas Safe Registered to work on boilers, that doesn't necessarily mean he has the qualifications to work on fires. The information as to exactly what your hired engineer is qualified in can be found on the back of their Gas Safe ID card, which you can ask to see at any time.

Operating as a gas engineer without first joining the register can not only result in fines/imprisonment, but it also endangers the lives of the homeowners who are placing their trust in you. A quick phone call is all it can take for a doubtful homeowner to double check whether their engineer is registered, and Gas Safe also provide these records online. With it so easy to be caught out, is it really worth endangering the lives of others and risking facing the law?

Andrew Barnes seemed to think so, as he was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive for not being Gas Safe Registered, fined and given a conditional discharge. Two months later, he was at it again without getting registered. How Safe is Your House went undercover to expose him, eventually confronting him when he continued to claim he was legally registered to work on gas appliances. It was only after this confrontation that he finally registered, but who knows what could have happened in the time he was practicing illegally.

The whole episode is well worth the watch, and can be found on BBC iPlayer for the next 6 days.

If you're training to become a gas engineer or considering a change of career to become a gas engineer, it is vital that you earn the correct qualifications and then become Gas Safe Registered. Here at Access Training we'll be able to help you with this, as we offer intensive gas training courses complete with a work placemebt and ACS assessment. You'll learn the basics from experienced gas engineers before moving on to completing a top quality portfolio working alongside an established engineer. Then you'll return to our centre ready to tackle the ACS assessments, fully qualifying you for Gas Safe Registration.

Having the right qualifications isn't just a matter of being the best you can, it's a legal obligation. Don't risk the lives of your customers, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 and get the correct training.

Bricklaying and plastering are two of the most common trades that come up in discussion about the skills shortage the construction industry is suffering from, but the latest State of Trade survey suggests this shortage is more dire than many may have thought - especially when it comes to small businesses.

The survey, set up by the Federation of Master Builders, found that more than a third of construction SMEs are struggling to recruit the required number of bricklayers to keep up with their workload. In additional to this, 27% of firms are also having difficulty finding the plasterers they need.

FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry said: "The results act as a stark warning that the government must not take the recovery in the construction sector for granted. Although this snapshot of small construction firms marks the fifth consecutive quarter of positive results, if we don’t have enough of the right people to complete the work, private and public projects could be stalled across the board."

With the skilled labourers demand rising in tandem with the demand for new building work, stalling projects really is becoming a major concern. The construction industry is relying on new people to earn their qualifications and join the workforce - people like you. Are you tired of your desk-based job, seek out a more physical and hands-on career or simpy want a more practical alternative to going to university? A construction career could be exactly what you're looking and for and after reading this, you know you'll be welcomed with open arms. Combine that with a varied worklife and impressive wage and you've got a pretty fantastic career ahead of you.

The quickest and most effective way to becoming a qualified plasterer or bricklayer is through an intensive training course from Access Training. In matter of weeks we can have you fully trained to a professional standard, complete with official City & Guilds qualifications. You'll be taught in a state-of-the-art centre by experienced tradespeople, who will be sharing their trade experiences as well as delivering the skills you need. And we don't just offer bricklaying and plastering either - we also have plumbing, electric, gas, carpentry, tiling and decorating courses ready and available!

Just give our team a call on 0800 345 7492 a course adviser will be in touch to discuss the options most suitable to you. Starting a brand new career has never been easier!

News via Construction Enquirer

As of the 1st July, the Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) are no longer issuing the Green Construction Site Operative (CSO) card, replacing it with a brand new Green Labourer Card.

The CSCS’ role is to provide a scheme for the construction industry that confirms site workers’ training and qualifications. However many site workers carrying out skilled occupations have been applying for the green CSO card simply as the easiest route to gain access to construction sites. This in turn has made it difficult for contractors to use CSCS cards as a reliable method of checking that site workers have the appropriate skills to work on construction sites safely and effectively.

The new card requires applicants to achieve the Level 1 Health and Safety in a Construction Environment qualification, designed to improve safe working practices on UK construction sites. This isn't just applicable to newcomers to the construction industry either - those who need to renew their card will also require this qualification.

City & Guilds will be supplying this as the 6072 qualification, which we are approved to run here in Cardiff at Access Training. For those closer to the Kent area that need to complete this to start their brand new career, we will soon also be providing the same service at our sister centre the Plumbing Academy. For more information on what this qualification entails and to book your place, get in touch with our course advisers on 0800 345 7492.