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Training to become a plumber

If you want to become a plumber, there are several different pathways that can get you there. Options include:

  • Completing a college course or apprenticeship
  • Training 'on the job' while working as a plumber's mate
  • Learning your new trade at a training centre

The best option for you will depend on your personal circumstances and your career aspirations.

More...

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Training to become a plumber

If you want to become a plumber, there are several different pathways that can get you there. Options include:

  • Completing a college course or apprenticeship
  • Training 'on the job' while working as a plumber's mate
  • Learning your new trade at a training centre

The best option for you will depend on your personal circumstances and your career aspirations.

More...

Student loans denied

In February, the government announced new plans to restrict access to student loans, depending on academic achievement. Driven by ambitions to restrict university numbers, students who do not receive certain GCSE and A Level grades would no longer be entitled to receive crucial loans to help them through university, regardless of their backgrounds. 

In an attempt to “weed out … low-quality courses” at university, and to reduce the rapidly rising number of students who apply for and attend university in recent years, ministers from the Department of Education have announced plans which state that students who do not achieve a minimum of two E grades at A Level, or Grade 4 pass in English and Maths at GCSE, will not be entitled to receive a student loan. 

This decision raises multiple questions on the culture of education and what expectations we have for our students in today’s world. Are university courses supposed to lead towards fulfilling, better-paid jobs? Should students expect long-term, secure employment after completing their degrees? Or have we, as a culture, become so used to the expectation of these promises being delivered by the university route that we have neglected the other – perhaps more suitable – avenues that can lead to stable, long-term, well-paid employment. Such as construction and vocational routes, the likes of which the UK is in desperate need.

Naturally, the government’s decision has come under criticism, not least because this will impact students from more challenging economic backgrounds whose career options will be dramatically limited beyond attending university. Alistair Jarvis CBE, chief executive of Universities UK, makes the point that “Government should expand opportunity, not constrain it”. And we agree. 

But surely these opportunities should be expanded for all career opportunities beyond university, including vocational training courses? Careers in construction and the trades are just as vital for the UK’s social and economic development, and this change in policy is an opportunity to encourage school leavers to consider all their options in accordance with their strengths. 

Regardless of whether you might agree or disagree with the government’s policy, it is unwise to close certain doors without opening others, and this is what their decision could amount to. Without encouraging more school leavers into vocational training, the decision could negatively impact the futures of yet another generation of young professionals. Without diverting well-equipped and enthusiastic students towards vocational training routes, the government will limit opportunities for students across the country – and those from more disadvantaged backgrounds will bear the brunt.

Other avenues out of school therefore must be highlighted, encouraged, and pursued by educational and government policies, so that these plans for change do not leave students in the lurch, without all the options they are entitled to. And if more students were encouraged to pursue careers in construction as a result, this would be welcomed, considering the industry’s severe skills shortage. 

Moreover, it would allow thousands of students to avoid the baggage of decades-worth of debt: a recent study claimed that students starting university in 2023 would have to wait 40 years after graduating before they manage to pay back their debts. With a rise in “poor-quality, low-cost courses” which do not guarantee effective routes into employment, is this really a price tag worth paying when other options can send you straight into work with a fraction of the time and cost? 

And that’s where we come in. Access Training specialises in a range of vocational training courses, and has been supplying the UK with the next generation of tradespeople and skilled workers for well over a decade. 

We do not believe in placing limitations on opportunity, and consider it our duty to ensure that prospective students enter the world of work as qualified, prepared, and ambitious as possible. Just as some potential students might be missing out on places at university, how many excellent prospective construction professionals have chosen university over a secure, well-paying career, to find themselves unemployed and saddled with debt on the other side?

Access Training represents another avenue, beyond university, which can streamline you into a professional career. Give us a call and we’ll take it from there. 

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

Rusthall Football Club, sponsored by Access Training

Access Training is thrilled to announce that we are the new First Team shirt sponsor and principal partner for Rusthall FC’s upcoming campaign.  As well as being placed on the front of the First Team home shirts for the campaign, Access Training will be visible around The Jockey Farm Stadium and will be in attendance at headline fixtures.

Jamie Jefferies, Access Training's C.E.O said: "We are delighted to partner with Rusthall FC for the 2022/2023 season. Our exciting new partnership with this much-loved football club is just one of the ways in which Access hopes to contribute to the local community."

Rusthall FC was formed in 1899 when they registered with the Kent County Football Association and entered the Tunbridge Wells Football League. The club turned semi-professional as they gained promotion to The Southern Counties East Premier Division in 2017. The club played their first-ever game in the FA Cup when they were drawn away to CB Hounslow in the extra-preliminary round of the competition in 2017/18 season. 

The club continues to strive in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division at level 9 in the English Football Pyramid (8 consecutive promotions away from the Premier League) and now has teams at every age group throughout the club at a grassroots level.

Dean Jacquin, Rusthall FC's Chairman said: “Access Training is well-established and is fast-becoming an instantly recognisable brand within the UK. Our partnership with a leading construction based training provider is yet another statement of progress at the club, both on and off the field. We look forward to helping each other secure our respective ambitions.”

For information on upcoming fixtures and Rusthall FC news, head to their website https://www.rusthallfc.com/

Diversity in construction

Traditionally speaking, the construction industry has been and remains a male-dominated space. But after the extraordinary readjustments made by the construction industry throughout the turmoil of the last two years, surely we have proved our ability to adapt to changing circumstances? Now must be the time to increase the industry’s diversity and open itself up to the full pool of talent available to it as we move further towards the challenges of the 21st century.

Between 80-90% of those working in the construction industry identify as men, in an industry which has long attempted to broaden its appeal to people from all walks of life. Only 15% of tradespeople working in the industry in 2022 are women, while a mere 2% of those working onsite are women. 6% of tradespeople are from a Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background, and the same percentage of tradespeople have a disability. 

While it is unclear what the total number of people who identify as LGBTQ+ working in construction is, a study by the Chartered Institute of Building claims that around 60% of those who answered have experienced homophobic or derogatory comments based on their sexuality. In this day and age, this is surely unsatisfactory. 

So what can the construction industry do to change?

The LCL Awards have recently announced the foundation of an initiative which puts this progressive intention on the front page of the construction world, by offering an Inclusivity Charter to which training centres can sign up. This represents a commitment to upholding values of inclusivity, and striving to improve the training conditions for trainees from underrepresented groups. 

LCL Awards have partnered with Hattie Hasan MBE, the celebrated plumber who founded the first all-female plumbing company Stopcocks Women Plumbers, and introduced a Register of Tradeswomen in 2021. She has been campaigning tirelessly for increased representation of women in the industry, and has spoken openly about her experiences of “first-hand sexism and ignorance when it comes to being a ‘female plumber’”. 

Her inspiring workshops cover important topics. Not only does she advocate for inclusivity, tolerance, and equality in the workplace – these are the bottom line – but Hasan educates all workers on the possibility for inevitable unconscious biases which can surface in a male-dominated environment. 

She illustrates the circumstances in which voices from underrepresented groups can go unheard, and offers advice for training centres on dealing with conflict, or on how to construct flexible courses which suit the needs of all, and how these courses should be delivered and represented. 

Importantly, she suggests ways that training centres can “demonstrate their inclusive values through their websites and other marketing materials”, and actively promote the values they claim to hold.

This might involve offering flexible online courses for trainees competing with a busy working or parenting schedule to complete at evenings or weekends, or on a part-time basis. The design of courses and the institutions must commit to having awareness of the needs of all underrepresented groups, and to advertise this to potential students. 

This is a valuable example of training centres not only creating welcoming conditions for tradespeople from underrepresented groups, but actively promoting these conditions and changing people’s perceptions of the industry. 

Because where better place to tackle this issue than in the training centres responsible for procuring the next generation of tradespeople? The values, practices, and principles of equality must be fully ingrained in the centres which harbour each new wave of skilled construction workers passing through our doors. This means that our training centres must promote a welcoming, safe, thriving environment for people from all backgrounds, all walks of life, and all creeds. Hasan adds:

 

“Training is the first step in most people’s careers, so getting this bit right in terms of ensuring people feel they can move into a sector that might not be considered “the norm” is crucial. [...] An inclusive environment increases diversity in training centres, LCL Awards centres can attract more learners from more different backgrounds, and help to dispel myths that trainees may have too”.

 

But this is, of course, the bottom line of any workplace in Britain today. It goes without saying that tolerance of all people is a fundamental expectation of how our society should function. We need to go beyond this: to actively encourage and attract people who might never consider themselves suitable or welcome in a traditionally male-dominated industry. We cannot passively wait for under-represented groups to come to us -– we need to seek them out and promote the new face of a diverse, equal and inclusive construction industry. 

It is important to emphasise that this concerted effort to change the face of construction is not a case of box-ticking, or diversity for diversity’s sake. As Mark Krull, director of LCL Awards states, “we’re not paying lip-service here”. It is essential that those serving our communities as tradespeople represent those communities; for the construction industry to thrive and adapt, it must open itself up to attract talent from thus far underrepresented pools. 

And of course, improving equality and diversity in the construction industry will ultimately prove of great benefit to the industry itself; its productivity, its innovation, its efficiency. A diverse supply chain will also mean better support networks for small businesses, greater community involvement, improved on-site working relationships, and will generate a culture of understanding and celebration of people’s cultural differences. 

Access Training is fully committed to applying these standards of equality, diversity and inclusivity to all of our training centres, ensuring that no individual is discriminated against based on gender, gender identity, age, race, religion, or any of the nine protected characteristics listed under the UK Equalities Act 2010. 

Nor will we stop at the standards at which we’ve reached, but will continue to listen and promote the needs of those underrepresented voices who want to become qualified tradespeople. 

It is our duty to those people, and to the wider construction industry itself, that these people feel welcome and able to hone their craft in absolute safety. If you consider yourself among an underrepresented group, we assure you – you are welcome at Access Training. 

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

Office construction

Have we anticipated the death of the office too soon? 

As far as workspaces go, we might tend to think of construction sites and offices as chalk and cheese. But their future effects on modern ways of working are perhaps more important to each other than we might think. A productive construction industry has boosted office building projects for 2022 – and in the process, may have secured the long-term function of offices in modern working culture.

Despite a dip in the number of office-builds over the last three years – the number of new office builds in the 6 months to March is a third lower than the previous winter – the summer ahead is looking to give the construction industry a huge boost, with predictions for office builds climbing. 250,000 square metres of planned office buildings are in the demolition phase, and scheduled to start by September of this year. And this is good news for the construction industry. 

One of the overriding narratives which surfaced during the Covid-19 pandemic was that the office would become a thing of the past. That remote working would become the dominant culture of employment, and that office spaces would become an outdated, impractical, unnecessary distraction. Little did we know that the respective futures of both the office and the construction industry would become integral to one another.

Not only does the office remain an integral part of modern working culture, but a significant amount of employers, employees, and investors consider improvements to offices to be responsible for making recruitment and working life easier and more appealing. A study by ISG showed that seven in ten businesses “experienced an increase in productivity following workplace investment”, suggesting that predictions of the office’s demise have been “misplaced”.

This isn’t to say that the function of the office won’t change – it will, and it has. But as our relationship with the office has changed from being a permanent fixture of work throughout the week, to becoming a more flexible, part-time space for more effective work, our perception of what makes offices useful has also changed. According to a survey of over 1,300 employers, employees and investors, recruitment has actually improved as investment in offices has grown. The survey said that over half of those employees who answered “did not want to work remotely on a permanent basis”. Perhaps, then, rather than killing the office, the pandemic has in fact ensured its future survival. 

Investing in offices will bring great rewards for the construction industry, and so this rediscovered appreciation for the place of the office in our working culture is a big thumbs up for productivity levels in the coming year. The pandemic, despite all its challenges and setbacks, might have given the construction industry this added boost in demand and projects in this unexpected expansion of office space. 

This development follows an unprecedented rise in council house building, mostly in the London area. The highest volume of new council homes in 40 years is currently underway, with 5,000 new homes built between April 2021-22, according to the Greater London Authority. 

Does this not look like an industry which is thriving, back on its feet, and ready to go after the setback of the last two years? It might offer a symbol of inspiration to those of you who are similarly trying to get back on your feet and feel fulfilled in your work. If you’re even considering the possibility of retraining in construction, and escaping your current mode of employment, then now is the time to take advantage of an increasing high demand for construction workers – not only in the capital, but spread equally across the country. 

No matter where you are based, we have training centres which can serve your needs, get you trained and qualified, and out working on site before you know it. Offices might be on the rise again, but that doesn’t mean you want to be stuck in one yourself. 


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

In September, the number of job vacancies for skilled tradespeople was above 40,000 for the first time since records began. Construction firms are now experiencing a large absence of available qualified tradespeople to fill positions. Battling material shortages and delays, as well as a dwindling workforce, firms are putting out the call for more skilled workers to carry out the rising demand for construction work. But despite rising salaries, higher rates, and plenty of work opportunities, it’s still a difficult feat to meet their needs. In the first week of November, 221,000 adverts were posted across all sectors, taking the number of advertised roles up to a record high of 2.68 million, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, which tracks the number of job vacancy adverts.

 

With vacancies already at a notable high, Ian Anfield, the managing director of payroll firm Hudson Contract, suggests that the numbers are going to continue to rise. Although the end of lockdown support schemes helped get a number of people back into work, ‘there is still stiff competition for skilled labour and plenty of work for those who want it’,

 

If the strain on the trade workforce has shown any positives, it has highlighted the opportunities available to people looking to join the sector. The industry needs more workers, and, once qualified, the job possibilities are there waiting for you. To get involved, get working, and get earning, call Access Training today.

The price cap around energy is increasing by 54% in April this year. As such, many consumers are concerned that their energy bills are about to increase significantly – it’s believed that that bills will soar to more than £2000 a year for the average consumer. Research has shown that nearly nine in ten (89%) people think it is important that the government acts to combat the rise in energy bills, with 91% feeling that the government should be introducing new support schemes for consumers if the price cap increases again in October. Our professionals have some top tips to save on electricity consumption, and battle the rise in living costs. 

 

  1. Smart Meters: installing smart meters in your home can be a great way of monitoring your spending each month. It is estimated that homes with smart meters could save up to 49% on their annual energy bills.
  2. Energy Efficient Appliances: When purchasing new appliances, it’s always worth checking the energy efficiency rating. The ratings span from A down to G, and labels will even tell you the energy consumption of the appliance to allow accurate comparisons. Transitioning from a 100 Watt bulb to a 10 Watt not only helps the environment, but can have a massive impact on your electricity consumption when implemented throughout a home.
  3. Turn Your Appliances Off: The desire to have tech at our fingertips has meant that it has become common to leave appliances on standby. However, every appliance left on standby continues to use energy when not in use, the average UK home wastes £55 a year on appliances left on standby. Smart plugs can be a great way to cut energy costs for appliances typically left on standby and can save you £86 per year. 
  4. Turning unused lights off: walking out of a room and leaving the light on is a classic way we all waste energy. Passive Infrared sensors do the work for you, turning lights on and off based on motion detected within a space. These can save up to 50% on a home’s lighting energy costs. 
  5. Renewable Energy: In the long term, there are of course more drastic solutions to the price increases. Renewable energy, although daunting to some, can be worth the while when you factor in the overall savings and impact on the environment. The recent announcement of cutting the 5% VAT from April for homeowners with solar panels, heat pumps and insulation installed means that the next 5 years are the optimal time to invest in the switch to renewable energy within the home.

 

 

Although we can’t avoid the rise in energy costs, hope is not lost. There are options out there for the average homeowner to maintain a manageable monthly spend and, incidentally, make positive contributions to the battle against climate change.

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee is an initiative by the Government to fund qualifications in sectors such as engineering, construction and social care to any adult who has not already achieved a qualification at Level 3. There have been consistent warnings about the government’s approach to the Lifetime Skills Guarantee from politicians across the political divide while the bill was passing through the House of Commons.

 

The current offering falls short in three major areas, accessibility, affordability, and sustainability. The Government needs to provide clearer criteria and a broader selection of qualifications for people looking to begin a career in the industry. By voting against amendments to strengthen the Bill, it is clear that encouraging the trade sector is not currently a priority. We need more support for potential students to find out exactly what qualifications they need and how to use them to build a career. Although the lifetime skills initiative provides funding for level 3 qualifications, students still need options for funding their level 1 and 2. Initiatives such as Access' Earn While You Learn, coupled with the prolonged career support offering, provide students with realistic means to create a sustainable career in the industry.

 

During the lockdowns in 2020-2021, the Government's priorities became clearer than ever as they selected the sectors worthy of the term "essential workers". Despite trade acting as a lynchpin to keep the UK economy running throughout this time, tradespeople were given no recognition of their utility. The fallout from this is still being felt across the sector. There is no need to predict the consequences of a lack of action as these consequences are already a reality. A dwindling workforce in trade impacts the infrastructure, facilities, and utilities available to everyone - including the Government itself - for new projects. This, in turn, impacts company productivity and creates a drop in service which would hit the already fragile economic environment. Despite having vowed to help the country "Build Back Better", the Government seems to have forgotten that you can't build anything without a well grounded workforce of tradespeople.

Access Training open day visit from Dyno Plumbing

 

On 8th April, we hosted our Access Training Open Day showcasing our Edenbridge centre with affiliates offering recruitment opportunities and demonstrating new tools. Current students were invited to come along and meet with businesses such as Dyno Plumbing to interview for industry roles and to discuss self employment opportunities with our associates Rezigo and Sort It. Our Earn While You Learn initiative, in partnership with our companies such as CitySite, provides potential students with the ability to get into employment before gaining their qualifications. 

 

Many visitors took advantage of CitySite’s attendance, combining talks on our Earn While You Learn initiative with walkaround tours from our Course Advisors to ensure that they chose the best suited training and employment programme. Products were displayed from providers such as Anton by Crowcon, ViperGas, Condensate Pro, CK Tools, Nerrad, and Uponor. These providers, spanning across all trades, highlighted the importance of starting your career with the right kit, as well as providing explanations on what you need to be successful in the industry.

 

Our next Open Day on the 6th May is a great opportunity for aspiring Gas Engineers and Electricians to visit the centre and speak to industry professionals about potential career paths. Get in touch today to find out more

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