When British Gas, Scottish Power and other leading energy providers in the UK announced huge new increases to their gas and electricity prices in the last week, it was another piece of bad news for a huge amount of cash-strapped Brits who are struggling with their bills. 

However, the price hikes may be good news for electricians, or those planning on enrolling on an electricians course. But why? 

People turn to an energy alternative 

The recent British Gas rises – occurring not long after the company announced a profit of £345m in the first half of 2012 – are sure to prove key in persuading a large number of people to invest in producing solar power at home. Over the past five years, it can’t have escaped your notice that growing numbers of people across Britain are placing distinctive blue solar panels on the roof of their home; choosing to generate electricity through solar power. 

It is estimated that by installing solar panels, homeowners can save hundreds of pounds every year on their energy bills – while some homes with enough panels can become entirely energy-efficient, and free from the price rises of energy giants.  

And although Government feed-in tariffs (FiTs), which pay homeowners a small fee for every kWh they produce, have been reduced in the last 12 months, homes can still be paid hundreds of pounds a year just for creating renewable solar energy. 

Great news for electricians

Of course the huge surge in popularity of solar power has lead to many jobs being created across the country for fitters, salesmen and electricians, whose in-depth knowledge and experience is vital in assembling a kit that both collects and stores valuable solar energy for people’s homes. 

It’s very true that electricians provide an ‘essential’ service to homes and businesses, and as such are less susceptible to poor economic conditions than most professions, but the continued popularity of solar panels will only mean good news for both electricians and those who are looking for a dependable, interesting new career. 

Are you interested in making the most of the solar boom? For further information on training an electricians course, contact us at Access today – where we’ve a wide range of courses to suit your specific needs. Call us today on 0800 345 7492

As is the want of Murphy’s Law, DIY and plumbing disasters always seem to happen at the worst possible times. Whether late in the evening, in the early hours of the morning or during a bank holiday, a plumbing problem will always manifest itself with particularly poor timing.  And at specialist times like this, when immediate action is frequently necessary, many professional plumbers, who have trained on a plumbing course, will charge extortionate rates. 

Sometimes however, the problem is a simple one that you can fix yourself without involving an expensive third party. Here are some particularly straightforward plumbing problem and their simple solutions:

Unclogging a drain

When you’ve just eaten Christmas dinner or a special birthday dinner and then you find the sink to be critically blocked, the thought of doing the dishes in the bathtub fills you with dread. Usually caused by lots of bits of food or grease, a drain can be unblocked using a humble plunger or by using an instrument to poke the blockage through. 

Noisy pipes

There are some homes where particularly noisy plumbing resembles a small modernist concerto. If your pipes are banging or squeaking then it probably means they have come loose from the straps or cushions that affix them to the wall, so simply place a new piece of material around the pipes. 

Hammering pipes

When pipes start to hammer, however, there’s a different solution. Hammering pipes means that the air chambers in the pipes are empty – this can be fixed by turning the water off at the mains, then opening all the faucets to drain the entire system. Afterwards, turn off the faucets and let the water back on. The chambers should refill with air and the hammering will stop.   

Running toilet

This is one of the most common problems that people will call a plumber out for, but it can be very simply solved, usually by replacing a faulty flapper or ball assembly. However, in some cases, you may need to clean mineral deposits from the tank itself with an effective combination of vinegar, baking soda and boiling water. 

If you find that you have a natural passion for plumbing and would like to train professionally, or are simply interested in learning the ropes, Access have a wide variety of plumbing courses available. Learn more by calling 0800 3457492 today. 

Historically, property has yielded better returns than any other investment vehicle; an added benefit is that a piece of land never goes to zero value like equities and the likes.  Then, there is the regular income in the form of rent and the perks of living in a well made home to consider. However, are these benefits enough to justify the cost of enrolling in a property development course?

When should you consider property developer training?

If you have discretionary income or enough savings to invest in property, it would be best to jump into the sector well prepared. After all, a shoddily constructed house in a remote area will not fetch you the expected returns. This is where all the homework you put into buying a piece of land will come in handy.

Because property purchases involve a significant amount of money, it would certainly be prudent to consider taking a property development course before you embark on this rewarding pursuit on a business or professional level.

What can you expect from property developer training programmes?

Although a property development course offered by a reputable establishment will set you back by at least a few thousand pounds, the knowledge and experience that it provides will be invaluable when you wade out into the world of property dealings.

These training programs are designed to offer in depth information on every aspect of property development from choosing the right location to construction minutiae like interiors, tiling, plumbing, electrical systems, structural concepts and more. All in all, by the time you complete the training programme, you will be well versed with every facet of property development  

Choosing the best property development course for you

You will need to start looking for programs with a clear idea of how you intend to use this education. For instance, you can find both commercial as well residential property developer courses in the market. 

Also consider the precise area of property development that interests you; for instance, apart from the 360 degree courses that cover all aspects of property development, you can also find specific training programs that only deal with property law, or architecture and designing  or even with market analysis and more.

Once you know your requirements, look for information on establishments that offer property development courses. The internet is by far the most exhaustive source of data on colleges and other learning centres that offer vocational education.

In London alone, there are almost 40 colleges that offer training on property development; apart from this, you can also find numerous private establishments that offer formal courses on the subject.

Finally, always choose a program that will earn you a formal certification, preferably one that is accredited under the NCFE 2 Q license.

Did you know that this week is national back week? From today until the 12th of October, National Back Week aims to highlight how important it is for trade professionals, electricians and plumbers to really look after their back and ensure they’re fighting fit and ready to give their all to their job.

Back pain is the second most common cause of long-term illness in the UK and without a healthy back it’s very hard to do anything – and even more so if you’re constantly on the move and performing highly practical tasks for your job. Whether you’re lifting, driving, stretching, climbing or painting, without a healthy back it is much harder to do your job properly.

That’s why National Back Week was launched by BackCare, the charity for healthier backs, to raise awareness of keeping your back in tip-top shape. But what steps can trades people take to ensure a healthy back?

Keep moving

Like all muscles, the tendons and sinews that make up your back get stronger the more often they’re used. So, a great way of keeping back pain at bay is by staying active. Luckily, as a tradesperson, you’re likely to be frequently on your feet, bending, lifting and using your back muscles, so they are likely to be pretty strong. If you have injured your back, remember that strengthening those muscles is the key to regaining your health, so try low-impact exercise like swimming.

Sit well

Although you’re likely to be frequently off your feet, many back problems arise as a result of poor posture while seated. So when you’re doing paperwork or relaxing at home, ensure that your back is straight and well-supported. Plus, be sure to frequently adjust your sitting position, as sticking to the same posture for a long period of time could lead to a repetitive strain injury.

Lift safely

Many back injuries occur as a result of lifting something that’s too heavy for you to cope, and it’s important to remember that no bravado and man-points can mask the agony of a bad back. So, when you’re next confronted by a package that’s too heavy to lift, ask a friend to help you with it, or transport it in pieces. By recognising your limits, your back will stay safe.

Here at Access, we provide a wide variety of plumbing, decorating and electrician courses that can suit your specific background, age and career needs. To learn more about our fun, flexible courses, explore the rest of the site or speak to one of our team on 0800 3457492. 

We’ve all heard those scary stories about ’cowboy’ builders, plumbers and contractors who’ve overcharged homeowners and then left a property in disarray after a seemingly simple job. And although they’re very rare, it’s still important to ensure that your plumbing job is performed by a trustworthy professional who has trained on a plumbing course and who will give you a reliable service at a fair price.

So how can we tell the cowboys from the good guys?

Research reliable plumbers

Be sure to ask a variety of people who they use for plumbing services in the local area. By contacting someone who’s trusted by friends and family (preferably that you also know), you’re much more likely to avoid disreputable plumbers. Also, be sure to request references from prospective plumbers; if they don’t possess a portfolio of satisfied customers, then it may be worth looking elsewhere.

Get a written quote

It may sound simple, but a good, trusted, trained plumber will have no problem providing a written quote for the work he’s about to undertake. If your selected plumber scribbles a quote on a note or will only offer a verbal agreement, it’s not worth the hassle.

Insist on a trained individual

Plumbers of any repute will have a recognised plumbing qualification that shows they have the core competencies to get your job done quickly and effectively, so you should insist on your plumber having one.

Ask for insurance policies

A trusted plumber will have an insurance policy that will protect both you and them in the event of anything going wrong, so don’t start working with someone who doesn’t have one.

Tell others

And don’t forget, you have the capability to stop cowboy plumbers yourself by letting other people know of better tradesmen elsewhere. If your plumber is friendly, flexible and competent, then be sure to tell your friends, who will be far more likely to use them rather than an untrustworthy scammer.

Do you think you have the skills to become a plumber? Hone them with plumbing courses at Access. There are a range of different plumbing courses available – to learn more call 0800 345 7492.

Thousands of people across the UK and Europe have enrolled on electrician courses over the last few years. And they have doubtless done so thinking of the fulfilling, interesting and varied workflow; the opportunity to meet a wide variety of customers and of course the great wages that can be earned by working as an electrician.

However, when these two Norwegian workers found themselves stranded on a power line, 85 metres (280 feet) in the air above a fjord for an entire day, they couldn’t have foreseen such a hazardous situation.

The pair were working on a power line high above a fjord in Nordfjord, western Norway, when a technical failure saw their basket stuck in extreme weather conditions. They were forced to sit in the basket for several hours, awaiting rescue, but when a helicopter arrived it couldn’t get close enough to them as a result of the driving wind and rain – and was only able to lower them down food, drink, phones and clothing to get them through the night.

After a long night stranded against the elements, in the morning they were supplied with abseiling equipment and – with a little help on the phone from trained alpine experts – began the 280 feet descent into a boat waiting below.

Jan Gunnar Hole, who led the company’s successful retrieval of the men, said that teaching them to rappel down to a boat was the “simplest solution”. He said: “The men were cold, of course, but when you’re climbing down from 85 metres there is a lot of adrenaline.”

The two men underwent health checks at a local hospital and were found to have no problems.

Are you looking to become an electrician? It’s an interesting, challenging job – though adventures such as these are far from commonplace.  Here at Access, we provide a wide range of electrician courses, regardless of your background, age, experience or career goals. To learn more about our fun, flexible courses, explore the rest of the site or speak to one of our team on 0800 3457492. 

Good news for builders, electricians and those who have studied on carpentry courses: the Government have announced a conservatory building initiative that could provide a huge boost to skilled, trained workers. 

The plans, which are hoped to kick-start the stalling British economy, will see homeowners given new opportunities to build large conservatories, extensions and other household constructions without worrying about expensive, problematic planning permission. People will be permitted to extend their homes by up to eight metres with no opposition thanks to the new relaxed regulations, while demand for quality builders, plumbers and carpenters is also expected to grow as more people choose to extend their properties. 

The rules are a temporary solution and will be applicable in the UK until 2015, and do not apply to loft extensions or multi-storey builds. Currently, domestic planning application fees are around £150, and paying professional advisors can cost thousands more. Planning permission is a barrier to many homeowners building extensions. And although around 90% of applications are eventually approved, they can drag on for months.

Skilled workers are also sure to benefit from other commercial aspects of the initiative, in which businesses will be able to expand shops by 100 square metres and industrial units by 200 sq. m without worrying about planning permission, so long as they own the premises. 

Alongside the removal of planning laws, the Government have also tried to give a shot in the arm to the housing industry, by underwriting £10 billion of borrowing for property developers and housing associations to build on sites, and launching an extension of the FirstBuy scheme, which will help first-time buyers without a deposit get an equity loan to get a mortgage. The Prime Minister David Cameron estimated that the plans would see an extra 70,000 houses being built in the UK and 140,000 jobs being created.

Are you looking to learn a trade to make the most of the renewed interest in house extensions and conservatory building in the UK? From carpentry courses to plumbing courses, electrical courses and much more, at Access Training we have a variety of flexible courses for all abilities.

If your home is looking a bit unloved, then a little TLC will go a long way. With so many people hit hard by the economic downturn, many homeowners are plumping for DIY renovations to their homes rather than buying new. Here is our guide to some of the most cost effective methods of sprucing up your home without breaking the bank.

A fresh lick of paint

It’s incredible how a simple task can make such a difference to the look and feel of your home. If your walls and doors are looking grimy, dowdy and dated, then give them a fresh lick of paint. It’s a simple job and even the most hapless DIY novice can’t go wrong, so there’s no need for professional assistance, which helps to keep the costs down. If you’re thinking of selling your house in the near future then neutral colours are the best way to go. If you’re staying put for the foreseeable future then go wild; what about a splash of colour or even some stencilling?

Declutter your clutter

If your preferred style is minimalist and airy then keep it that way. I know that two foot long china dog would look lovely in your front room, but be strong and walk away. If it’s already too late and your home is so chock-a-bloc with knick-knacks that you can hardly move, then take a big breath and get to work. And remember, one man’s tat is another man’s treasure, so put some of your better pieces on eBay and see how they go, after all, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Have a look at some decorating courses

There are some great decorating courses in the UK for people of all ages and abilities – we should know, ours is one of the best! We will teach you the latest trends and techniques, giving you the skill you need to completely transform your home. And if you want to take it one step further and enrol on a decorating course as the first step in your new career, we can help you do that too.

For more information about decorating courses which will teach you everything you need to know, whatever level you wish to reach, give us a call here at Access Training on 0800 345 7492.

Did you know that most plumbing jobs can solved with relative ease at home without having to use a professional plumber? And while larger work should still be carried out by professionals who have been trained on a top plumbing course, being aware of how to mend more menial matters will certainly save you money in the long run.

Here’s a list of the five most common plumbing problems – and how you can fix them:

1.    Dripping taps

Perhaps the issue of the dripping tap is the most common problem in plumbing. And while it’s seen as a relatively minor problem that can easily be ignored, if left too long it can result in high water bills. The most common solution to a faulty faucet is to replace the worn or broken washer inside, but sometimes you may need new taps. Worry not, even these can be simply installed without having to consult someone who’s been on a plumbing course – just remember to switch the water off first!

2.    Bunged-up drains

Drains are designed to allow water to flow through, but occasionally larger items can find their way down and block the passage, especially in kitchen sinks where leftover food can become a problem.

The powerful suction provided by a humble plunger can often break a block’s resistance, or if that doesn’t work, try unscrewing the fixture under your sink and cleaning it out. But hold your breath – it may smell…

3.    Blocked bogs

One of the most dreaded of plumbing’s complications, and similar to a clogged drain, where waste (all together now: eeeeuuuwww) builds up and causes a blocked toilet. Again, a plunger is your friend, and if that doesn’t work use a sewer snake (not a real one), which is a device that can wind through a toilet’s U-bend and push the problem far, far away.

4.    Broken water boiler

We all need hot water, and it can be awful when a boiler breaks. But before contacting a professional who’s trained on a plumbing course, test your boiler’s pipes and connections to the rest of the house. You may find the problem can be solved simply and without great expense by replacing a broken part.

5.    Leaky pipes

Often, when your pipes spring a leak it’s because one has been knocked out of place. By tightening the affected joint, you may be able to solve the problem. Or, if that doesn’t work and there’s an actual hole in your pipe causing leakage, you may need to replace the pipe.

Are you interested in becoming a plumber? Here at Access Training we offer plumbing courses that cater for all levels of ability, whatever your background and whatever your goals. To learn more about our flexible plumbing course please speak to one of our friendly advisors today on 0800 345 7492.

 

The four month ‘tax amnesty’ that was set up by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), where Electricians in the UK owed tax at a greatly reduced rate closed on August 14th.

Under the Electricians Tax Safe Plan which was launched on February 14th, HMRC permitted a reduced penalty charge of just 10% to electricians who had failed to pay the current levels of tax. The amnesty was for electricians who have been trained on an electrician course while other tradesmen in the UK such as plumbers and decorators still had to face penalties of up to 100%, with criminal investigation possible in the most extreme cases.

The HMRC campaign was for anyone who installs, maintains and tests electrical equipment, systems and appliances and covers all tax owed.

Marian Wilson, head of HMRC Campaigns, said: "Electricians who think they owe tax should get in touch today and get their tax affairs in order, easily and on the best terms.

"If you cannot afford to pay what you owe all at once, don't worry. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to spread the payments. Once the disclosure closes on 14th August, electricians who have not come forward but are found to have unpaid tax liabilities will face higher penalties, rising to 100% of the tax evaded, or possibly even criminal prosecution.”

The Electricians Tax Safe Plan is the second campaign aimed at tradespeople; the first targeted plumbers and heating engineers and raised an estimated £510m for HMRC.

Considering a change of career? Access will help train you in a variety of trades, with an electrician course that can give you an interesting, competitive job. For a range of flexible thorough trade training courses across the UK contact Access today on 0800 345 7492.

Thanks to the global recession and rising mortgage prices, the British housing market has well and truly undergone a bit of a slump in the past few years. However, because of these limp house prices, homeowners are choosing instead to register on a decorating course, pick up the paintbrush and improve on what they’ve got at home.

Instead of ploughing thousands of pounds into a new mortgage, investors are finding that it’s actually wiser to invest in their own skills by enrolling on a decorating course, and making the most of the home that they’re currently in.

Whether homeowners already are a dab hand with paint rollers and wallpaper paste, or have always shied away from DIY decorating, a new wave of proprietors are discovering that re-invigorating a home with desirable décor can give a living space a real fresh perspective – and what’s more, they’re enjoying it!

By learning about the latest decorating tips, trends, fads and fashions on decorating courses, homeowners and hobbyists alike are finding how to improve on what you’ve got is a prudent and effective practice.

For many, enrolling on a decorating course near them can also be the difference between doing it yourself for pennies and employing a decorating or home improvement contractor for a greatly inflated fee. Those without the confidence and the wherewithal to undertake even the simplest household improvement tasks will either live in a tawdry, downbeat home or face paying decorators a hefty fee. With a decorating course, you could save thousands by Doing It Yourself.

Re-invigorate your home today and learn various fashionable decorating techniques with a decorating course at Access. From informative home improvement, wallpapering and decorating courses to more professional qualifications and NVQs in painting and decorating, Access have a range of decorating courses to suit you.

Whether you’re looking to improve your home’s décor or start up a professional decorating service, talk to Access about enrolling on a decorating course today on 0800 345 7492.

Electrician courses and a toolbag are not all it takes to be an electrician. You need to have the drive and the determination to succeed in the industry, alongside a passion for learning and understanding. If you’re considering becoming an electrician, but you’re not sure whether the career is for you, check out our quick guide to the skills and traits which stand prospective electrical students in good stead.

Genuine interest
This is the only characteristic which really matters – the rest are just bonuses. You can overcome any problem or weak spot if you genuinely care about the area and truly want to learn and improve. The very best electricians are those who love what they do and haven’t simply ‘hopped on the bandwagon’ as the profession is stable and lucrative. Taking joy in technology, problem solving and working with electrics will ensure you pass electrician courses with flying colours and go on to have a promising career as a spark.

Eye for detail
An eye for detail is a real asset when undertaking electrical work. Being able to spot small issues within a big picture can be a big advantage.

In terms of actual eyesight, the work can be very precise and delicate which means that good vision is very useful indeed. If you haven’t had your eyes tested for a while, ensuring you have the correct prescription is a good idea.

Colour blindness is one area which many prospective sparks worry about. The Equality Act (2010-11) means that you cannot be discriminated against for a disability so there is no cause for concern. Very few varieties of colour blindness cause problems for sparks. Monochrome or red-green colour blindness can be problematic but they can be worked around if you have the patience, dedication and drive.

Hand-eye coordination
Electrical work will find you up ladders, in tiny corners, scrambling in attics –being relatively agile will help with the demands of the job. Equally, close electrical work with small implements can be very fiddly and painstaking, making good hand-eye coordination a good asset to have.

Problem solving abilities

Electrical work can sometimes be a bit like a great big sodoku. If you relish getting to grips with a problem and using logic and practical know-how to solve it, you should start hunting for electrician courses today!

Here at Access Training we offer electrician courses for all levels of ability, whatever your background and whatever your goals. To learn more about our flexible electrician courses, please explore the rest of the Access site or speak to one of our friendly advisors today on 0800 345 7492.