If you are looking to leave the army and start a new career, you’ll need a whole new skill set. You’ll probably have heard about ELCs (Enhanced Learning Credits), IRTC grants (Individual Resettlement Training Cost), GRT (Graduated Resettlement Time) and a whole host of other three letter acronyms. But what does it all mean and how can you use all of these resources to start a new career and a new life after leaving the armed services?

Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at retraining in trades for ex-services personnel, so keep your eyes peeled for our blogs and articles aimed at getting you the best training and making the most of the excellent retraining resources the army supplies. In this article we’ll be looking at exactly what ELCs, IRTC grants and GRT are and how you can use them to learn a trade in preparation for your civilian life.

What are Enhanced Learning Credits (ELCs)?

ELCs or Enhanced Learning Credits are a form of financial support for servicemen and women who want to take up further education or retrain in a new profession when they leave the army. Here are the key things you need to know about ELCs:

1.    ELCs are available for three separate years; these years do not have to be consecutive and can be used at any point in the decade after you have left the army.

2.    There are two levels of ELCs. The lower level entitles you to £1,000 per year, which can be claimed after four years of service. The higher level entitles you to £2,000 per year and is available after eight years of service.

3.    All courses your ELCs are spent on must be delivered by an authorised provider and must be a nationally recognised level 3 qualification or above. This may include but is not limited to:

•    Overseas qualifications
•    Postgraduate qualifications
•    Foundation degrees
•    Vocational training
•    Other academic qualifications

4.
    ELCs cannot be used to pay for books and materials, travel, accommodation and food required during the training. However, IRTC grants can be used for these purposes and can be used at the same time as your ELCs. Read more about this below.

What are Individual Resettlement Training Cost (IRTC) Grants?

IRTCs or Individual Resettlement Training Costs are another form of financial support for ex-army personnel who want to retrain or get back into education after six years of service. Many people do not realise that IRTCs can be used at the same time as ELCs, but in fact this is a very good way of making the most of your allowances and resources.

IRTC grants are tax-free and entitle you to £534 to be spent on an approved course. A further benefit of £80 a day can be provided to be spent on accommodation and an added £25 can be given to spend on daily food requirements.

Because the yearly £1,000-£2,000 ELCs (Enhanced Learning Credits) are not always enough to cover the cost of a quality, nationally approved training course, many training providers will provide both food and accommodation along with the one-off £534, and use the surplus accommodation and food allowances to cover the rest of the courses cost. This makes great training courses affordable for ex-servicemen and women and keeps them fed and housed for the duration too.

This combination of ELCs and IRTCs is not handled by all training providers but there are a number of excellent vocational training providers, Access included, who are highly-rated by the army because they do a brilliant job of retraining ex-army personnel in this way.

What is Graduated Resettlement Time (GRT)?
Graduated Resettlement Time (GRT) is leave allowance given to army personnel which they can use to prepare for life outside the army. Depending on your years of service, you will be entitled to a different number of GRT days.

No GRT is allotted to military personnel who have been serving for less than six years. After six years the time allotted is as follows:

Years of Service1 GRT Days Allotted
6+ Years 20 Days
8+ Years 25 Days
12+ Years 30 Days
16+ Years 35 Days

If you have to leave the army on medical discharge your GRT days are more generous and start from your very first year of service.

So What’s Next?

Now you know the basics about how the key army resources for retraining can fit together, you now need to decide what you want to do and put all this information into practice. Many ex-servicemen and women take up a trade after leaving the army; to do this you will need to train in your chosen field. Access is a vocational training provider with close links to the services. We allow you to use your ELCs and IRTCs to their full advantage whilst the flexibility of our courses allows you to use your GRT to learn in tandem with your current career.

To learn more about the huge range of vocational courses that Access provide for servicemen and women, visit the rest of our website or call one of our experienced and knowledgeable team on 0800 345 7492 today, and take the first step on your brand new career ladder!

This week the news that 1 in 10 students are reconsidering going into higher education thanks to uncapped and unaffordable tuition fees has thrown light on vocational choices like plumbing courses. A stunning two thirds of students who are considering going to university would now also consider doing vocational courses, such as plumbing courses, instead!

This shouldn’t really be news, yet people still seem to be shocked by it. Plumbing courses are looking like an increasingly smart option to youngsters thanks to a combination of excellent prospects, unaffordable student loans, high graduate unemployment and a general sense of dissatisfaction with the state of academia in the UK.

Plumbing courses give young people real prospects and the ability to start earning a very good wage, in a very good job, very quickly. The alternative is three years of (sometimes sub-par) teaching, a piece of paper, a lot of debt and no promise of prospects.

It used to be thought that anyone who wanted to get into a good, satisfying and well-paid profession would need a university degree. But, as graduate unemployment starts to look like a real problem, the smart money is now in plumbing courses. The UK has a huge number of highly academically educated youngsters but alarmingly few young people educated in skilled labour. Plumbing courses are now seeking to readdress this balance.

If you are interested in the money and job satisfaction that plumbing courses could set you up for, get in touch with us here at access. Every day new students, young and old, experienced and completely new, sign up for our plumbing courses to start their journey to a brighter future in plumbing! Call our friendly team on 0800 345 7492 now for more information and advice about how to get where you want to go with plumbing courses!

If you are thinking about jacking in your plumbing training it could be the worst thing you do for your career.  The net is closing in on unscrupulous and untrained trades people including plumbers, electricians, general builders and carpenters.  The CITB and the Government are joining forces to push for a greater level of scrutiny when it comes to the levels of workmanship carried out by these and other trades.  Starting with training and qualifications, they are insisting that trades people obtain key qualifications that are recognised in their industry.  Plumbing training has particularly come under fire with rogue traders being punished in the severest way possible. 

In a copy of the Construction Engineer dated 24th June 2011, it was reported how Darryl Sylvester Glyn, 46, was ordered to pay back over 100K to his customers or he would face an additional two years in jail.  He is already spending four years in jail having been prosecuted by Yorkshire County Council Trading Standards. 

Whilst there are many honest and reliable trades people operating in the UK, there are many rogue traders who think nothing of demanding large amounts of money from their customers and doing very little in return.  Jobs are left unfinished, money runs out, more money is demanded, and the cycle continues all at the detriment of the customer.  This has got to stop and training seems to be the key lacking factor when it comes to these dodgy dealings.  If these trades people had to demonstrate their qualifications whether in plumbing training or another trade, they would fall short of the mark and the customer would not choose them for the job in hand.

Established courses in plumbing training, carpentry training and other trades ensure these trades people have the skills and knowledge they need to do a good job and to follow best practices.  The good news is that more and more trades people are stepping up to the mark and ensuring that their training is up to date and that they can prove they are able to carry out high quality work.

Plumbing training is just one direction you can take if you are interested in learning a trade.  You can learn so much through an accredited course and diversify into specialist areas that will make you stand out from the crowd. 

There are many training companies offering outstanding plumbing training these days.  You can take any number of courses to get yourself established in the industry or to further your current knowledge and skills. Browse our range of brilliant plumbing training courses on our website now, or call our helpful team on 0800 345 7492 for more information!

The introduction of vocational lessons for less academic students has been hailed as a very good thing for education. Nowadays school children can be taught horticulture and can undertake training to be a plumber, and much more. Training to be a plumber at a young age is a great way to get experience is a good business and a fulfilling profession, but the recent Wolf Review which monitored vocational training to be a plumber among other courses, found real shortcomings in vocational education.

Vocational Course Problems
The problems that the Wolf Report identified with vocational training to be a plumber at school include a lack of real value. In many cases, vocational courses which were supposed to provide children with training to be a plumber did not prepare their students thoroughly enough for higher education or for a real job.

Training to be a plumber at school is often equivalent to several GCSE but does not provide students with the right level of skill to account for this. This means that, after undergoing training to be a plumber, school leavers often find that there is no job for them and they are woefully under-prepared for further education.

Why Do These Problems Arise?

The key reason that so many courses which provide training to be a plumber to school kids are so useless is that there is a severe lack of regulation. There is no single, dedicated body which controls the standard of training to be a plumber. This means that, while there are many fantastic vocational plumbing courses around, there are equally training courses which underprepare students and do not fulfil the needs of their students.

Get High-Quality Training to Be a Plumber
There are many proposed changes to school training to be a plumber. The Wolf Report suggests that many of the underperforming courses are immediately scrapped. Meanwhile, the report proposes making further education (FE) courses available to vocational secondary school students who want training to be a plumber.

If vocational plumbing courses are scrapped at secondary schools, students may have to wait until their leave school to get training to be a plumber. This may not be so terrible a thing. There are lots of brilliant plumbing training courses out there and adult training is monitored by awarding bodies such as City & Guilds so their quality and standard is assured.

If you are interested in training to be a plumber, whether you are a school leaver or not, you can enrol on our plumbing training courses which can be found UK-wide. Our courses are flexible, City & Guilds accredited and taught by experienced professionals. To learn more about training to be a plumber with Access Training, browse our site or call our team on 0800 345 7492 today.

If you are a keen DIY enthusiast you may be considering enrolling on a plumbing training course, but although there are many plumbing tasks you need specialist plumbing training for, there are lots of DIY plumbing tasks you can deal with without plumbing training! Here is Access’s free plumbing training!

Today we’ll be talking you though some of the basic tenants of DIY plumbing, these are some simple tips to help you keep your home plumbing in shipshape condition, without necessarily hiring a plumber or taking a plumbing training course:

1.    Avoid Frozen Pipes

With cold weather on its way, one of our key plumbing training tips is to watch out for frozen pipes! Frozen pipes can be a major problem despite the fact that they are simple to avoid. If you have external pipes, or pipes which run along external walls (often in cellars and attics). Ensure that these pipes are properly insulated, or, if they are not, use the isolation valve at your water supply to isolate and drain them thoroughly before the cold weather hits and causes problems!

2.    Check your Machine Hoses

Another great plumbing training tip which will help keep your home plumbing running perfectly is to check your machine hoses at least yearly. Machine hoses are the pipes which connect your plumbing to your white goods like washing machines and dishwashers. Give them a good once over, once yearly, to check for wear and tear like holes or drips.

3.    Don’t Be a Soft Touch with Hard Water

Hard water damage can be a challenge even for plumbers with expert plumbing training. That is the reason that one of our top plumbing training tips is to take regular preventative action against hard water. Hard water causes limescale build up so make sure you regularly dose showerheads, taps, washing machines and dishwashers with a limescale remover (or even just vinegar!) to keep your plumbing in good nick.

4.    Don’t Be a Drip

Deal with drips immediately! It may seem daunting if you do not have professional plumbing training but you can deal with some drips yourself.  Once you have located the source of your drip either set about repairing it yourself by replacing the leaking pipe, washer or valve, or contact a plumber with the right plumbing training to do it for you. Tackling the drip immediately will save your plumber time and you money!

5.    Know Your Valves

No matter how much plumbing training you have, one of the most important online plumbing training tips we can give you is to know your valves! If you know where your valves are, and which ones do what, you will be equipped to immediately deal with any plumbing emergencies you may have, even if you don’t have plumbing training. The most important valve to locate is your stopcock. If you know where your stopcock is you can cut your water supply immediately during a plumbing emergency! If you have the time and inclination, go around your house and label each valve so you know which ones to use if something goes wrong.

If this article has gotten you interested in enrolling on a real plumbing training course you can study plumbing training at your own pace from anywhere in the UK using one of our plumbing training options. To find out more about the plumbing training courses Access can offer, browse our informative website or call our team on 0800 345 7492 now!

You don’t need intensive plumbing training to be able to solve plumbing issues around your home. This handy blog has been written to provide online plumbing training to give you an idea of the sorts of helpful skills you can pick up on real life plumbing training courses. This week we will be discussing how to cope with a leaking water pipe in your home.

In fact, temporarily repairing a burst or leaking water pipe is pretty easy, apart from our helpful online plumbing training, the only special equipment you need is a pipe repair clamp which you can buy in any DIY shop.

1.    First things first, locate your leak!

It should be fairly obvious where your burst water pipe is because of the high pressure jets of water they usually cause. As you can see, specialist plumbing training isn’t really needed for this kid of task! The only complication might be if the leak has travelled and dripped along pipes or flooring, then you really just need to follow the trail of water.

2.    Turn off your valve

Locate the valve which sends water to the burst pipe, or the valve which controls your whole house’s water supply, and turn the handle clockwise.

3.    Use your pipe repair clamp
You really don’t need plumbing training to do this, there will be instructions on the packet! Normally you’ll simply have to place a rubber sleeve over the hole and clamp it in place.

4.    Admire your handy work
Relax! Your house is now safe from a major leak.

5.    Call a plumber or enrol on a plumbing training course!

Sadly this is only a temporary solution and you will need special plumbing training, or someone with the relevant plumbing training, to provide a more permanent solution by replacing the damaged section yourself. However, by using our handy plumbing training, you have bought yourself some time and saved your property from lots of nasty water damage.

If this blog has piqued your interest and you think you’d like to check out real-life, expert plumbing training courses, Access has loads of plumbing training options for experts and for beginners, from across the UK! For more information about our plumbing training courses visit the rest of our site or give our friendly helpline a call on 0800 345 7492 now!

You don’t always need to have gone through expert plumbing training to fix some of the plumbing problems around your place. Plumbing is one of the final frontiers of DIY because, should anything go wrong, it can end up in a big, soggy and expensive mess. In many cases you are better off enrolling on plumbing training courses, or finding an expert with the right plumbing training, but there are some small DIY plumbing tasks which are safe and relatively easy for you to carry out around the house.

Before we begin, bear in mind that there are some jobs that only plumbers with the correct plumbing training should carry out. If you are keen on DIY there are loads of plumbing training courses around that you can enroll on to qualify you to deal with things like plumbing problems which are within a wall, close to electricity or to sockets. If you haven’t had plumbing training, these problems should be left to someone who has.

One of the most common and fixable problems, even if you do not have plumbing training, are problems around the kitchen sink. A blocked drain or leaking pipesare two problems which you do not need plumbing training or specialist tools to deal with. Here’s how to deal with a blockage.

  1. Check under your sink and take a look at the U bend.
  2. Once you have located the U bend, next locate your bucket! It is important to have a bucket on hand whether you have plumbing training or not, as blocked sink water all over the place is no fun for anybody.
  3. Unscrew your U bend. If your U bend is plastic you should be able to simply unscrew it. If you have a rubber U bend you may need to use a screwdriver or spanner to get it off. 
  4. Check your U bend for obstructions, often this will just be a build-up of fat and/or food. 
  5. Once you have located the obstruction, just remove it and replace your U bend, ensuring that it is securely fastened.


This is one very basic plumbing task which you can complete without undergoing plumbing training. If you are interested in learning about plumbing, and want to learn to do more, enrolling on a plumbing training course is a great way to find out more and add to your skillset. Many people often find that plumbing training courses open up a whole new career to them! If you are happy as a layman and want more online DIY plumbing training, check back here next week when we’ll be giving plumbing training to show you how to fix leaking pipes.

Access Training are plumbing training specialists and offer a huge range of courses across the country, for all levels of ability. Access plumbing training is flexible and practical and, best of all, all Access Training courses will get you an official City & Guilds approved qualification once completed. For more information about plumbing training browse our website or call our friendly team on 0800 345 7492 now!

 

All over the UK there appears to be something of a DIY plumbing revolution going on. Plumbing courses are becoming increasingly popular amongst layman and DIY enthusiasts. Although not quite so technical as plumbing courses, popular programmes like Kirstie’s Homemade Home are just the tip of the DIY home improvements iceberg. 

The uptake in rookies taking plumbing courses is, in part, a result of the high cost of plumbing work. Taking plumbing courses and familiarising yourself with the basics is not only a great way to equip yourself to do work around your own property but also makes you a more informed customer when you need more technical plumbing work done by a professional.

Taking DIY beginner plumbing courses can prevent you from getting ripped off and will ensure that, whatever work you need done, you understand what is going on and how much it should cost.  

Plumbing courses can also teach amateurs to fix their own plumbing problems around the house. Most people who have taken beginners plumbing courses find that they are able to deal with most of the more common plumbing issues in their home. 

With the current economic climate what it is, and the stubbornly terrible housing market, most people are opting to improve their properties rather than move house. This is yet another reason for the increasing interest in plumbing courses for novices. 

Many people who take entry level plumbing courses find that they really enjoy the hands-on, practical work that plumbing involves. There are many examples of amateur plumbers going pro after getting interested in the businesses after taking plumbing courses. 

There is an upsurge in people retraining on intensive plumbing courses and giving up their previous careers. Not only is there a lot of money to be made in the industry but there is also the satisfaction of a hands on job as well as the benefit of essentially setting your own hours.

If you are interested in enrolling on beginner, or more advanced, plumbing courses Access Training UK is a great place to look. At Access Training UK we provide a huge range of plumbing courses which cater to all levels of ability and all of our plumbing courses result in an official City & Guilds approved qualification!

For more information about starting plumbing courses, no matter what your age, background, motive or availability, browse the Access Training UK website now or speak to one of our experienced advisors about which plumbing courses are best for you. Call 0800 345 7492 today.

 

As we reported in our last post, the net is closing in on unqualified and unscrupulous trades people, including plumbers, carpenters, electricians and general builders. The Government and CITB are pushing harder than ever for a greater level of scrutiny of the work carried out by trades people, starting with their training. They are insisting that trades people gain recognised qualifications through relevant construction courses that prove their competency and show they have the correct level of technical expertise to carry out their work.

Meanwhile, rogue traders are being punished in the severest manner with an example reported in the Construction Enquirer on 24th June this year where Darryl Sylvester Glyn, 46, was told he must pay back £140,000 to his ‘customers’ or face a further two years behind bars. Note the phrase ‘further two years’ – he is already spending four and a half years in jail after being prosecuted by Trading Standards from Yorkshire County Council and if he does not return the money the longer sentence will be imposed.

This is an extreme example as in some cases Mr Glyn did not turn up when customers had expected him to start work, even though he had already demanded large amounts of money upfront. What is clear however is that the net is closing in on those builders, plumbers, electricians, tillers and plasterers who operate complete disregard for the best practises taught through established trades and construction courses.

For anyone looking to enter the trades market it is becoming essential to be able to prove your skills are up to the mark. Trades people who are successful in today’s savvy marketplace are fostering stronger relationships with their customers and establishing themselves through high quality work.

At Access Training we train people on construction courses and deliver trades training to those who have experience as well as those with no experience at all. No matter what your level of experience, you will be taught the same principles and values which emphasise the importance of professional qualifications and carrying out your work to a high standard.

If you are interested in any construction courses or would like further information on getting qualified in a particular trade then call us today.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is behind a new scheme aimed at reducing the risks taken by consumers when they employ a tradesman to work in their home. The aim of the scheme is to reduce the number of consumers being conned by rogue traders who produce shoddy workmanship or simply disappear with a customer’s money.

The new RICS Client Money Protection Scheme will act as a ‘referee and ombudsman’ and sit between the customer and the tradesman holding monies on larger scale works. However, whilst this is aimed at the consumer, it will be of great benefit to those people currently undertaking construction courses as well as qualified plumbers, trained electricians, certified carpenters and other trades people.

How will the scheme work?

A large deposit is held by the scheme having been paid in by the consumer and not paid directly to the builder and this money will not be released to the builder until the work is complete. There are certain caveats that both parties must adhere to - the value of the project needs to be worth more than £2000 and consumers will need to pay a small amount into a consumer protection guarantee account to begin with.

This will mean that both parties are covered in the event of any dispute as the tradesperson will be safe in the knowledge that the money has been deposited and is being held securely whilst the consumer is happy that the tradesperson will only be paid once they produce work that is satisfactory. It also protects the consumer from being pressured into paying by the tradesperson.

The man who brought this idea to life is Harvey Ellington, who spoke to mycouncillor.org.uk, ‘the concept is simple. This Escrow account is fully protected by the RICS Client Money Protection Scheme meaning your money is totally safe. This removes all the elements of risk for the consumers and traders too. Cowboy builders and rogue tradesmen will be quickly caught out. This is a major step forward for consumers in this country.’

However, tradesperson and consumers must also be aware that cowboy builders are rarely qualified. So before the consumer settles on a tradesperson they should ask them whether they are a member of any professional organisations and what qualifications or construction courses they have completed. For instance, gas engineers by law must attend relevant training and courses to become Gas Safe registered. Electricians working on domestic properties must either be working for a company or personally qualified to Part P of the Building Regulations. Most reputable electricians will also be part of a competent person scheme such as the NICEIC.

If you are a tradesperson looking for construction courses call Access training today and we’ll get you qualified quickly and efficiently.

In a recent article published in She magazine, one of the UK’s largest selling woman’s magazines, six woman were featured who had varied jobs but with one common factor... a very high salary. One such woman, Jane Graham from London, works for Pimlico Plumbers, having completed her plumbing training. She earns a quoted £75k per year. That’s £4,176 per month or £964 per week or £193 per day after tax! Not bad at all.

This just goes to show not only that women are just as suited to a career in plumbing as men, but also the tremendous financial rewards working as a plumber can bring, making plumbing training a worthwhile undertaking.

Jane Graham stated: “As I’m very hands-on I decided that university wasn’t for me, so I thought instead about training to be a plumber. It was tough being the only woman on the plumbing training course, but now I love my job with Pimlico Plumbers. In a typical day I will have three different customers, and many of my female customers are delighted to see a female plumber. There is nothing better than solving a problem and making sure the customers are happy; plus the money I earn working in this affluent area of London is a real bonus.”  

Here at Access Training we have seen a marked increase (134%) in the enquiries we are receiving from women about our trades training courses, and these enquiries are fairly evenly spread between the plumbing training, electrical courses and the other trades we offer. They will usually be keen to discuss their suitability for the work, to which we always offer the same reply: a career in plumbing or any other trade for that matter is just as suited to women as it is to men.

The age old stereotypes are no longer relevant. Women can be up there with the very highest earners in the trade. Once industry recognised plumbing training has been completed men and women alike in a position to reap the financial rewards.

If you’re interested in becoming a plumber then Access Training’s plumbing training is the best way to kick start your career. Our purpose built, state of the art facilities accurately replicate scenarios will you find yourself in whilst out on the job, giving you a thorough grounding in all aspects of plumbing. Call 0800 345 7492 today.

The NICEIC has just has published the results of a survey which asked registered electrical contractors their thoughts on Part P of the Building Regulations. Around 1,500 completed the survey. The results obtained, which reflected a wide spread of electricians’ views, are to be considered by the Government in their latest review of current Building Regulations.

As discussed in previous posts, the effectiveness of Part P is currently being looked at and re-examined by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, who published the initial legislation back in 2005. This dictated that electrical courses graduates working domestically must have attended one of a specific range of electrical courses to become a qualified installer. They also had to be part of a Competent Person Scheme.

There has been much debate regarding the changes needed, with most agreeing that Part P electrical courses should be amended to improve the current model. The responses received from the NICEIC survey support this view with 85% believing it should be retained. Three quarters of contributors said that there should be a pubic list of approved electrical installers for consumers to use, preventing unqualified electricians from carrying out domestic electrical work.

One of the most telling findings was that half of the respondents have seen a marked increase in the standard of electrical work since Part P was brought in as an essential element of electrical courses.

Other notable findings were that 75% of contributors said they wanted firmer action to be taken against those individuals who did not comply with the scheme. At present prosecutions are virtually non-existent.

Finally, an important point the electrical courses graduates wanted homeowners to understand was which DIY tasks they can carry out themselves as opposed to those they need a qualified electrician to complete.

Here at Access Training we feel that safety comes first and that, despite its numerous faults, Part P has been an undoubted success since its introduction, increasing the quality of the workmanship being carried out in people’s homes.

Here at Access Training we offer Part P electrical courses which will enable you to reach the industry required standard. If you require any further information regarding Part P electrical courses, or any of our other courses for that matter, please call 0800 345 7492 or email enquiries@accesstraining.co.uk.