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.

The government’s fight against tax avoidance has had many targets over the past year. From self-employed tax return cheats, to tax-dodging comedians, the crusade continues. Now the subjects of the crusade are tradesmen who receive payment cash in hand, and the clients who facilitate it.

For many of us who have trained or are training on plumbing courses or electrician courses, cash in hand payment is a common and convenient form of working. Yet, according to Treasury Minister David Gauke, the government loses an estimated £2bn every year to what he describes as the ‘black economy’ – largely due to cash in hand payment for tradesmen.

Granted, there are opportunities for abuse of the system when cash in hand payments are made. It is simpler to pocket the payment and therefore avoid taxation, yet not every graduate from plumbing courses or electrician courses works in this way and a great number of those who accept cash in hand payments are scrupulous and honest about their earnings.

Mr Gauke has hit out particularly at those tradesmen who offer ‘discounts’ for cash in hand payments. Of course this area is particularly difficult to police. For those tradespeople who manage payment in this way the arrangement is beneficial both for themselves and for their clients. The taxpayer’s money it would take to tackle the minority who operate in this way would far exceed the gains to be made by ensuring every single transaction is fairly taxed.

There is strong opposition to Mr Gauke’s comments regarding the “moral wrongness” of cash in hand transactions. Labour MP Austin Mitchell has denigrated Gauke’s remarks as “petty”. Equally, just a short time after the MP’s expenses scandal, hints of governmental  involvement in the Leveson enquiry and frankly shocking evidence of the immoral actions of banks like HSBC in Mexico and Barclays worldwide, this accusation of immorality seems really rather rich.

Are you an alumni from our plumbing courses, electricians courses or other types of trades training? What’s your preferred form of payment? Do you accept cash in hand? We’d love to hear from you on this subject.

If you are considering enrolling on plumbing courses or electrician courses, Access will help train you in all areas of your trade. From hands-on technical work, to running your business and working out tax - for flexible, thorough trades training courses, across the UK, contact Access today on 0800 345 7492.

If you’re wondering what happened to the summer, your guess is as good as ours. After what seems like months of torrential rain, freakishly large hailstorms, floods, gales and general meteorological misery you could be forgiven for feeling a little bit down in the dumps. For plumbers, however, all this heavy rain is causing an overflow in work. With intense downpours across the country, Britain’s pipes have been under a serious amount of pressure.

For those on plumbing courses, this is a great example of just how in demand skilled plumbers are. This is not just reliant on heavy rain. In fact a recent study into current course numbers and job prospects revealed that those on plumbing courses and other skilled trades courses have around 2 job opportunities per every student.

But back to the rain. Blocked and burst water pipes are a big problem in serious deluges and require the attention of a skilled plumber to fix. In seriously nasty weather undermining is also an issue. Undermining takes place when soil surrounding and supporting a pipe is washed away, causing the pipe to crack or even collapse.

If you are the victim of a burst pipe but you don’t have the advantage of plumbing courses under your belt, there are some steps you can take to reduce the damage whilst you wait for the plumber to arrive…

1.    Find your stopcock
Usually located beneath your kitchen sink, turn off the stopcock to stop the water supply to your home. This will help prevent any further water damage,

2.    Drain your system
Turn on all of your cold taps and flush your toilets – this will clear your plumbing system of excess water.

3.    Turn off any water heating systems
Central heating, immersion heating and other heating systems all need to be turned off. Once everything has been turned off, turn your hot taps on to drain your plumbing.

4.    Turn off your electrics

We all know that water and electricity don’t mix so, if the water from your burst pipe/s is  anywhere near electrical items or fittings, turn off the mains. If the mains switch has been in contact with water, do not do anything! Call a plumber and an electrician immediately.

5.    Grab a bucket and bail!

The sooner you can locate the burst pipe, the more damage you can prevent to your property. It won’t always be possible but, if you can, collect as much water as possible in buckets to minimise damage.

6.    Call the plumber
When a pipe bursts, you’ll need a trained plumber on hand. Steps 1-5 will all help minimise the damage but you’ll need the expertise of someone who has completed plumbing courses to fix the pipe.

If you’re keen to pick up the DIY skills required to fix such issues yourself, or if you’d like to train on plumbing courses to establish yourself in a new career – Access can help. We offer accessible, flexible and highly regarded plumbing courses which will help you learn the skills you want in a way which is ideal for you. To learn more about our flexible plumbing courses for all abilities, contact Access today on 0800 345 7492.


Colleges and further education establishments have been criticised for providing training in areas which have very few real life job prospects. Meanwhile, with an excess of electrician and engineer positions available, colleges have not been encouraging enough students to enrol on electrician courses and their ilk.

This year it has emerged that 94,000 hair and beauty students completed training only to find that there were just 18,000 new jobs available in the sector. Media professionals and personal trainers are facing an identical problem – with thousands of new trainees every year and too few positions available to allow them to begin careers.

Electrician courses undersubscribed

Meanwhile, there are distinct gaps in the types of training which are being taken up. In areas where more newly qualified professionals are required, there simply are not enough students interested to fill the labour gap. Electrician courses, plumbing courses, engineering training and training for environmental work are all undersubscribed. An astonishing 40,000 students trained to fill 72,000 new positions in engineering and building. In the world of construction, 123,000 newly trained alumni had the pick of 275,000 positions.

Further educational focus is misplaced

The LGA (Local Government Association) is furious that educational establishments have not yet managed to find the correct balance to address this issue – especially at a time of high unemployment. According to one spokesman, the problem lies in colleges focussing on exam results and pass rates instead of ultimate job prospects. The drive to attain the best pass rates and secure the highest level of funding can lead colleges to encourage students to undertake easier ‘popular’ courses, like hair and beauty.

Alongside the surplus beauticians and joblessness there is another problem. In an economy where unemployment is rife at least 17% of job vacancies are attributed to skills shortages.

There are so many opportunities for fresh trainees in the trades sector currently, with an estimated 2 jobs available per student. If you’re interested in job security and excellent prospects, talk to Access about enrolling on plumbing, gas and electrician courses today on 0800 345 7492.

Wired for Success is an exciting initiative launched by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA). The scheme is providing electrical training to 11 women from the same housing association and aims to get them off benefits and into full time employment by equipping them with valuable practical skills.

As the first female president of the ECA, Diane Johnson has masterminded the electrical training scheme and hopes that soon projects of this sort will be springing up across the country in a wide range of different trades.

There are many barriers which prevent women from entering the trades and a lack of flexibility is one key problem area. Many of the women undertaking the electrical training are single mothers who between full-time childcare and housekeeping could find little time to train on conventional courses. The Wired for Success scheme has rebalanced the situation for these dedicated women, offering electrical training which fits around their schedules and allowing them to develop their abilities at a time and pace which suited them.

Financial problems are another serious issue which stop mothers on benefits from gaining employable skills. One woman on the scheme found that she did not have the spare cash to travel to the training centre, for example. Thanks to the commitment and understanding of those behind the project, hurdles like this can be overcome.

Although a significant amount of time, energy and support is required from both the Wired for Success participants and creators, the ultimate outcome appears to be more than worth it. By finding the time, space and finance to complete electrical training, these women will emerge with extremely employable skills which will allow them to stop receiving benefits and provide for their families.

Yet even the benefit system makes life difficult for women who want to develop employable skills. The Job Centre does not recognise the Wired for Success programme as a training course and therefore pressured the participants to look for work or face losing their Jobseekers’ Allowance.

It can be extremely difficult for the unemployed to gain the skills they need to get off benefits and begin productive careers. At Access we offer electrical training on flexible courses which allow you to train at your pace and at a time which is convenient to you. We hope to see more schemes like the Wired for Success springing up across the UK soon, until this happens we are dedicated to offering the most accessible and flexible electrical training to candidates from all backgrounds. Contact Access today on 0800 345 7492, or explore our website to learn more.

You won’t find ‘kitten rescue’ on the syllabus of many plumbing courses, but this week a heroic group of plumbers in Memphis found themselves with a furry little problem in a very long pipe.

Usually kitten retrieval is the gambit of kindly firemen, but this time the problem was not stuck perilously up a tree, it was deep in an underground pipe. Using all of the tools at their disposal and everything they’d learnt on their plumbing courses, the Memphis plumbers sent a camera down the pipe to find out what the little critter was up to.

The monitor revealed a tiny tabby appearing bewildered but otherwise unharmed several metres into the pipe. Not wishing to cause the creature any distress or risk injuring it, the team lowered food down to the kitten and set a live trap beneath a nearby manhole to capture the creature when it eventually emerges. Working with the theory of ‘what goes up must come down’ the plumbers found they had little else to do to help.

The plumbing team were called in after neighbours were bothered by mewling coming from a local vacant property, after tracing the sound of the disorientated tabby to the pipe’s entrance, a neighbour called in the plumbers.
 
You might not learn about pet rescue on Access plumbing courses, but you will learn everything you need to know to begin a bright career in the plumbing industry. However you like to learn, whatever level of experience you have and wherever you are in the UK, Access have the ideal plumbing courses for you. To learn more about the plumbing courses we offer, from NVQ level 2 to renewable energy courses, please get in touch with our informative team on 0800 345 7492 today.

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