If you are reading this post you are doubtless aware of the continuing debate surrounding the future of Part P and whether or not it is sufficient to meet the demands of the electrical industry, and more importantly, of the general public.

Electricians across the spectrum seem to be divided about its effectiveness, unable to agree as to whether the current electrical building regulations go far enough, or simply create a vacuum within the industry. Since the coalition government took power the regulations have been caught up in the political undercurrents which have been circulating a number of government departments.

The debate will certainly go on, but the merits of Part P of the building regulations received a ringing endorsement last month from comments made by Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety Council, who said, “I certainly agree Part P has not been seen as the electrician’s friend, but it has certainly brought about benefits for the consumer.

“As a contributing factor towards improved safety, the Council will continue to lobby Westminster for its retention. We have also made our support for Part P clear at the party conferences held in the autumn of 2010. We have already sent comments to the Minister, Andrew Stunell, as part of an initial review of the building regulations. Our entire raison d’être [at the Electrical Safety Council] is to ensure the safety of all users of electricity. It would not be acceptable to the ESC if we were to allow a vacuum whereby untrained individuals could undertake electrical work without checks – this would surely be the case if Part P were scrapped.”

There seems little doubt that with the might of the Electrical Safety Council behind it, and in conjunction with associated bodies such as the NICEIC, Part P will remain in place, continuing to protect the general public from the dangers of unchecked electrical work in domestic properties.

If you’re an electrician or tradesperson undertaking electrical work in a domestic environment, it is essential to ensure your conformation with Part P of the building regulations. We would also highly recommend joining a Competent Person Scheme such as the NICEIC.

If you would like to learn more about the Part P electrical courses offered by Access Training, or you’d like to know more about the NICEIC, call us today on 0800 345 7492.

In a previous news entry we discussed the confusion or lack of general awareness centring on the new Gas Safe Register, and the potential gas safety problems which can occur when you employ tradesmen who are not properly registered. In recent months, it has come to light that even more serious electrical problems are looming…

Back in January 2005, the government introduced new legislation regulating electrical installation work carried out in houses and gardens. This came after a number of electrical injuries (750) and deaths (10), which occurred as a direct result of poor electrical wiring. There existed a common misconception that electrical work could be carried out, without the relevant electrical training or expertise, within the home. These yearly figures are disturbing enough; however, add these to the 2,336 house fires caused by incorrect electrical installation and the picture painted becomes far more menacing.

There is a distinct lack of general awareness amongst the public, and disturbingly amongst trades people themselves. Part P of the building regulations explains why the dangers of electrical shocks from faulty electrical work are so widespread. As an example, in 2008, the Electrical Safety Council reported that a serious incident occurred when a woman was electrocuted following the redecoration of a room in her house. The woman received a fatal electrical shock when her decorator, who was not compliant with Part P of the regulations, replaced some electrical sockets with those of a different style. The woman was electrocuted when she picked up a metal lamp which had become live, whilst touching another lamp that was earthed. In this instance, despite the work not complying with Part P, the Crown Prosecution Service decided that there were no grounds to prosecute the decorator; however, the message is stark: you must comply with Part P and notify Building Control of your local authority when you carry out repairs, replacements, maintenance work or add extra power or lighting points to existing circuits. They will then send an inspector to assess the work and provide you with a certificate to confirm the work fully complies.

It is still possible to be registered to carry out electrical work without the need to inform Building Control, and still be compliant with Part P. This can be achieved by becoming a member of a competent person scheme, such as the NICEIC. A short electrical training course with us here at Access Training will teach you everything you need to know.  We can also put you in touch with the NICEIC to start the registration process as a domestic electrician. This will give kitchen fitters, carpenters, decorators, plumbers, plasterers, general builders and even keen DIYers the training and competence they need.

To find out more about the comprehensive Part P electrical courses we offer here at Access, call us today on 0800 345 7492. We can have you registered with the NCIEC in no time as a fully signed up member of the Competent Person Scheme.

Believe it or not, despite all the extensive media coverage at the time, many people are still unaware that the Corgi accreditation, which regulated the work carried out by gas fitters, has now been replaced by Gas Safe.

The Corgi Register changed to the Gas Safe Register back in September of 2008, after the HSE conducted a study which established the need for a new system to cope with the increase in the number of homes using gas in the UK (about 21 million). More importantly, it was designed to improve the statistics for death and injury resulting from gas installations. It was felt that a new Gas Safe Register would increase public awareness about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Stephen Manley, an Inspector for the HSE, referred to the need for more people to be aware of the change from Corgi Registration to Gas Safe Registration: “It is illegal for an unregistered person to carry out work on a gas appliance. When unqualified workers try to bypass the law in this way they are not only putting themselves at risk of prosecution and a large fine, they are also putting their customers' lives at risk.

"Working with gas appliances requires a great deal of skill and knowledge, it is also potentially very dangerous. Only qualified and registered engineers should attempt it.

Paul Johnston, the Chief Executive of the Gas Safe Register, commented: "To fit, fix or service gas appliances… that person [needs to be] Gas Safe Registered [not Corgi Registered]. You shouldn't take any risks; badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause fires, explosions, gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning".

So, if you are looking to become qualified as a gas fitter, you need to become Gas Safe Registered. Access Training offer the simplest way to get Gas Safe Registered quickly and safely; our gas training courses come with a guaranteed work placement with a reputable Gas Safe Registered company, giving you the skills and confidence to fit gas appliances safely. However, just remember that it’s the Gas Safe Register and not the Corgi Register you really need to be a part of.

For comprehensive training enabling you to become Gas Safe Registered, contact Access Training today on 0800 345 7492. We have an enormous range of industry accredited trades training courses, which will teach you everything you need to know.

Vocational Courses

There are expected to be in the region of 230,000 disappointed young people missing out on a university place this year, damaging their hopes for a rewarding job, and in their view, affecting their future earning ability.

But is this truly the case? What about the wealth of vocational training options available which can lead to an extremely rewarding and lucrative career?

Vocational courses lead to higher-paying jobs

The median salary for graduates is £23,000*, which compares poorly to the average salary for an electrician in the UK, which currently sits at £31,701*.

Vocational courses cost less than university courses

At time of writing, university fees stand at £3290 per year, rising to £9000 in a year’s time. That’s £27,000 for a three year course (without the inclusion of living expenses).

For that price you could gain dozens of industry-recognised vocational qualifications, including plumbing and electrical awards, as well as becoming Gas Safe qualified and registered, with bags of money remaining to buy your first van and all your tools!

There aren't enough university places to go around

To add to the strain for university places, these potential students are also coming under pressure from competition for places from the EU, with applications for places rising by 8% already this year. It stands to reason that with the much vilified 2012 rise in fees, many more applications are being received per place as an attempt to beat the price hike, but to what end?

The surge in applicants shows a further increase on the quarter of a million that applied for a university position last year, with one in three unable to gain a place.

However, this needn’t be the end of the world; in fact it can be the start of a whole new successful chapter of an individual’s life. Vocational alternatives such as plumbing, electrical and gas courses are readily available. The Government recently announced their intention to set up 40 new university technical colleges (UTCs); however, this news was lost amongst the furore of the tuition fee protests. Such careers are extremely worthy alternatives to a university education, especially given the current skills gap in the country (which has existed for decades).    

Even EAL, the organisation which awards vocational qualifications across sectors including plumbing, electrical and gas, has called for an end to what it rightly describes as snobbery against vocational courses.

Sally Hunt, General Secretary of the University and College Union, has said:

"Our Government seems intent on ignoring the global trend of increasing access to university, which will see thousands of applicants denied the chance to fulfil their potential."

However, Hunt doesn’t acknowledge that an individual’s potential can still be fulfilled through vocational courses.

So if you want to save your money, study for less time, and develop the technical ability and skill to earn many times what a graduate would expect to earn, all without the vast huge amounts of debt, a vocational course may be the way to go. We offer a variety of vocational courses here at Access Training - browse our latest training packages here.

*Sources: www.salarytrack.co.uk and www.mysalary.co.uk

In an article entitled "Making Life Child Friendly", the South Wales Echo featured a number of our former electrical and plumbing training pupils. 

"As parents continue to feel the pinch, more and more are looking at new ways of making money while spending time with their families as well, as Cathy Owen discovered

For Sean Gully family always come first and it is the main reason he decided on a complete career change.

The dad-of-two, from Llanishen, Cardiff, had been working in IT sales, selling document management solutions.

He covered large areas of England and Wales, so it meant a lot of travelling away from his family. Work was also starting to dry up because of the recession.

 “With a wife and two daughters to support I felt it was time to get a trade and find a career where I could almost guarantee myself work wherever I went,” said the 45-year-old, who is originally from Australia.

“After some research I found that electricians were in high demand.”

He went on an Access Training course and is now working as a self-employed electrician and has a contract with an estate agent"....Read the full story

As usual, the year has raced by and 2011 is upon us before we even contemplated its existence. Well according to a survey on Gocompare.com, over 27 million people will make a New Year’s resolution to change their lives for the better. This figure equates to around half of Brits who are looking to make changes in their lives in some way. The survey identified the specific personal changes many individuals wished to make. 55% said they wanted to lose weight; 49% wanted to exercise more and 44% of people were keen to improve their financial outlook. 16% responded that they would be looking for a new job. That’s nearly 12 Million people looking to improve their finances, and over 4 Million people looking for a new career. It’s also an awful lot of people wanting to lose weight, but it’s probably best if we leave that for now. 

The turning of the year represents a time of change for many people whose money worries are likely to grow with the recent VAT hike and the astronomical cost of fuel, public sector cuts and the poorly performing economy. What is sure is a career change into a job that increases your job security and salary, whilst giving you more time to spend with your families or simply enjoying yourselves cannot be a bad thing. That’s where the specialist and comprehensive trades training provided by Access Training can help ensure you make your New Year’s resolution a reality.

If your resolution is to lose weight, then we’re sorry, it’s not really our field. However, we do have a field at the back of our state of the art training centre where you can run around until your heart’s content. It is worth noting that 54% of people didn’t believe their resolution would make it past the end of January!

So above all, health, fitness and money matters come top of the New Year’s resolution list. And there is a way to accomplish these in one fell swoop, call us at Access Training and see how we can offer you trades training for a career which will change your life for the better.

Oscar Wilde - "Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account"

become a plumber australia and canada

According to recent reports, Australia is suffering from a distinct lack of plumbers. So much so they are looking for skilled plumbers from the UK to travel down under to help them fill this skills gap. But why are there shortages in a trade which is so well paid?

The BBC website has briefly touched upon the subject, but in our eyes may have missed the main point. It quotes Peter Wright, an associate Professor of economics at Nottingham University, who alluded to the shortage of plumbers in the UK being down to to the rapid expansion of higher education opportunities. The government has positively encouraged virtually everyone to undertake a university degree course. This policy enticed individuals away from skilled trades such as plumbing. He added that Australia is in fact in a very similar situation, with not many people becoming a plumber. 

It is now the responsibility of private companies, such as Access Training, to try and fill the void. Our plumbing training courses are producing highly skilled individuals, which countries such as Australia and Canada are attempting to entice with lucrative offers.

How Can You Become a Plumber in Australia or Canada? 

One point the BBC missed is just how difficult it is to become a plumber in Australia. The opportunities to train and be recognised as a qualified plumber are very different from the UK. Various licenses and certificates need to be issued prior to practicing as a plumber, which makes a British plumber extremely attractive as they already hold recognised international qualifications such as a City & Guilds in plumbing or an NVQ2 in plumbing.

There is also the problem of how the plumbing industry is perceived in countries like Australia and Canada. It seems the UK appreciates the fact above all others that plumbing is a well valued and highly respected profession. In Australia and other countries, this is not the case. It is thought that they believe the quality of the work plumbers produce may not be as high as in the UK. Here's an example from a Canadian Forum: 

‘Here in Canada, trades [such as plumbing] are in serious trouble and are seen as un-glamorous amongst career ambitious people. It seems that getting your hands dirty as a tradesperson is un-trendy when the reality is the opposite. I shy away from hiring trades because the chance of getting the job done properly is about 20%. I have expelled tradesmen and refused to pay because of shoddy work and normally end up completing the job myself to be sure it is done properly.

Just watching Holmes on Homes (I am sure it airs in the UK) confirms this problem. I have personally become a very proficient plumber, electrician, carpenter, bricklayer, plasterer, decorator, cook, and bottle-washer as well as being an electronics engineer by trade. There is REALLY good money to be earned out there as a competent tradesperson!'

 

Here at Access Training, we provide courses which will provide you with your plumbing qualifications in no time at all. These qualifications can then be used to become a plumber in Australia and Canada.

So if you have aspirations to work abroad as a plumber either now or in the future, get in contact with Access Training. Our beginner's training course in domestic plumbing will put you on your way to finding well-paid work in no time at all.

Plumbers earn a fortune, that’s what people say, and you know what, they’re not far wrong. But why do plumbers continue to command such a large wage compared to tradesmen in other industries? A common sense response would be that there must be a shortage of plumbers, but is this really the case, or is it just a common misnomer?

Writing for the Financial Times, Tim Harford discusses why this is the case: “Just like being a waiter or a taxi driver, a plumber’s skills haven’t been superseded by technology. Within other industries the skill of the worker has been partly and sometimes wholly replaced by the advent of technology and machines. They offer a more cost effective and efficient way to make products, manage systems and generally speed things up in the industry”.

In plumbing the techniques and manpower needed to carry out the work have remained largely the same for years with little prospect of radical change, which is of course excellent news for existing plumbers and for those thinking of undergoing plumbing training. The skills you will learn now will not become outdated, with their validity assured for years to come.

Harford explains further: “Now you can buy amazing televisions and cars which are cheaper than those available 20 years ago, yet plumbing has not really changed so it still remains expensive. In my book this makes plumbing a career to have above all else. In 50 years there is no way that robots will be able to change our pipes”.

It’s common knowledge that plumbers earn a great wage. We all know that calling out a plumber can be difficult. They always seem to be busy, and in an emergency you need someone who is going to be available straight away. For once we’ve put two and two together and come up with the right answer. Plumbers earn a fortune because there is a shortage of skilled tradesmen available, and there really is no other way of getting the work done. Therefore, as with the basic principles of supply and demand, the price being paid is at a premium. Recent predictions by City & Guilds, who award various plumbing training qualifications, have found that a plumber can expect to earn on average £605 a week, with some plumbers earning quoted figures of £780 per week, which is a marvelous £40,523 a year.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this skills shortage then contact Access Training today. We can fit our range of intensive plumbing training courses in and around your current commitments, allowing you the chance to gain industry recognised qualifications.

Reading the various reports coming from Government sources has led many to conclude that as of the end of 2010, ‘no one will be able to become an electrician unless they are on an apprenticeship’. Here at Access Training we know this is simply not the case. Consider the following scenario... One particular individual, let's call him Dave, is looking for a change in career and would really like to become an electrician. He currently works in a call centre for a popular and well advertised gas company answering calls each and every day.  The pay is poor and the hours are long.  He has a friend who recently completed an intense course and is now a successful plumber. Up until now, his present job has been sufficient. He has been enjoying life and glad of the regular income which supports this. At the age of 30, Dave meets a girl and decides / hopes she is the one. They move in together.  They now have two incomes, and although small the rent is covered, bills are paid and they enjoy regular nights out. 

Dave then reaches his 31st birthday; he decides that now is the time and pops the question. She accepts, he breaths a huge sigh of relief, and they start thinking about buying a house.  Dave then discovers he is due to be a father, and after some thought realises his income really needs to increase if he is going to be able to provide sufficiently for his family.  He needs a change of career and has always liked the idea of being an electrician. He has done some research and discovered that his earning potential will soar, giving him and his family the lifestyle they crave. He has already discussed working with his plumber friend; he currently has no qualifications and doesn’t know where to get trained.  He pays a visit to a few local colleges and enquires about going on an evening course.  The tutor explains the courses are full and there is a substantial waiting list. He also discovers that even after the completion of such a course he will only be qualified to lower level, not giving him full electrician status, allowing him to get a  job as a ‘mate’ or an ‘improver’. He is also put off by the length of the course which lasts a matter of years; realistically he would much prefer a high intensity course which lasts just months. 

He then sees something in the national press which talks about Adult Apprenticeships and thinks great, this could be my chance. After a little research he realises that finding an employer who is willing to take him on an apprenticeship is virtually impossible. Now he feels completely lost.

Then one day just by chance he spots an advert in the local press from Access Training, a company that specialises in providing training for career changers and offers intensive and focused training which fits around an individual’s job, lifestyle and family commitments. This sounds great. He gives them a call and they explain everything he needs to know about becoming an electrician, allaying all the myths and taking the time to carefully explain, impartially, the facts relating to his prospects in the industry. They explain how the technical know-how and industry recognised qualifications he will receive will act as a carrot-on-a-stick to employers; he could even set out on his own when he is ready.  Within a short period of time he could have all the necessary qualifications to work as a fully qualified and graded electrician, more than trebling his previous income. 

Dave attends the course, becomes fully qualified, and because he’s his own boss he can spend as much time with his family as he likes. His earnings leap towards levels he never thought possible. There is also great benefit to the industry as a whole as the skills shortage is addressed, with the addition of an enthusiastic, motivated and well qualified electrician. Everyone’s a winner! 

This wonderful opportunity exists out there in the labour market today; you just have to know where to look. Yet governing bodies such as Summit Skills would not record this as a success. They are so blinkered that they are only interested in youth apprenticeships and not adult trainees with internationally recognised qualifications accredited from the NICEIC and City & Guilds.

With a massive decrease in apprenticeships offered by companies over the last few years, coupled with the ‘Credit Crunch’, there are more people than ever out of work.  Lots of people want to be electricians, plumbers, gas fitters and trades people but cannot find the necessary training to make progress.  Many mature individuals don’t believe they can become electricians at all as they falsely believe they have ‘missed the boat’ or are ‘too old’. Many adult learners know they want to learn a trade and do something with their hands. But for whatever reason, information on how to get good trade training as an adult is not easy to come by. This is where commercially aware, honest private training providers like Access Training come in. Just take a look at our testimonial section for examples.

So is a career change really a good idea when the information and advice can seem confusing?  Well, yes, in the majority of situations it is.  A career change brings fresh impetus, a new outlook on life and for many people, an opportunity to improve their financial situation.  This is the driving force behind most adult trainees, who, with careful introduction and thoughtful application by training providers like Access Training, can successfully change their lives for the better.

The problem is that for a mature individual, interested in a career change, making the right choice is never easy. However, planned correctly with the help of Access Training, adult students have a great opportunity to get out there and fill the skills gap, in a job which is both enjoyable and financially rewarding.

The conclusion is simple: colleges and apprenticeships are not always the answer; certainly not for a mature individual looking for a career change. Here at Access Training, we are not at all worried about the future of our adult students. We have many success stories across all the trades. Amongst all the doom and gloom in the current economy and the jobs market, the future is very bright for any individuals looking to become electricians, plumbers, gas fitters and more.

Call us today to find out how an intensive electrical training course or plumbing training course will prepare you for the trade, putting in place the industry recognised, expert qualifications you need

Access Training have today launched a new website for our training courses, we would welcome any feedback from you.

As you can see we have also attached a news blog to our website and we hope to keep you informed on new courses, accreditations, trade industry news, success stories and more. Please have a read through our blog posts and come back from time to time to read up on our latest posts.

Speaking after her inauguration as the first female President of the ECA (Electrical Contractors Association), Diane Johnson gave a stark warning about the skills shortage in the UK:

We are sitting on a ticking time bomb. If we don't act now, we will not have the home-grown talent needed to fulfil this country's potential. The consequences of that will be more far reaching than most people realise.

All too often the valuable role of our tradespeople is ignored. When we are no longer able to call on a qualified electrician, plumber or joiner, for example, to carry out essential work in our homes and businesses, because they are in such short supply, it will be too late.

I worry about what the landscape will look like in 10 years and who will be teaching our future captains of industry. For too long now the emphasis in the UK has been on University education rather than on-the-job skills training, with the craft route often seen as a lesser option. But I have young graduates knocking on my door with increasing regularity asking for the chance to learn a trade as their degree has proved almost worthless in the job market. This is particularly alarming as the cost of a degree is causing more and more graduates to leave with quite a scary level of debt, before they've even entered the "real" world, and with limited prospects.

What people often forget is that qualified tradespeople will often go on to set up their own businesses and become employers themselves. Without this natural pattern of events taking place the future looks very bleak. Critically, the UK is fast falling behind other countries, such as Germany, which still recognise the need for craftsmen and women and have continued to train much higher numbers of apprentices. This will affect our young people's long term chances of employment as foreign companies undertaking contracts in the UK will be forced to bring in their own skilled labour because we will not have the skilled labour to compete for those jobs. Our industry is still climbing out of a very tough recession and we recognize the Government has to take tough measures to help aid the Nation's recovery.

However, we must not lose sight of the fact that we still need to train people to carry out these essential skills in years to come. If we don't value our trades and the Government doesn't properly incentivise employers to take on apprentices, it's only a matter of time before the bomb will explode.