December may not seem like the most suitable time to be studying on a trades training course to become a professional tradesman, but the truth is these winter months are actually when plumbers, electricians, gas engineers, bricklayers and roofers are needed more than ever. With the end of the year just around the corner and the cold weather homing in on Britain, government-endorsed standards group Trustmark is warning owners to ensure that their homes are fully prepared before the harsh season hits.

Trustmark have already noted a rise in tradesperson viewings on their online database during October, which saw an a 36% increase in comparison to 2012. Across the trades roofers (32%), plumbers/heating engineers (35%) and electricians (20%) were the ones to see the biggest rise, and with heavy snow forecast until May 2014, these professionals are going to be needed more than ever.

Below is a list of quick spot checks Trustmark recommend doing to help reduce the risk of the winter weather causing damage to your home:

  • Most importantly, you should get your boiler and central heating checked/serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer. By making sure your boiler is in peak condition, it will burn far more efficiently - meaning it'll use less fuel AND be warmer. Checking your boiler/central heating also means that if there is any serious problems, you'll be avoiding any tragedy that could happen.
  • Make sure your insulation is in good quality. Not just your loft, but also look into lag pipes, water tanks and draught excluders.
  • Clean out gutters and outlets of any leaves and debris, followed by checking for any leaks or damage.
  • Look out for any damaged or loose tiles on your roof (from ground level to ensure your safety). Leep an eye out for any leaks or condensation appearing on the ceiling.
  • Make sure no exterior walls have any cracked, loose or missing pointing. If they do, be sure to get it fixed before water can get into it.

They also highly recommend keeping a useful list of phonenumbers of tradepeople in your area just incase of an emergency - plumbers, electricians, gas engineers, roofers, carpenters...whoever you might need if a problem should arise.

So if you're a tradesperson yourself, be prepared for your work to be more crucial to homeowners than ever - you never know when you're going to be needed. Alternatively, if you're looking to start a new career as a fully-qualified tradesperson now could be the perfect time to start. An intensive course from Access Training Academies can have you up and qualified in a matter of weeks - just in time to help those in need. To find out more about our range of courses, including plumbing, gas, electric and various construction trades, please give our advisers a call on 0800 345 7492.

When hiring an electrician to work in your home it's important to ensure that they've completed a suitable electrical training course and earned all of the necessary qualifications. But it seems not enough Brits are doing this, as new research from the Electrical Safety Council has found that on average a startling one in four people have hired an electrician without checking their credentials. 

The charity estimates that around 20,000 non-registered electricians are currently active in the UK, so having a casual attitude toward checking they have the right electrician qualifications is a huge risk to you and anyone else who lives in/enters your home. Electrical accidents are responsible for half of all house fires, with someone dying every week from one as well. Vigilance doesn't cost anything, but ignorance could cost you your life.

The ESC's survey also revealed that a third of people (based on a random sample of 2018 adults) have hired an electrician based on a recommendation without first checking creditials and - more more alarmingly - a quarter would KNOWINGLY use an unregistered tradesperson if they were in a hurry. The study also found that nearly 1.3 million people have paid a proper electrician to come and fix damage caused by an unregistered one.

This worrying figure shows no sign of decreasing either, as a third of registered electricians admitted to an increase of substandard or dangerous work carried out by rogue tradesmen in the last few years. They also warned of relying on other tradesmen to complete work that should be completed by someone who has completed an electrican training course, earned the right qualifications and become registered.

As part of their campaign to promote awareness towards checking an electrian's credentials, the ESC have taken on TV presenter and consumer champion Dominic Littlewood as ambassador. He warns: "Rogue traders come in many shapes and forms – from your mate down the pub, to the guy that helps your builder out with a few odds and ends. What can look legitimate, or sound convincing at first glance, may turn into a nightmare if the person doesn’t have the right qualifications."

If you're training to become an electrician, its your responsibility to your customers to ensure that you've received the right training and possess all of the relevant qualifications. By completing an Access Training electrician course, you'll gain both of these things as you learn from professional electricians with many years' experience in the industry. To find out more and book your place, give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

So you're reaching the end of your electrical training course and wondering what comes next. With qualifications in hand, its time to set up that electrician career you've been dreaming of. But which is the better route to go down - become a domestic electrician or become a commercial one?

The main questions you'll be asking youself are "What's the difference", "Which is better?" and "Which will give me better job satisfaction?". Here we'll try to explain some of the big differences between the two different electrician career choices and hopefully help point you in the right direction.

The easiest place to start with would be definitions. While a domestic installer deals with dwellings such as houses/flats/bungalows/etc, a commercial electrician's forte lies working in a wide variety of professional sectors - be it industrial, agricultural or more. Domestic installers work tends to mainly deal with single phase electrics, while a commerical electerican could find themselves installing a variety of cables including both single and three phase.

Aside from job description, one of the biggest differences between the two is the kind of lifestyle you'll be living. Most domestic installers tend to go the route of self-employment, setting up their own electrical businesses. The advantages to do this are:

  • Uncapped pay
  • You get to decide your own working hours
  • A good variety of domestic jobs
  • Face to face interaction with your customers

Meanwhile, a commercial electrician tends to be part of a larger company, which while doesn't quite have the freedom of self-employment has its own advantages - especially if you're someone who prefers the stability of a yearly salary and set work hours:

  • Jeb security
  • Length of jobs
  • Working as part of a team
  • Working in a wide variety of different sectors and locations
  • Promising career progression
  • Offers areas which you can then specialise in
If you're still not sure which is the right path for you, the good news is that all electrical training starts from the very beginning - so an Access Training course will give you the perfect basic training before you decide which route you'd like to go down. To find out more and speak to one of our course advisers, please give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.

An ex All-Black and Cardiff Blues captain, former rugby player Xavier Rush is currently training here at Access Training after retiring from sports and deciding to earn the qualifications to start a new career in property development. After completing an intenstive kitchen fitting course, he has decided to continue his training and earn additional qualifications in electrics and plumbing. We caught up with him again as he progressed through the professional electrician's course to see how he's getting on with starting his new life...

Xavier Rush hard at workSo how has your electrical training been going so far?

Busy, very busy! But good – I’ve been doing my Part P and 17th Edition, had an exam yesterday which I passed so I’m very happy about that. I wasn’t looking forward to doing a resit on Friday so I’m glad I’ve managed to avoid that. But it’s an intense course this one, and you don’t have much time to muck around. It’s intense, but its short and you get a lot of information which is great.

How have you found the balance between theory and practical learning?

You’re getting a good mix of both here. I think Martin [One of the electrical tutors] teaches it very well. I’ve enjoyed his style and the environment of working with all the other students as well. We come from all walks of life and backgrounds, but we’ve all got that one common goal of getting our qualifications. And we’re all here to learn, it’s very different to school – everyone’s here because they want to be here.

How has the electrical course compared to the kitchen fitting you were doing previously?

Kitchen fitting and carpentry is a lot more hands-on, which I’m more used to. The electrics is where you have to get the old brain working in gear. It’s been a while since I’ve had to sit in a classroom but again as I said Martin makes it interesting and mixes it up. And that’s helped us all.

Did you find you were fully prepared for the exams?

Well it’s a two and a half/three week course, so you’ve just got to make sure that you keep yourself pretty quiet over these weeks so at the end of it you get the pass mark. The first exam wasn’t bad at all but this one...it was an open book exam with the regs but it can be tricky. Its multiple choice (or multiple guess in some situations!) but I feel we covered it well in our teachings and you’ve just got to know your way around the book really.

We all passed in our class so we must have been fairly well prepared, especially when you never know what they’re going to chuck out at you. Every exam is different from everyone else’s.

So what will you be moving onto next?

I’m doing my PAT testing now, then have a nice week’s break and come back and nail my plumbing. I’m over the moon that I’m now a qualified domestic installer than can self-certify my own work. If you look at apprenticeships when I was finishing school that would have been a seven year course and even at the end you might not know as much as you’re given here. You’d have a fair bit of experience on the job but you’re in a good position to move on now and either do your own work if you feel confident enough or work for someone for a while before that.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone thinking of doing an electrical course or even completely changing careers like you have?

They need to remember that the courses are intense – you learn a lot of information so you want to make sure you go home, you get your sleep, your rest and your revision. Because you are slamming a lot of information into a small amount of time so you want to make sure you take in as much of it as possible. It’s a fun, enjoyable environment to learn in and the tutors. You’re learning from top guys so it’s been well worth the experience.

If you’ve wanted a career and want more of a hands-on trade and a change from what you’ve been doing I definitely recommend it. I certainly wouldn’t be here if I thought it was a waste of time. This is a great environment to come in and start.

We'll be catching up with Xavier Rush again after his week off, so if you have any questions you'd like to ask him please let us know via Twitter or Facebook. If you would like more information on taking the steps to change your career and become a professional tradesperson, please get in contact with one of our course advisers. Access Training offer courses in plumbing, electric, gas and construction (plastering, tiling, carpentry and painting & decoration) and they'd be happy to answer any questions. You can contact them on 088 345 7492.

The accessories we buy may not be what they seem. Counterfeiting is big business, it is estimated that 10% of all world trade is counterfeit! In the UK that amounts to £30m of counterfeit electrical goods enter the supply chain.

Since 2000 15 million counterfeit products have been seized, mainly circuit breakers and wiring accessories. The vast majority of these counterfeit goods come from China, but some have been found to originate in Dubai and East Africa.

Counterfeit items are hard to spot, they may carry a well-known brand name and all the certification markings, the biggest difference may be the price! The items will not have under gone any form of testing, and they will not meet the required BS standards.

See the full article in Electrical Contracting News.

- Mark Jenkins

 

Mark Jenkins is the Electrical Course Development Manager here at Access Training. If you would like to learn more about electrical work and maintenance, you might want to consider one of the many electrical training courses we offer. These are available for both DIY enthusiasts AND people looking to gain the vital qualifications needed to make the career change to become an electrician. To find out more give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

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