The Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering (CIPHE) have joined forces with BSE sector skills council SummitSkills to launch a research project exploring various aspects of the plumbing and heating sector.

The main area being explored by the project is the current apprenticeship system, specifically how EngTech registrations are working and how both can be maximised for the sector. Considering attitudes towards professional registration and competence schemes, assessing the potential for apprenticeships to meet future skills requirements and understanding the perceived value of EngTech registration are included within the research objectives.

Research will be carried out via a series of focus groups and questionnaires to be completed over the next few weeks, culminating with a report launching in the House of Lords next month.

"This is an excellent initiative which provides a great opportunity for industry to collaborate and safeguard future apprenticeships," said Kevin Wellman, Chief Executive Officer of the CIPHE. "Quality vocational training and relevant practical experience leading to Engineering Council registration is becoming increasingly important for all plumbing professionals, which is something that all our Industry Stakeholder Group partners recognise."

For more information on the research, contact Jacqui Chivers of Summit Skills on 07834 868947.

Competent Person Electrical Register

After much deliberation on what can be done to ensure consumers are hiring safe and qualified tradespeople to carry out work in their homes, the Select Committee on Building Regulations has announced that a single Competent Person Electrical Register is ready to go live. The decision was made following a recommendation made by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, with the register set to officially go live on June 30th.

Is it mandatory to join the competent person electrical register? 

This marks a similar move to the long-standing Gas Safe Register, joining which is a legal requirement of all gas engineers operating in the United Kingdom. However, joining the Competent Person Electrical Register is not mandatory, making it similar to the plumbing equivalent Water Safe. The move to create a single register was welcomed by existing Competent Person Scheme brands ELECSA and NICEIC. Although both put forward positive recommendations and supported parts of the report, they also felt some points were not explored thoroughly and "did not reflect the true state of the industry".

Under building regulations Part P, all fixed domestic electrical installations must be suitably installed, tested and inspected to ensure that they are in safe working order. Without achieving a Part P certificate and joining a Competent Person scheme, electricians are required by law to have their work independently verified by an external inspector.

When the scheme (full name: Registered Competent Person Electrical) goes live on June 30th, all full scope Part P electricians in England and Wales will be added automatically by their provider and encouraged to use the logo as a symbol of their qualification. An official launch event will then follow on the 2nd of July in the Palace of Westminster. Minister for Communities and Local Government, Stephen Williams MP, will give a keynote speech to a wide array of key industry stakeholders and MPs, alongside NAPIT Group Chief Executive Officer, Michael Andrews and Chief Executive Officer of Certsure, Emma Clancy.

Clancy commented that the new website, will "become the one stop shop for consumers looking to hire an electrician to carry out work in their home."

Attaining a Part P certificate and joining a Competent Person Scheme is a vital part of becoming a domestic electrician, and something we can fully prepare you for here at Access Training.

Whether its part of a more intensive electrician course or the single qualification you're looking for, our experienced tutors will guide you through everything you need to know to reach this important step in your career. To speak to one of our course advisers and find out more give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

It's more good news for the construction industry as the Government begins to move forward with £36 billion of planned infracture investment between 2014 and 2015 - potentially supporting over 150,000 jobs.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osbourne paid a joint visit to a Skansa site yesterday to promote the measure, which will see 200 projects rail, road, local transport, flood defences, broadband, airport infrastructure and waste management start construction. In addition to this, nearly 200 infrastructure projects will see completion this year. The £36bn investment consists of £5bn public money, £21bn in private cash and £10bn in joint investment.

A full list of the projects can be found here.

Cameron said: "Ensuring Britain has first class infrastructure is a crucial part of our long term economic plan: supporting business, creating jobs and providing a better future for hardworking people.

"As a crucial part of our long-term economic plan, this government is backing business with better infrastructure so that more jobs and opportunities are created for hardworking people, meaning more financial security and peace of mind for families.

Osborne added: "Because of the tough decisions we have taken in day to day spending, we can prioritise public investment where it is most needed and create the right conditions for private investment in infrastructure where it brings value for the taxpayer.

“So this year over 200 new projects worth an estimated £36 billion are due to start, creating thousands of jobs, securing future growth and delivering the world class infrastructure Britain deserves."

More jobs means more opportunity, and more opportunity means an even better reason why now is the time to re-train and take up a career in the construction industry. With on ongoing economic boom raising the demand for qualified bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, tilers and more, wages have also reached an all-time high. Some areas in the UK even reported bricklayers earning upwards of £100,000 a year! If you've been looking to for a more challenging and active career, now is the time to take the bull by the horns.

But first you'll need the proper skills and qualifications for the job, something we can help you with here at Access Training. Offering intensive training courses in all of the popular trades, our expertise will guide you through everything you need to know for your brand new career. To find out more and speak to a member of our course advice team please give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.

Via Construction Enquirer

With the construction trade experiencing significant growth over the last financial quarter, economists are forecasting a huge boom for the industry over the next four years. Obviously that makes it the perfect time to locate a suitable construction training course, get qualified and start a new career ready for this influx of work. But is this recession-worn Britain ready for the boom? Do we have enough quality construction training courses ready, or even enough interest generated for new recruits?

The construction industry has only just gotten itself out of a worker shortage, and the plastering and bricklaying trades are still struggling with recruitment. This also ties in with another problem the industry have, which is that a majority of the construction workforce is due to retire within the next 5-10 years. So we have a forecasted growth in output, a bulk of the workforce set to retire and trouble with recruiting new workers...no wonder the situation has been referred to as a "ticking time bomb" by some!

The first thing the UK needs to do is generate interest amongst young people. We've all heard the stories about university degrees not getting people very far in life so maybe it's time to give construction training a chance. Younger people need to be encouraged to take up a more physical career in the industry, and sold upon its strong points rather than put off by some of the stereotypes that go with it. Better pushing of the skills you learn, the variety of work and the rewards that come with it are sure to interest people, beginning them on their new career path and solving the problem of the retiring workforce.

That's the time bomb problem solved in the long run, but the industry is also working to a pretty strict deadline. People are retiring every day and construction demand is continuously rising - so we need skilled workers fast. There's plenty of construction training offered by college courses across the country, but two to three years is a long time to wait and their facilities are often lacking because resources are spread thinly across so many different areas. Intensive construction courses are the answer to this problem, offering the same level of skill and expertise (if not better), in only a fraction of the time. With centres entirely dedicated to construction training, students will also know that the focus is always on exactly what they're getting.

Take Access Training for example. Bricklaying, plastering, tiling, carpentry and painting/decorating all under one roof, with each one taught by an experienced professional. You can train in one trade, or even try your hand at them all with our tailor-made multiskills courses. And if you get the qualifications in your chosen trade and want to come back for more, we make it simply to continue on your training experience and build up your skillset even further.

So there we have it, some very crucial problems the construction industry faces before its big boom can get going properly, and some very obvious solutions to them. To find out more about Access' range of construction training and to book your place, please get in contact with one of our course advisers on 0800 345 7492 today.

Leading economists have forecasted that the construction industry will enter a period of rapid and sustained growth over the next four years, enjoying an impressive 19% increase by 2017.

This estimation comes from the Construction Products Association, who expect the £20 billion expansion to be led by an increase in housing, energy and transport infrastructure. The new forecast comes following a notable rise in the housing industry over the summer, which has led economists to abandon their previous expectations.

Noble Francis, Economics Director of the CPA, said: "Construction is set to enjoy growth over the next four years as it recovers from its worst recession in over 35 years. This is mainly due to private housing, which is experiencing a rapid rise, and infrastructure, which is seeing a more gradual return to positive territory."

"The private housing sector is being driven by recovery in the wider economy and the impacts of policies including Help to Buy, which have driven both house prices and house building. This is expected to lead to private house starts increasing 19.0% in 2013 and 15.0% in 2014, albeit from historic low levels of house building.

"Although rapid growth is predicted over the next 18 months, uncertainty remains around what will happen when the policies end, given that the housing market is unlikely to be self-sustaining by then."

He explained that the infrastructure sector was still recovering from a difficult 2012, where output fell 12.7% despite the government announcing boosts to it.

"Government now appears, however, to be refocusing capital investment towards repairs and renewals. In addition, work on Europe’s largest construction project, Crossrail, is expected to peak over the next 18 months. As a result, growth of 7.4% is forecast in 2014.

"In the longer-term, the prospects for infrastructure will be reliant upon investment in the replacement of energy capacity across nuclear, offshore wind, gas and shale, all of which remain uncertain. Driven by this investment, we predict the sector will enjoy further growth of 27.9% between 2015 and 2017."

But despite this forecasted increase, other key sectors will apparently continue to struggle. Work in the largest sector of commercial (offices and retail) remains one-third lower than its high in 2007, while public sector construction, which accounts for one-third of total industry output, continues to constrain overall growth.

"After suffering from an extremely tough market for over five years, and acting as a drag on UK economic activity, construction is set to grow every year between 2014 and 2017. This should provide a considerable boost to the wider economy," said Francis.

Via Construction Enquirer

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With a construction boom on the way, now is the perfect time to take up a new career in the construction industry. But whichever sector you decide to go in, you'll need the right skills and qualifications - which is where an Access Academies training course comes in. At our state-of-the-art Cardiff centre we off intensive courses in carpentry, bricklaying, plastering, tiling and painting & decorating - all with accredited qualifications to give your new career the boost it needs. For more information on what's on offer get in contact with one of our course advisors by calling 0800 345 7492.

The Government has sparked more frustration from industry members as it announced yet another delay to the start of the long-awaited Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

The scheme, which was designed to encourage renewable heating systems to be installed in domestic properties and offer money towards those who have fitted renewable heating products, was meant to launch this Autumn but has now been pushed back until Spring 2014.

Greg Barker, the Energy and Climate Change Minister, said: "The RHI, which has been available for non-domestic investors for over a year, is a key part of our approach to cutting carbon and driving forward the move to more sustainable low carbon heating alternatives."

"We remain committed to introducing an incentive scheme for householders too, and have set out an updated timetable for its launch alongside new plans to extend our renewable heat voucher scheme in the meantime."

However this isn't enough for many leading industry members, who have vocally expressed their disappointment at the delay. Jim Moore, of leading heating and boiling manufacturers the Vaillant Group has said: "The Government now needs to deliver on its latest deadline to assist in stimulating increased uptake of renewables in the UK as has been demonstrated as effective in so many European markets."

Elsewhere, chief executive of the Micropower Council Dave Sowden has commented: "Taken with the delay in confirmed the next steps of the 'zero carbon homes' policy, the announcement is forcing the industry to question whether the Coalition is serious about promoting domestic renewable heat during this Parliament."

Coinciding with this announcement was also an action plan looking at the potential to cut emissions from heat across the whole of the UK economy. It focuses on a number of key actions in an attempt to spur on the move to low carbon heating alternatives and drive forward green growth. These include;

  • A £9 million package to help local authorities get heat network schemes up and running in towns and cities across the country, with a new Heat Networks Delivery Unit to sit within the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) providing expert advice.
  • £1 million for Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and Nottingham to help them develop heat networks.
  • 100 green apprenticeships to be funded primarily for young people in small scale renewable technologies.
  • Up to £250,000 for a new first-come-first-served voucher scheme for heating installers to get money off the cost of renewable heating kit installation training, with up for £500 or 75% of the cost of the training per person.
  • Working with individual industrial sectors to design long-term pathways to cut carbon across UK industry.