All the staff at Access Training UK are genuinely sorry for the many staff at New Career Skills who have lost their jobs today after the company went into administration. Hundreds if not thousands of trainees will not be able to complete their plumbing and electrical training, and in a lot of cases may have lost their life savings as well.

Approximately twelve months ago we helped students from another training company that went into liquidation, and in some cases they managed to get the money back they had paid and complete their training in one of our training centres based throughout the country. If you are one of the many New Career Skills trainees who do not know where to turn please contact one of our trained advisors on 0800 345 7492.  They are here to advise you on what steps you can take. Alternatively, if you are a member of staff please feel free to contact us regarding positions we have available.

Now might just be the perfect time to make that career change and begin your construction training! Following on from the predictions that the construction industry will see a boom over the next four years, new survey results for quarter 3 2013 have found that the trade's recovery is well on the way.Construction Image

The construction trade survey, compiled by the Construction Products Association using data from the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, Construction Products Association, Federation of Master Builders, National Federation of Builders, National Specialist Contractors Council and the UK Contractors Group, found that activity rose for the second consecutive quarter. This growth came from across all areas of the industry with even more anticipated in the next 12 months.

After five years of difficult conditions for the construction industry, optimism is now rising as building contractors were reported to be the most positive since pre-recession 2007. 30% of specialist contactors reported that enquiries for new work rose this quarter, as well as 30% of civil engineering firms reporting a rise in order books.

However despite this it isn't all good news just yet. Rising costs are becoming a key issue, with manufacturers reporting that costs have risen over the last year. As well as citing wages as the key factor, the rising price of fuel, energy and raw materials are also responsible.

PlastererThere are two trades in particular that have had recruitment trouble - both of which we offer courses for here at Access. 34% of of firms reported difficulty recruiting bricklayers, while 32% also had a problem with plasterers. Both of these are the highest levels of difficulty reported since 2008, so those who may be considering plastering training or bricklaying courses have a clear gap in the market ahead of them. You can read more about the plastering and bricklaying courses we offer on the website.

Other key findings of the quarter three survey were:

  • 43% of building contractors, on balance, stated that activity rose in Q3, the second highest balance since 2007
  • Private new housing was the key driver of construction growth in Q3 with 22% of contractors, on balance, reporting that activity rose in Q3 compared with a year ago
  • Building contractor new orders reached their highest level since 2007
  • The most positive sector for new orders was public non-housing, which primarily covers education and health, with a balance of 9%
  • 49% of building contractors reported that costs rose in Q3, with labour costs and materials costs both contributing to the rise
  • A balance of 4% of building contractors reported that tender prices rose in Q3; however, with costs also rising, a balance of 11% reported that profit margins had continued to fall.

More information can be found via The Construction Index

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If you would like to find out more about the construction training courses we offer here at Access, which including carpentry, tiling and painting & decorating as well as the aforementioned brickwork and plastering, please get in contact with us on 0800345 7492 and our course advisers will be happy to tell you more. With a variety of flexible courses that will give you the necessary construction qualifications, Access Training is the best method to get the required skills fast without skimping on any of the quality.

A warning to homeowners of the risks involved in do-it-yourself electrical installations.

Napoleon once referred to Britain as 'a nation of shopkeepers'. Probably not true in modern society, but we still certainly a nation of something - do-it-yourselfers.

More and more people are willing to have a go at things they may have once thought impossible, taking regular visits to the local DIY shop to get parts for little jobs here and there or even working toward bigger projects such as renovating a room or building a conservatory. However, when it comes to plumbing, gas and electrical jobs, such concerns are better left to the professionals. Meaning those certified to carry out the work.

Jobs for an electrician

A homeowner can legally undertake basic electrical jobs themselves, such as installing an additional socket/light or connecting a cooker to an existing connection unit, but not much more than that. Anything more complicated like installing a new shower circuit or a new cooker circuit, legally requires a qualified electrician. If you have any DIY plans that require electrical work, it's always best to check what you are legally able to do before starting.

If you have any doubts on the legality or your capability to do the job safely in the first place, do NOT attempt it yourself and instead seek out the help of a qualified professional. Not only will you be ensuring that the job is done safely and properly, but you'll be saving yourself money in the long run. Hiring an electrician to fix a botched job usually ends up costing more than getting one out to do the job in the first place.

Building Regulations

District councils have responsibility for ensuring that any building works meet the national Building Regulations for efficiency, safety, design and disabled access. Building Regulations must be obtained from the local council before any structural alteration is made to a home. Such regulations are easier to obtain if the homeowner can prove they are going to be using a qualified electrician to undertake the work.

Part P qualified

A Part P qualified electrician is one who is able to sign off their own work in domestic properties. If they aren't qualified, then they'll have to approach the local authority building control to approve their work. This is something that all homeowners should bear in mind when they are looking to hire a qualified electrician.

Risks

It doesn't take much for electricity to kill. Forget numbers like 10,000 volts, the 230 volt domestic supply running through your home is more than enough. Our bodies use electrical signals to control our organs and any excess voltage will interfere with these, causing hearts and lungs to stop functioning and eventually death. Poorly installed electrics can very easily also start fires, resulting in home owners losing everything when their houses are burnt to the ground because of some faulty wiring. And if that work goes against building regulations, you may find the property is not insured and the insurance company is not legally obliged to reimburse them. On average, around 30 people die each year due to low voltage electrocutions and electrical burns. In addition, two and a half million people will receive a mains voltage electric shock every year, and 350,000 will receive a serious injury. Another 46 will die each year as an indirect result of faulty electrical wiring or the poor installation of electrical equipment.

Differing standards

The majority of contractors in the UK are reliable and are certified as such. To become a qualified electrician takes between three and five years of study. Some contractors may however pass themselves off as qualified, citing qualifications obtained in other EU countries. However, the standards in wiring differs across both the EU and the rest of the world, so what qualifies as a qualified electrician in one country is unlikely to be anywhere near the standard required in the UK.

Registers

To find an electrical contractor to undertake domestic tasks, the best place to start is often a register such as the Electrical Safety Register at www.electricalsafetyregister.com. Electricians who register with the Electrical Safety Register must meet a very high industry standard, which means that consumers who use an ESR registered contractor are guaranteed an exceptionally high standard of work. In addition, all work carried out by Electrical Safety Register contractors is guaranteed. Any deficiencies in the work carried out are resolved at no extra cost.

Kick out the Cowboys

Electricians with fake qualifications performing sub-standard work is a continuing problem in Britain. Despite their poor (and often dangerous) results, such workmen still expect to be paid for their work and can get heavy handed if refused, especially against the vulnerable. 
In an effort to show up shoddy workmanship, electrical wholesalers Gil-Lec has set up a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #KickOutCowboys. Anyone who provided poor electrical work can be named and shamed via the Twitter campaign. Twitter users are encouraged to post photographs of poor electrical work, coupled with the name of the individual or company who performed the work.

Via Electrical Contracting News

- Mark Jenkins

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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.

Specialist recruiter Randstad CPE has published new research that shows construction professionals are among the most fulfilled workers in the UK.

In a poll of 2000 workers from a wide variety of industries, it was found that the IT sector and similar ones such as human resources, legal and marketing had the highest level of professional fulfillment at 73%, but construction was following closely at 66%. In addition to this 13% of UK workers said said were unfulfilled in the workplace, as opposed to just 12% in construction alone.

This is rather impressive for an industry that has been struggling in recent years, and is finally seeing a turnout with a boom predicted over the next four years.

Owen Goodhead, managing director of Randstad CPE, said: "Improving levels of fulfilment further represents a massive opportunity for the sector. With higher professional fulfilment comes lower absenteeism and lower staff turnover."

The research also found that professional fulfillment is highest among those at either the start or end of their careers. 67% of 18 to 24 year olds feel fulfilled, along with 66% of those aged 55 and above.This then diminishes during the middle of people’s careers – the lowest proportion of those who feel fulfilled at work was among those aged 35 to 44 (57%).

"There are huge rewards in terms of fulfilment from keeping on older construction professionals, quite apart from the advantages of continuity and expertise," continued Goodhead. "But we also need to make sure we get plenty of young blood into the profession. At the moment, that's not happening. There's been a 20% growth in the construction workforce since the early 1990s, but that expansion has been uneven across different age groups.

"A major concern is the lack of young entrants into an ageing workforce, with numbers of workers aged 60 and over in the industry having doubled in recent years, while the number of those aged 24 and under has fallen by 27%. While the increasing age profile is most pronounced in the manual workforce, professional trades such as architecture, mechanical and civil engineering could also lose 20% of their manpower to retirement in the next 10 years, so the need for new, younger blood is pressing. If the sector continues to rely disproportionately on the middle-aged, there will be consequences. Our research shows a mid-career crisis is a very real phenomenon."

The research also reveals that women are more likely to be professionally fulfilled than men (17% versus 16%).

Goodhead added: "I don’t think it’s unfair to say construction is not renowned for its gender diversity – approximately 88% of construction project managers and related professionals are men. Our research suggests the gender imbalance may be holding the sector back and dragging professional fulfilment down – despite the fact the sector’s still more satisfied than average.

"To attract more women, the industry needs to offer flexible employment and provide working conditions that suit women. Out goes a culture of long hours, presenteeism and machismo – in comes more part-time employment and a greater attention to work-life balance."

The research was carried out as part of a wider study showing the fulfilment levels of Britain’s workers compared to the rest of Europe and the English-speaking world. Approximately 45,000 employees from the UK were interviewed as well as Britain’s English-speaking and European peers over the course of three years for its Fulfilment@Work report. The findings showed that British workers have had the lowest scores in nine out of the past 13 quarters when compared to European peers, including France and Germany, and nine out of the last 11 quarters when compared to English-speaking countries including the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Randstad has launched a campaign named How I Became, inspired by the real stories of real people who are fulfilled at work. A web hub contains films from people who work in a range of business sectors, providing key pieces of advice designed to help future candidates on their path to professional fulfilment.

Via HVP Magazine

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Feeling unfuilfilled in the workplace? Looking for a more physical and/or rewarding line of work? Have you considered changing careers for a fresh start in the construction industry? Here at Access Training Academies we provide high-quality intensive construction training in various trades (including bricklaying, carpentry, plastering, tiling and painting & decorating) to get you the skills and qualifications you need for a long and fulfilling career. To find out more contact our sales team on 0800 345 7492.

Via Construction Enquirer

Towards the end of September we wrote up a post revealing some of the horrific conditions the Health & Safety Executive had found construction sites in, and now they have returned with even more shocking images of what some workers are subject to.

The HSE are still compiling the final results of their tour across UK building sites (which ran over the course of September), but their initial figures have ALREADY shown that nearly half the sites they visited had some sort of serious safety failing.

This alarmingly high rate has promoted the Unite union to call for increased funding in order for the HSE to carry out more site inspections.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: "The HSE's spot checks throughout September are proof that the Executive needs more capacity and funding.

"The extent of the breaches uncovered also shows why trade union health and safety committees are so important in the construction industry and why we need more.

"The ending of the spot checks will be manna from heaven for the worst employers and unfair to employers who work with unions to get it right. The government’s attack on health and safety must be reversed."

Below is the latest batch of pictures released by the HSE:

Wheeled scaffolding precariously balanced at this site.

This site seems to have absolutely no regard for electrical safety.

Would you use this ladder at the top of a four lift scaffold?

I would hardly call this support adequate.

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