British builders’ merchant, Travis Perkins, has put plans to sell their plumbing and heating business on hold, citing the uncertainty of Brexit as a deciding factor.

The move comes amid a strategic run of cost-cutting by the firm and a conscious move simplify their overall portfolio.

However, the impending precariousness of the economic climate in the UK has evidently caused the FTSE 250 company to alter their game plan in favour of a more prudent approach.

 

plumbing news, business sale

 

Still on Course

Despite halting their plans to sell the plumbing and heating arm of the business, Travis Perkins is said to remain on course to achieve their cost reductions for 2019.

A statement from Travis Perkins confirmed that the upshot of these reductions would allow the company to “reduce complexity, lower the above-branch cost base and speed up decision making, and improve service levels for customers”.

 

Award-Winning Businesses

Travis Perkins had originally announced the sale plans in December 2018 with a likely deal announced by their board in July. However, it appears those plans have since fallen through and the plumbing and heating business appears set to remain under the Travis Perkins umbrella indefinitely.

The division includes the likes of FPC wholesale, PTS Plumbing Trade Supplies and plumbing merchant City Plumbing Supplies, the latter of which was awarded the title of “Heating & Plumbing Merchant of the Year” at the Builders' Merchants Awards for Excellence 2018.

 

Learn a Trade with Access Training UK

With the current political outlook for the UK described by Travis Perkins as posing “unprecedented level of uncertainty”, the move to future-proof careers has never been more timely.

Luckily, for those in the plumbing and heating trade, theirs is a vital service necessary for daily life and, as a result is one profession that is unlikely to be affected too severely.

What’s more, a shortage of skilled workers in this area has actually made it a very lucrative career path in recent years and one that is unlikely to be too seriously affected by a political shift.

At Access Training UK, we offer a variety of plumbing and heating courses for anyone looking to make the jump into this trade.

Whether you’re a total newbie with no prior knowledge or a seasoned veteran looking to sharpen your skills, we have the course for you.

To find out more about our range of gas and plumbing courses, click one of the links below for more information.

 

Gas Courses                                 Plumbing Courses

 

If you would like to know more about switching careers or upskilling with Access Training UK, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 0800 345 7492 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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Returning for its fifth year, the UK Plumber of the Year competition will reach its climax next month, as a new king is crowned.

A joint venture of JT, Bristan and Wolseley UK, the competition has grown in popularity year-on-year since its launch in 2015.

This year was no different with applicants from across the UK throwing their hat into the ring with hopes of becoming Plumber of the Year.

 

plumber of the year, plumber of the year 2019

 

The Final Countdown

From an original shortlist of 10 candidates, the field has been whittled down to just five remaining finalists as a result of a public vote.

The final five include:

  • Christopher Clare – Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside
  • Paul Clark – The Wirral, Merseyside
  • Caine Curtis – Yeovil, Somerset
  • Dan Tempest – Pontefract, West Yorkshire
  • Martin Warnes – Harwich, Essex

The five nominees will now go on to the grand finale, set to take place next month.

 

A Hot Pot

This year’s Plumber of the Year prize pot consists of a variety of industry perks, including £2000 worth of items from JT, £2000 worth of vouchers to be spent at Wolseley and £1000 worth of products from Bristan.

Bristan is also throwing in their new Rapid 4in-1 Boiling Water Tap and, yes, they’re even including the kitchen sink – quite literally.

The top prize also features a variety of other perks, from Apple products courtesy of Vendigo Finance to a beer-centric getaway from Cornwall’s Proper Job beer.

 

A New King

Last year’s final was won by Steve Bartin from Taunton, who walked away with the title and his part of a prize pot totalling £10,000.

Speaking at the time, Bartin said: “It’s an honour to call myself the UK Plumber of the Year. I’ve been in the industry for 23 years and I feel like all those extra hours and dedication have paid off.”

In one month’s time, that honour will fall to a new plumbing king when one of the final five is crowned the 2019 winner.

 

Pipe Dreams

The Plumber of the Year award is a great way to recognise trade excellence and for the plumbers themselves to gain some well-deserved recognition from industry and public alike.

Many of these finalists and past winners will have started out with little to no experience at all yet, through heart, drive and determination, have made it to the top of the trade.

If you are looking to start your journey into the world of plumbing or simply looking to sharpen your skills and add a few strings to your bow, why not take a plumbing course with Access Training UK?

Our wide range of courses caters to all experience levels, with each one designed to help you learn and grow into a better plumber and skilled professional.

Who knows, in a few years’ time, you too could find yourself in the finals of the Plumber of the Year! Every journey starts with a single step, so make yours now with Access Training UK.

 

For more information on plumbing courses from Access Training UK, call now on 0800 345 7492 or get in touch online using the link below.

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How to be a plumber

 

Is it possible to become a plumber while working?

Yes, it is - with part-time and intensive plumbing courses from Access Training. Our accredited training programmes allow you to learn around your current commitments, whether that means work, family, or other obligations.

Quitting your job and diving headlong into a totally new career is terrifying, and not necessarily a very smart move. If, for instance, you want to leave your desk job behind and become a professional plumber, you'll have to do quite a bit of training before you can actually start earning money. So if you hand in your notice before you've even enrolled on a training course, there'll be a significant gap in your income between the end of your old career and the start of your new one.

But what if, instead of quitting your job in order to train as a plumber, you could complete your training while still working your current job? Suddenly, figuring out how to be a plumber doesn't seem like such a daunting task that requires you make lots of sacrifices! 

The 'traditional' route to becoming a qualified plumber is to undertake a college course/apprenticeship and learn over a number of years. Our courses take dramatically less time to complete, meaning that you can enrol in a course, learn your new trade, and get qualified before you take the plunge and tell your office that you're leaving for pastures new.

Benefits of learning while working

Here are a few reasons why it's usually better to train while continuing with your current job:

  • No loss of income between quitting and starting your new career
  • No need to let down your current commitments/obligations
  • Get qualified faster (compared to standard college courses)

If you're interested in enrolling on to an Access Training plumbing course and training while you work, please contact us now for more information.

Browse all plumbing courses >

The path to becoming a plumber, or any type of tradesperson for that matter, is traditionally seen as being long and limited: several years of training as an apprentice alongside a professional whose main interest is the job at hand (and not the eager apprentice looking over their shoulder). This image, some might feel, isn't particularly inspiring, and might even deter people from pursuing a trade career. However, this model is not the only way, nor is it the best way, of becoming a professional tradesperson.

Here at Access Training, we offer intensive plumbing courses in a professional and private training centre where the main focus is on teaching, rather than working, and your chances of learning how to do quality work quickly are far higher. Not only that, but our intensive courses are much shorter and more efficient, giving you a range of experience in a matter of weeks, rather than years.

We understand that some might approach a fast-track course offered by a private training college such as Access Training with suspicion - after all, how can a trade, something traditionally considered to require years of experience, be taught to a high enough standard in only a matter of weeks?

At first glance, it certainly seems implausible, but when you take a closer look into what the old-style apprenticeship process actually consists of, you might be inclined to think otherwise...

5 Reasons Why You Should Choose a Fast-Track Course

1) It takes less time.

This might go without saying, but a fast-track course takes far less time than an apprenticeship and the advantage of this is phenomenal.

Not only does it save you several years of valuable time, but it also means that you can begin working and earning much sooner. In the time it takes to complete a full apprenticeship, you could earn back the investment you made for a private training course ten times over!

2) It produces better results.

The feedback we receive from the companies who employ our students is largely supportive of the fast-track system. They claim that students trained on fast-track courses retain more information than those who have been training in apprenticeships for years.

Students are excited and enthused by their quick development on the fast-track course and are able to capitalise on this, increasing their employability, whereas those who have spent years as apprentices might have become less enthusiastic about their occupation.

In other words, you're more likely to still want to do the job after a fast-track course than an apprenticeship.

3) It involves intensive learning.

Back in the days of apprenticeships, the main style of learning was through observation, and very little else. For example, an aspiring plumber would have to spend a few hours a week following a qualified plumber from job to job, usually doing menial tasks like making tea and carrying tools.

Old style apprenticeships took years because the majority of time was spent shadowing the qualified worker and learning very slowly, not by experience or practice.

A fast-track course constantly involves learning about theory and is very hands-on, so that the skills you learn are put into immediate practice.

In a week, every single day on any trades course would be entirely dedicated to learning everything you need to know about that particular trade, instead of it being slowly drip-fed to you over a number of years.

4) The teacher's focus is on you.

In a typical apprenticeship scenario, the professional worker will most likely be focusing very little on the young aspiring apprentice eagerly looking over their shoulder. Rather, they will be concentrating on the job at hand, wanting to get it done to a high standard and in the shortest time possible.

Training to be a plumber

As a professional who might have years of experience in the trade, any questions the apprentice would have might seem tedious and are likely to be either ignored or not answered in full. As a result, very little is actually learnt.

However, in a private college, the tutors' jobs require them to do exactly the opposite: to ensure that the students are fully equipped with the knowledge and skills they need in order to become skilled professionals. They are patient with newcomers, willing to fully explain theories and ready to take time to demonstrate procedures.

It's no surprise that apprenticeships take so long to complete - the difference is enormous.

5) You'll still get 'on-site' experience.

One possible argument to be made against fast-track courses is that they don't provide 'on-site experience' in the same way that apprenticeships do.

However, this can only be a good thing. On-site experience of the kind provided by apprenticeships still involves little or no practical or theory training, and is, in essence, quite useless - one might as well pay a visit to a construction site and watch the builders working.

However, as a privately-funded company, Access Training has the necessary resources to provide excellent facilities that are designed to simulate real working environments. Bathrooms, radiators, boilers and walls are among a variety of home appliances and structures you will be practising on during your course, in which the skills you learn can be put to immediate good use and be quickly developed as a result.

This style of teaching creates an effective fusion between having practical experience and essential knowledge.

Although apprenticeships are still considered as being the natural step on the route to a traditional working life, they are becoming increasingly a thing of the past: an inefficient, rusting machine in a new age of development.

A fast-track course is the best way to ensure workers are enthusiastic and skilled professionals by the end of their training. Enquire today about a course at Access Training - our professional course advisers will be guide you in the right direction.


One of the great advantages that comes from training as a plumber, is the flexibility and availability of the work on offer, a benefit that has been enjoyed by many of the individuals who have previously completed our range of plumbing courses. If you're considering a career in plumbing, or if you're thinking about leaving your current job for a new profession, you'll want to gain a thorough understanding of the options available to you before you commit to a training path. To help you gain an understanding of the level of training we offer, we've included some testimonials from our previous students, which highlight the opportunities they have managed to secure since completing their training with us:

My plumbing business is going from strength to strength. I've had a dramatic change in fortune since leaving the Post Office! 
Lee Taylor 

As you can see from the statement above, it is possible to begin your career as a plumber from a completely unrelated starting point, which means that there is no call for previous experience before starting the course. It also gives you the chance to work in an industry with countless opportunities to work on a self-employed basis, as well as to start your own business. This goes to show that our training courses do not simply take you from one job to another, but are able to completely transform your work life for the better.

I had no previous experience of plumbing before, but the course simulates real life situations and the tutors are so helpful that I feel totally confident in my work. Being a self employed plumber is the best job I've ever done.
Steven Walker 

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages that comes from completing our courses, is the style and quality of the teaching on offer, which allows you to gain industry required qualifications as well a thorough understanding of the practical requirements of the job. As Stephen notes, the guidance he received whilst completing his course allowed him to have total confidence in his abilities when he went on to peruse his professional career, so much so that he was eventually able to start his own business:

I simply wouldn't have been able to start my business without Access Training. I can't praise the company enough, my plumbing business is growing, it's been going for 18 months now and I've employed two people from Access Training who did the same course as me!
Steven Walker 

Stephen's second statement also highlights another advantage of completing our courses, which is the fact that it allows you to make useful contacts in your fellow candidates. Whether you go on to seek employment with an existing company or with a view to starting your own business, it is always incredibly useful to have trustworthy contacts who can help you find employment, and support you on the road to success.

To read more testimonials from our plumbing courses, or one of the many other areas we cover here at Access Training, click here.

Recently, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors reported a shortage in the amount of trained plumbers in the UK, signalling an obvious opening for a fresh group of ambitious candidates who are keen to train in this field. In order to keep up with the demand for skilled professionals in the workplace, and to cater to the various needs of our candidates, we have devised a range of plumbing courses to suit a variety of abilities and requirements.

Essential Plumbing Course

Of all our plumbing courses, this is the option that best suits absolute beginners! Designed for individuals with little to no experience in the field, our Essential Plumbing Course is a fantastic way to gain a foundational understanding of plumbing work, upon which to build a prosperous new career. From fitting radiators to installing hot/cold water storage tanks, this course will give you an understanding of the essential aspects of plumbing work, allowing you to achieve a City and Guilds qualification as evidence of your achievements. Most importantly, you will learn how to perform all of these tasks safely, making it a great starting point for further training.

Professional Plumbing Course

If you're looking to cover a more comprehensive range of plumbing skills, then our Professional Plumbing Course is ideal. Like all of our plumbing courses, it is designed to suit the needs of individuals with no previous experience whatsoever, making it an ideal choice for both beginners and candidates with some previous knowledge of plumbing. Allowing you to train on a full or part-time basis, this course is both efficient and flexible to the needs of the individual. By the end of your training, you will have achieved four accredited qualifications, putting you on track to begin your new career as a professional plumber. 

Premier Plumbing Course

The most encompassing and advanced of all our plumbing courses, this training programme is ideal for candidates who wish to begin their career as a professional plumber and heating engineer. As part of our Premier Plumbing Course, you will gain gas and electrical qualifications as well as those in plumbing, enabling you to join the Gas Safe register and undertake a greater number of jobs. Despite the advanced nature of the course, it is still open and tailored to individuals with no experience in plumbing, as well as those who are simply looking to update their existing knowledge. On completion of the course, a successful candidate will have obtained six recognised qualifications, making it the perfect choice for those who wish to begin or resume their professional careers right away.

For more information about our plumbing courses, browse the selection here, or get in touch with us today.

This year, the United Kingdom has been facing its biggest skills shortage for a generation. There are huge talent gaps across a number of professions, including bricklaying and plumbing.

The scarcity of plumbers is now having large repercussions as we enter the winter months; not only are a number of construction firms having to cancel or delay new projects, a number of private firms are finding themselves unable to cope with the increased demand for plumbing maintenance and repair this winter. The country’s shortage of plumbers (combined with the increase in sick leave that’s to be expected at this time of year) is leaving older/vulnerable people without heating and hot water for extended periods of time.

In Sunderland this week, a diabetic pensioner went for 40 hours without heating or hot water because an emergency repair team was unable to cope with demand. It is reported that they had 10 emergency plumbers that were supposed to be working over the weekend; however, seven of the ten plumbers were off because of illness. This is not an isolated case, nor is it a regional shortage. This scenario is common throughout the whole of the United Kingdom.

The current skills shortage means that people who are willing to gain the skills to become a qualified plumber are getting heavily rewarded for their work. Fully qualified plumbers can earn between £1,200 and £1,800 a week, and because of the skills shortage, there is no shortage of work available. In short: there has never been a better time to enrol on a plumbing training course and gain the qualifications needed to become a professional plumber.

We at Access Training offer a large variety of trade training courses, from plumbing courses for people who have no or limited plumbing experience through to courses designed for professional plumbers looking to refresh their knowledge or to gain extra skills.

So, no matter where you live, what your circumstances are, or what your experience level is, we are confident that we have the perfect course for you.

Click here to view our plumbing training courses.

Recent research has been conducted over in the US into the difference in efficiency of hard and soft water and the subsequent impact on plumbing and heating systems.

The study has been conducted by the Water Quality Association, which recorded the drop in efficiency caused by hard water in both stored and tankless gas water heaters. The study found that for every 86ppm (parts per million) of hardness in the water (with 150ppm the common measure of hard water) there was a resultant drop in the efficiency of the systems of 4 per cent when using 190 litres a day.

So for those living in hard water areas the reduction in efficiency could amount to just under 10 per cent, whilst individuals in very hard water areas could experience a decrease in efficiency of 20 per cent. The research also found that hard water and subsequent build up of lime scale could damage water heaters, leading some to fail in less than two years.

This inefficiency increases energy bills, which many households are struggling to pay with the economy in such a sad state. There are however some excellent systems on the market that can protect your hot water systems from limescale and corrosion and increase the efficiency of the system along with its likely lifespan.

Most of these soft water systems use a patented zinc sacrificial anode system, which releases and combines zinc ions and calcium/magnesium ions together to from aragonite, which is a non-adhering lime. Once treated the water is perfectly drinkable and still contains the natural minerals that occur in water naturally.

To learn the latest techniques used by plumbers and to achieve the qualifications you need to get ahead in the industry, plumbing training here at Access ensures courses that fit around your existing schedule, with pass rates for many of our courses exceeding 95%. Call us on 0800 345 7492 for further information.

Speak to any experienced plumber and they’ll always have a plumbing disaster story to share.  Plumbing, by its very nature is just waiting for a disaster to happen.  From the blocked drain ready to spew out onto the street to the sneaky little drip that suddenly becomes a collapsed ceiling and thousands of pounds worth of damage, plumbing is one professional that could never be called dull!

If you’ve been considering plumbing training there are many courses that will give you all the knowledge you need to help avert and deal with disasters.  When plumbing goes bad it can go really bad and your skills could help to prevent further damage and devastation.  Whether you decide to specialise in a particular area or you simply want to learn some basics to get you started, a professional plumbing course is the best way to pick up the skills you need. 

Modern plumbing systems are becoming more complex in nature.  This isn’t usually down to the components changing, but more our needs and preferences changing.  For example, rain showers that are plumbed into the wall are all the rage right now, but if fitted incorrectly could cause a lot of damage if a leak starts.  That’s why an experienced and fully qualified plumber is worth their weight in gold.  Whilst many plumbing jobs can be handled as a DIY project, it’s the more advanced jobs that require the services of a professional and this is where you could come in very handy. 

Be That Knight in Shining Armour

If you’re considering a change in career, there are many entry-level plumbing courses available resulting in an industry qualification such as City & Guilds.   Those looking to change career, brush up their skills, or simply learn more for DIY projects around the home will find a course run by an accredited centre invaluable.  What you learn in one day could equate to more than you have ever learnt from books or online and you’ll be learning in a structured way. 

Plumbers looking to advance in other skills or becoming fully qualified can also take a lot away from plumbing training.  Gas training and renewable energy training are just some of the areas you can take specialist training in.  Simply by holding some professional qualifications you make your services more desirable and instantly command more trust and respect from customers. 

There are so many benefits to learning a trade.  Whether you choose to work for another company or go it alone, people are always going to require the services of a plumber.  At Access we take great pride in our range of plumbing training courses and we’d be delighted to help you on the road to a rewarding and exciting new career.  Take a look at our course options or give our team a call on 0800 345 7492.  We can tell you all about the most suitable plumbing courses and if you want to get started, we can get you enrolled right away.

Before, during and after plumbing training courses you’re likely to hear an awful lot about how plumbing is a ‘recession-proof profession’. True, no matter how desperate a country’s finances get, somebody will always need to be there to fix leaks and handle plumbing crises, but is plumbing really totally unaffected by the recession?

To be perfectly frank, no industry has been completely unaffected by the recession, yet plumbing is bearing up far, far better than many. It is becoming a little more difficult to get started on the career ladder but, once you’re in there, things look good for the time being.

Yet one problem with an unstable economy is that it is very difficult to predict what is next. With that in mind, how can you work to guard your plumbing future against an extremely uncertain economic outlook? In this article we’ll be taking a look at a few steps you can take to make your plumbing career truly recession-proof to help you get ahead when everything seems to be going under!

Diversify

In many areas you’ll find that emergency call out plumbers are everywhere. If this is true for your local area, it’s time to offer something different. Equally, if your local market is inundated with fittings and alternations specialists, take some time to assess supply and demand and then stretch yourself!

One of the best ways to diversify is to learn skills which few others in your industry have. Invest in yourself by enrolling on plumbing training courses which will equip you for less ‘run-of-the-mill’ projects and you’ll find yourself in demand, even if things get really difficult. Access offer an extremely broad range of plumbing training courses including:

•    City & Guilds Bathroom Fitting Plumbing Courses
•    Water Regulations (WRAS) Certificate (BPEC/WRAS Level 2)
•    Unvented Hot Water Systems Certificate (BPEC Unvented G3 Certificate)
•    & many more

Look forward

A little bit of foresight can go a long way. Over the coming decade renewable energy is going to be the bandwagon every plumber wants to be on, yet getting ahead of the curve, getting the plumbing training you need, building up experience and establishing a reputation as a great solar thermal or ground source heat pump expert right now could stand you in very good stead very soon!

Don’t overlook the basics

Whilst diversifying and looking forward are important, it is vital that you do not lose touch with the roots of your profession. After all, one of the key things which makes plumbing such a recession-resistant profession is that there is always demand for plumbing basics. The bread and butter of the plumbing industry is enough to sustain many through nasty economic times.


Yet it isn’t necessarily as simple as offering basic plumbing services. If you want to make your living from this type of plumbing work, you need to gain respect, trust and a strong client base. The only way to do that is through hard grind, a positive attitude and a great service your customers will come back for time and time again.

If you’d like to learn more about offering the very best plumbing service, Access’s plumbing training courses can help you be the best you can be. Hone your skills whatever your level of ability or experience, pick up the plumbing skills of the future or learn niche techniques to allow you to diversify.

To learn more about how Access plumbing training courses can help you to recession-proof your plumbing career, please explore the rest of the site or speak to one of our experts today on 0800 345 7492.

It’s time to say goodbye to knot tying, stamp collecting and campfire building – the Scouts are now chasing down a new generation of badges for their uniforms. From P.R. and plumbing training to electrical rewiring and aeronautics, Scouts “2.0” are now offering awards in hands-on practical life skills which will equip their members for working life, apprenticeships and University.

It appears that it isn’t necessarily scout leaders who are pushing these changes – the numbers of scouts choosing practical awards like plumbing training, compared to the numbers choosing to pursue more traditional badges for activities like angling,  are very revealing. There seems to be real drive amongst young scouts to gather skills which will set them in good stead in their adult lives.

Here are a few revealing figures from the latest data:

  • 42,888 I.T. badges were awarded to beavers, cubs and scouts in 2011
  • 10,750 fire safety badges were awarded to scouts over the last year
  • Just 588 caving badges and 962 angling badges were awarded to scouts in the same period

Whilst it’s great to see young people taking control of their own futures, some may feel nostalgic for the days when being a scout was all about fun, wholesome outdoors activities like orienteering, hill walking and camping. Whilst it’s absolutely great to get a head start with your career and really explore your options, there is plenty of time to enrol on plumbing training courses or pursue a career in P.R..

Interestingly, 2011 was also the year in which the number of new female scouts exceeded the male scouts. 4,330 new girl scouts were enrolled last year, compared to 3,796 new boy scouts. It is tempting to see this as a real positive change which could have great consequences for equality and diversity in the once male-dominated trades.

If you’re a little too old for the scouts and want to really make a good start on a plumbing training course, Access Training offer flexible, City & Guilds accredited plumbing training to equip you for a bright future as plumber. If you’d like to learn more about our plumbing training, please browse the rest of the website or call our knowledgeable team on 0800 345 7492 today.

Fresh research in the Builders and Plumbers’ Merchants’ Market report shows that it is still a great time to begin plumbing training. Many candidates may have been nervous about entering a career and starting plumbing training during a time of economic turbulence, yet these new facts and figures show that, despite a downturn when the recession bit, the plumbing industry is still flourishing. In fact in 2010 the market recovered and this recovery has held firm throughout 2011.

The report also highlighted many things which prospective plumbing training candidates should know about before entering their trade. More so than ever before, the plumbing industry is directly influenced by how well the UK building and construction sectors perform. When times are hard for those involved in new-build, maintenance, improvement and repair projects, plumbers are likely to suffer too.

It appears that the old beliefs about plumbing still hold true, even when times are hard. If you have a good trade under your belt, you could well find that you are in demand even when money is tight across the country. If you are considering enrolling on a plumbing training course, it looks like this really in a trade for life.

To learn more about the plumbing industry, or to enrol on a high-quality City & Guilds acreddited plumbing training course, get in touch with Access today. Their experts understand the industry inside out and offer courses designed to equip budding plumbers with the skills they need to work in the trades in the 21st century. Access plumbing training courses are both flexible and highly regarded, to find out more browse the rest of the website or contact their team today on 0800 345 7492.