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From Solicitor to Plumber: How people are retraining to cope during the coronavirus pandemic

ITV News, 24th September 2020

Access Training is being featured on an ITV Tonight special programme presented by Robert Peston titled, ‘Can We Save Our Jobs’, investigating the prospects of life after furlough. The programme, as you will see, highlights the trials and tribulations of the last 6 months of furlough: the stress of having no work, the strain of having to provide for your family, and the hopelessness of a jobless future. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom.



"Anybody who's lost their job... my advice is don't be afraid. With hard work and the right training... you can do anything that you want."

Jimmy Adkins, Access Training Academies Tutor speaking to Robert Peston from ITV



The programme details a range of students already at Access Training, who have made the wise decision to begin a career in the trade industry, as a result of the large-scale effects of Covid-19. They have left their rapidly sinking jobs and have retrained as anything they wanted, regardless of their experience: cab drivers becoming plumbers, chefs becoming gas engineers – even solicitors are jumping on the bandwagon. If that’s not a sign for optimism and hope, then I don’t know what is. 

Talking to Peston, our gas tutor Jimmy Adkins gives an excellent summary of the situation, detailing how construction courses are now in such high demand.

 

"It went absolutely crazy. Guys who’ve come from all sorts of backgrounds, taxi drivers, entertainment, even to the point where I’ve had some solicitors because they’re unsure of whether they’re ever going to go back to working in the office."

 

One of our students, Chris Kruger, was also interviewed for the programme. Chris recently left his job as a chef, citing job uncertainty as the main reason for the decision. He speaks of the ‘very stressful and very worrying’ threat to his job, and indeed the whole catering industry:

 

"Not knowing whether things were going to go back to normal, whether I would still have a job, and the situation at home expecting a baby and so forth, and my partner also being in the hospitality industry. So both of us sitting on furlough, you can imagine the stress that we were getting from that."

 ITV Tonight - Watch here 

Chris very wisely decided that retraining as a plumber would secure his wife and young family’s future in these increasingly unsettling and unstable times. But instead of sitting back and letting everything crumble around him, Chris took it upon himself to prepare for the future: ‘I just said, no, I need to utilise this time to study’. If Chris can do it, so can you. 

With new furlough developments underway, allowing more free time for workers for the same pay, why not make the most of this opportunity to get trained? For those who don’t use this time carefully and sensibly, they could end up in the very same position of worry and anxiety when the next six months of furlough come to an end. This means more uncertainty, more struggling to get by, and more people out of work. You could be one of those people.

But you could also be like one of the people in Peston’s programme, who took the right steps at the right time to become a qualified tradesperson; who invested in their careers, and became proactive and determined. Access Training can be your stepping stone to a secure and fulfilling career; the safety net you need in these unforgiving times. 

"Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, demand for construction courses has gone through the roof, as many fear they will never be able to return to their previous work."

 

Demand is high, and the time is now. Take the initiative, take the leap. Enrol on a course today.

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

How Safe Is Your House? is a new programme from the BBC that looks at all the different accidents that can befall homeowners. Not only does it feature experts uncovering home dangers that you might not know about, it also goes undercover to expose rogue tradespeople and the shoddy work they perform while pretending to be fully qualified. The second episode in the series aired last night on BBC 1, and included was something very important to us here at Access Training - proper gas engineer training and the Gas Safe Register.

It is estimated that there are currently around 7500 unqualified gas engineers working illegally in the UK, installing up a quarter of a million (250,000) appliances in our homes. All engineers should be part of the Gas Safe Register to work legally on any sort of gas appliance, and without that not only are they working illegally but you have no way of knowing how qualified these engineers really are. One simple registration may not be enough either - engineers must have separate qualifications for EACH gas appliance they work on. So if an engineer is Gas Safe Registered to work on boilers, that doesn't necessarily mean he has the qualifications to work on fires. The information as to exactly what your hired engineer is qualified in can be found on the back of their Gas Safe ID card, which you can ask to see at any time.

Operating as a gas engineer without first joining the register can not only result in fines/imprisonment, but it also endangers the lives of the homeowners who are placing their trust in you. A quick phone call is all it can take for a doubtful homeowner to double check whether their engineer is registered, and Gas Safe also provide these records online. With it so easy to be caught out, is it really worth endangering the lives of others and risking facing the law?

Andrew Barnes seemed to think so, as he was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive for not being Gas Safe Registered, fined and given a conditional discharge. Two months later, he was at it again without getting registered. How Safe is Your House went undercover to expose him, eventually confronting him when he continued to claim he was legally registered to work on gas appliances. It was only after this confrontation that he finally registered, but who knows what could have happened in the time he was practicing illegally.

The whole episode is well worth the watch, and can be found on BBC iPlayer for the next 6 days.

If you're training to become a gas engineer or considering a change of career to become a gas engineer, it is vital that you earn the correct qualifications and then become Gas Safe Registered. Here at Access Training we'll be able to help you with this, as we offer intensive gas training courses complete with a work placemebt and ACS assessment. You'll learn the basics from experienced gas engineers before moving on to completing a top quality portfolio working alongside an established engineer. Then you'll return to our centre ready to tackle the ACS assessments, fully qualifying you for Gas Safe Registration.

Having the right qualifications isn't just a matter of being the best you can, it's a legal obligation. Don't risk the lives of your customers, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 and get the correct training.