If the office life isn’t for you because you prefer working with your hands and learning practical skills you should consider learning a trade skill. These skills are in high demand here in the UK due to a countywide skills shortage. Learning a trade skill can be fun and rewarding and you won’t need to spend years in University before starting your career. Here are more reasons why you should start training with Access Training Academies.

Should I Be a Plasterer or a Carpenter?

Gain these qualifications and learn the practical skills required with Access Training Academies.


Access Training intensive courses are built to suit you, whether you are a beginner wanting to learn a new skill, or a professional wanting to enhance your qualifications, there is a course to suit you.

If you'd like advice about any of the courses we offer we are more than happy to help. Feel free to contact us today.

Now that we've entered August it's fair to say that the summer holidays have properly started, and school children aren't going to have to even think about school for another month. But what about those 18 year olds who are just coming out of sixth form/college? It's not so easy for them as they won't be going back in September - it's time for them to think about the next step in their lives.

For many university will be the most obvious route, engaging in another 3+ years of education with a qualification and a heap of debt at the end of it. And what job is that qualification likely to get you? With most graduates struggling to get jobs relevant to their degrees, they are now beginning to fill lower-level positions that would usually be taken by those who haven't gone to uni and want to work their way up into a career via experience. So where does that leave them? As you can guess, its a pretty big problem and calls into question just how useful some degrees are in landing you your 'dream' job.

But there are other reasons one might not want to go to university. After over a decade of timetables and school work, some people might want to put that behind them and move onto something different. Instead of more sitting at a desk and writing, there are practical options out there that will keep your working life active and varied. And of course, there is that matter of student loan/tuition fee debt that I briefly mentioned earlier...

With the demand for skilled tradespeople at an all-time high thanks to a construction boom and renewed interest in housebuilding, those looking for a direction outside of university may be perfectly suited to becoming a plumber, gas engineer, electrician, carpenter, plasterer, tiler, bricklayer or decorator. Or even a number of the above! But once again, there are a few ways to go about it.

One option is to take up a college course in your chosen trade. Not a bad option, but there are a few things to think about. These courses can take around two years to complete, which means once again resigning yourself to a strict regime of timetables. There's also the fact that colleges have to budget  their wide variety of courses, which means there's every possibility you could find yourself with facilities not quite as ideal as you might have hoped for.

The alternative? Completing an intensive training course with a private trainer, where you'll be able to earn your skills and qualifications in a matter of weeks. This probably sounds impossible to many of you, but with the right tutelage from experienced tradesmen in a state-of-the-art facility the combines the very best practical and theory training it's more than possible. And with a private trainer their ONLY focus is on the facilities and the training they provide, so you know that your chosen trade is a key subject for them.

Sound like the path you want to take? Then get in touch with Access Training Academies and book your training course today. We specialise in a wide variety of trades training courses, each manned by tutors with many years' experience in the business. All of our courses are accredited by leading awarding bodies such as City & Guilds, Logic and more, and designed to take you from a beginner level all the way to that of a trained professional. Not only that, but we keep our classes to a minimal size to allow the most one-to-one student/tutor time possible, so that you know you're getting the care and attention you paid for. Following completion of your course, you'll be ready to start your brand new career and even have the abilities to go self-employed should you so wish. Its your choice what path you choose but one thing is definitely for sure - you'll have earned yourself skills for life that are constantly in demand, and as such enjoy constant work with impressive wages.

This August, have a think about where you want your life to head next. And if you like the sound of this, give Access a call on 0800 345 7492.

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.

Earlier this week the Guardian posted an article titled "The Rise of white van woman". Reading through it you'll see that, while perhaps not the best written article around, it does reveal one very important point - more and more women are now taking up trades such as plumbing, electrics, carpentry, bricklaying and more.

According to a study of 10,000 tradespeople across the UK from IronmongeryDirect (reported in Professional Builder magazine), women now represent 5.7% of all working tradespeople - dispelling notions by coming in higher than the proportion of migrant workers in the UK (4.6%). In the grand scheme of things this might still seem like a small figure, but is still a big leap forward that lead to further gender equality in the trades.

The Guardian's article also notes that between 2011 and 2012, B&Q reported a 400% increase in the number of women enrolling in its skills workshops. During this time Britain was also going through its economic recession, and so many women who were losing their jobs were going on to set up their own businesses. The appeal of a more physical and rewarding trade career has caught on, with more and more women starting their own businesses and groups/magazines such as Women In Trade. WIC Wales and Stopcocks forming to give support. The supposed gender barriers are breaking down at long last, and this is nothing but a good thing.

And it seems customers have no qualms with female tradespeople either, making the noticeable gender segregation in the trades even more outdated and antiquated. At Access Training we welcome female tradespeople just as we do male, which is why our doors are open to people of all ages, background and gender. These things should make no difference in a person's drive to become a qualified tradesperson, and this is reflected in the training we offer. Each week we see more and more female trainers come through our doors, all of which go on to have successful businesses in their respective trades. For example - Sarah Chandler from Cardiff was working as an administrator before she decided to change her career into something more practical. After completing both a plumbing and multi-skills construction course with us, she has now set up her own business, SLC Home Improvements, and is never short of work.

Are you looking to start a brand new career as a qualified tradesperson? Covering plumbing, electrics, gas engineering, carpentry, bricklaying, plastering, tiling and painting/decorating, Access Training offers a wide range of expertise taught under one roof by an experienced teaching staff. To find out more about our courses and to book your place, please give our advice team a call on 0800 345 7492.

We've said before that there's never been a better time to start a career in the construction industry. With Britain having climbed out of the financial recession, construction has gone from strength to strength - creating thousands of new jobs in order to keep up with housing and public works building projects across the country. This year has already brought forward many opportunities for those looking to get trained and start a new career, and even at the halfway point seems to be showing no signs of slowing down as a total of 180,000 new jobs and 120,000 new apprenticeships are expected to be created over the next five years.

This comes just as the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) expects to see more demand between now and 2018 for site project managers, civil engineers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers and even painters/decorators. Many of these we offer courses for here at Access Training, where you can receive professional training to earn the qualifications required to join the industry. Doing so will give you a huge boost and advantage over many others competing for the job.

This recovery in the sector also means that ambitious workers can now climb the career ladder even faster. An article in this weekend's Daily Mail looked at Patrick Tighe, who has worked in construction for 20 years. However since the upturn (and a change in ownership) the 37 year-old Rotherham man has not only received a promotion but is also now starting a degree which will allow him to qualify as a quarry manager.

Closing the article, CITB director of employer services Mike Bialiylj says: "People starting out now will be placed to take new opportunities. Those who are determined and work hard will get the opportunity to climb the career ladder." True words that are worth thinking about. There are many reasons why you might be looking towards construction training and a future career in the industry. Perhaps your job has no prospects or has you stuck behind a desk working from nine to five. Alternatively you might be fresh out of school and looking for an alternative to a university degree and the jobs which follow. Any of these are a perfectly good reason to consider learning a trade, and in doing that you may find exactly what you were looking for.

You will be faced with an exciting and varied career which features both physical activities and mental challenges, complete with plenty of opportunities for career progression and enviable wages. Should you choose to take your skills and start your own business as a self-employed tradesperson, you'll also be free control the hours you want to work. If you don't want to work evenings or Saturdays, then you don't have to - simple as that! And even then you'll still be able to take advantage of the job opportunities mentioned here as construction companies subcontract to other experienced tradespeople.

If this sounds like the kind of direction you'd like your life to head in then there's no time for delay! Start with an intensive trades training course from Access Training and you'll learn from experienced tradespeople in a state-of-the-art facility, taking you all the way from the level of a beginner to that of an industry professional. Plumbing, gas engineering, electrics, carpentry plastering, tiling, bricklaying, painting/decorating....whatever you're looking for in a trades training course, Access can help. Just call 0800 345 7492 to speak to one of our course advisers and find out more.

With all the reports about cowboy builders doing shoddy maintenance work and unregistered gas engineers making potentially fatal mistakes, is it any surprise that finding a trusted tradesperson is becoming a major problem across the UK? In fact, a recent survey from the HomeOwners Alliance and TrustMark has found over half of Britons are hesitant to do maintenance work on their homes because they have difficulty finding someone they feel they can trust.

This result then has a knock-on effect as to what said homeowners then do. While the 2014 Homeowner Survey found 12% won't do the work at all and 26% simply delay the project, a significant 40% then choose to do their own repairs/DIY. When it comes to certain trades, this could easily end up in injury or worse. Other statistics found were that 27% will only do essential works, while if forced 28% will use tradespeople they are uncertain about.

Only earlier this week Heating & Plumbing Monthly reported a plumber in Kidderminister is behind bars for 16 months after overcharging elderly and vulnerable customers up to 800% more for simple jobs. Among Mr Steven Greenaway's misdeeds were:

  • Charging one elderly woman in Cradley Heath £1527 to repair a leak on her toilet and replace the cistern - a job averaging around £200 to do
  • Charging a Dudley pensioner £500 to unblock a toilet, then proceeding a charge her a further £780 after claiming the kitchen tap needed work
  • Charging a mother and daughter £1000 to repair a dripping tap - money that they had been saving for a holiday
  • Charging a Worcester couple £1,200 to repair a leak on a radiator valve - leaving them feeling "like they had been mugged"
  • Charging another Worcester couple more than £800 for work to repair a stop tap that should have only cost around £120
  • And as a final insult, he even advertised DISCOUNT rates for pensioners in Yellow Pages adverts

This piece isn't just meant to point the finger at these frauds who give a bad name to tradespeople everywhere, its also to show trainees how much better they can be. You don't need to con the elderly to make a healthy wage nor do you have to pretend to have qualifications - all you need is proper training and not only will you actually have the qualifications to your name, you'll also be able to make the money honestly. And as positive word of mouth about your business grows, so will those interested.

It all starts with getting the right training, and no matter which trade you're planning to persue a career in Access Training can help. From plumbing and gas to electrical, carpentry, plastering and more, our state-of-the-art centre and experienced tutors will take you from the level of absolute beginner all the way up to becoming a fully trained professional. To find out more about the courses we offer here at Access and how you can change your life with a brand new career, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 or by filling in the enquiry form found on this website. One of our course advice team will soon be in touch.

Why not start a new career?The steps to retrain and start a new career aren't quite as hard as many people think, but there's always one obstacle that makes the decision much harder than it needs to be - fear. The fear of it not quite working out, the fear of what other people might think of your new career path, the fear of struggling to find (and pass) the training you require...these and many other fears are preventing people from making their dreams come true. However, these fears will only stop you if you let them, and this can be avoided with three simple steps to helping that dream career become a reality.

Play to your strengths

The various construction/trade industries all rely on different skillsets that realistically may or may not be suitable. Trades such as bricklaying or plastering place greater emphasis on physical strength and stamina, while electrical and gas engineering training require more theory knowledge and calculating skills. Knowing what you excel at is the key to making your new career a success, but be sure to also do a good amount of research into your potential new career before starting down the path. What qualifications do you need? Where can you train? What will the course entail? These are the kind of questions you should be asking, and ones that our team of course advisors would also be happy to answer for you.

 

Take it one step at a time

Even if you're dead-set on what you want to do with your life, the thought of rushing into a new career can still be incredibly daunting. At the same time, procrastinating can also doom something to failure before it's even gotten properly off the ground. Don't just make a website or twitter and then leave it to die; instead, wait until you're good and ready to do things like that . Take it slowly - we've already mentioned research, so move on to writing your goals down on paper. Discuss your plans with friends and family - you never know, they might have work that needs doing that you can eventually take on or even have some handy contacts in the industry. Come to one of our training centres, have a look around, and discuss your needs with our course advisors. Then, when you feel ready, you can book the date for your training course and have plenty of time to prepare yourself.

 

Prepare a safety net

While we by no means think failure is a likely thing (in fact, we're confident it'll be quite the opposite), it would be wrong of you to not prepare for the worst just as a precautionary measure. Make sure you have an idea of where you could turn for a job should your new career not turn out the way you expect, and then once that's written down, keep it safe and you need never think about it again unless it comes up. It's also good to be sure you have ample finances to keep yourself afloat while you're training. If you're currently employed you might want to hold onto that job for as long as possible while you retrain. This is why we've made our courses flexible - so that you can train when you have the time.

 

That should get some of the fear out of the way! Now, here are some very real facts that demonstrate why now is the time to start a new career as a professional plumber, electrician, gas engineer or construction worker. The UK is always short of professional tradespeople to perform all kinds of domestic installations and fixings, and with new housebuilding on the rise that shortage is only going to increase. There simply aren't enough bricklayers, plasterers, carpenters and tilers around to help set the houses up, and even when there are, where are the electricians, plumbers and decorators who are able to turn that house into a home?

Construction/trade careers are cited among the happiest around, offering the right level of challenge to match the skills required. The hours and pay rate are enviable too, especially if you choose to go self-employed!

Still, there's no wrong time to start a new career. These trades aren't just a young man's game, nor are they something best suited only to older people; if you've got the drive and dedication to earn your qualifications and make the dream come true, then you're exactly what employers are looking for.

To find out more about what's on offer here at Access Training, give us a call on 0800 345 7492. Keep your end goal in sight, and then not even fear will be able to stop you.

As we've previously mentioned, Access Training have made a few changes to the way we run the Unvented Cylinders plumbing course recently. With the new City & Guilds syllabus our course follows, students are now required physically commission and maintain a cylinder in order to achieve the qualification. This is important as it will make sure candidates are physically familiar with unvented cylinders rather than just having a theoretical knowledge of how to handle them. Knowing in theory is all well and good, but this is one area inparticularly that can go wrong without the right skills and know-how.

An Unvented Cylinder is a hot water storage system that relies on storage cylinders fed directly from cold water mains and do not incorporate a vent pipe to relieve excess build-up pressure to atmosphere. The pressure for the hot water system is then derived from the mains pressure supply rather than a cold water storage tank. The advantages of using such a system include:

  • Balanced pressure in both hot and cold taps for showers
  • Higher water pressures available for hot taps
  • No storage cistern, eliminating any risk of contamination
  • Can be fitted anywhere in the house, making them suitable for one-storey dwellings
  • Quicker to install with less pipework and no cold storage tanks needed in the loft
  • Can possibly be used with smaller diameter pipework
  • Gives architects and service designers greater flexibility of design

Unvented cylinders are also the only systems currently used with renewable energy supplies such as ground & air heat pumps and underfloor heating, due to their nature of being almost 100% energy efficient. This makes them even more of an important thing as households strive to become greener and save energy (as well as money!).

However despite these numerous advantages installers should still show great caution and care when dealing with unvented cylinders, as failing to properly install them is extremely dangerous. Unvented hot water systems usually operate above atmospheric pressure and unless the right measures are taken to prevent overheating, the results can be quite explosive to say the least. Just have a look at this video of what can happen if adequate checks and protection haven't been made:

VIEW ON YOUTUBE

But don't let this video put you off them. As long as they are installed correctly with all of the proper safety precautions in place unvented cylinders are perfectly safe. All plumbers handling unvented cylinders are required to be qualified in accordance with Part G of the Building Regulations, which can be achieved through the Access Training Academies Unvented Hot Water Cylinders course.

For more information on our Unvented course or our wider range of intensive plumbing courses, please take a look at the plumbing section linked on the left hand side of the page. Alternatively, you can speak to our course advice team to have any questions you may have answered personally - simply call 0800 345 7492 or fill in the information form provided on this website.

New competency scheme WaterSafe seems to be a hit with qualified plumbers, as the orgainisation has proudly announced it has already hit the halfway mark for its registration target. 

Officially launched back on the 8th October, WaterSafe was created to bring all Approved Plumber Schemes under one umbrella and provide recognition for Britain's competant and qualified plumbers. The scheme acts as a national register, accreditation body and online directory designed to provide consumers with assurance that the tradespeople they hire are fully qualified. Since launch it has signed up 54% of its overall target for business registrations, with these figures also constituting 60% of the target for recognised individuals.

Those about to complete their plumbing course or plumbing training may want to consider registration with WaterSafe, as it is set to become to biggest search facility for plumbers in the UK - giving you excellent opportunity to be noticed online and gain valuable (and most importantly, free!) promotion. Members will also be given WaterSafe stationery and branding for their vehicles to gain extra credibility.

Julie Spinks, director of WaterSafe has said that this response has "already surpassed all expectations" and that the scheme looks forward to gaining more members in the months to come. She added that this was really only the beginning for WaterSafe and then said:

"As we continue to grow, we would encourage all plumbing businesses to sign up with us. Together, we can ensure properly qualified professionals will get the credit they deserve by working together to drive out unethical trading and refocus safety standards for all."

You can find out more about WaterSafe by visiting www.watersafe.org.uk

Loose Women's Janet Street Porter wrote an interesting piece in the Daily Mail last week about how university degrees are becoming less and less relevant in the working world, with more students ending up in jobs that have no relation to what they studied whatsoever. She also suggests that it's time for colleges to start focussing on offering trade learning such as plumbing, construction and electrical engineering. Her words - "Show me a poor plumber - there certainly aren't any in Central London."

She isn't wrong, yesterday the Guardian reported that half of recent UK graduates are stuck working in non-graduate jobs according the Office of National Statistics. Specialising in a trade is becoming more and more appealing to young people, which means taking up a plumbing training course could prove far more valuable to your future than a university degree. For a start an Access Academies plumbing course can be completed in a matter of weeks, as opposed to the average of three years you'd spend at university. With the relevant plumbing qualifications you'll be out making money as a professional in a matter of weeks, while with a university degree you'll be coming out years later with no guarantee of a job and that rather sizeable student loan looming over you.

There's also the matter of a plumbing training course giving you a skill for life. A university degree can teach you some really valuable things, no one is denying that. But the harsh truth is Britain is still very much in the midst of a recession, and you'd be entering any job you might find at the bottom of the ladder. And when the going gets tough sadly these are usually the people a business is first to let go of. With an intensive plumbing course behind you, you'll have a skill for life that's always going to be in demand. Working plumbing is something we would struggle to live without, and so a trustworthy plumber is someone that's going to be on call in every household. Not only that, but it's the perfect skill to take on and make into a self-employed business meaning you won't have to deal with pushy bosses or the constant worry of redundancy. Decide when you want to work and for home much, taking the jobs you want/need and build up a friendly relationship with your customers so they'll be sure to call on you again! 

Finally, and here's the best bit - anyone can learn a trade at any age. To get into university you'll need to earn the right grades, and that relies on you doing well in exams. But what if exam situations aren't for you? Exams can cause a great deal of pressure and certainly aren't a flawless way of gauging someone's intelligence. With our plumbing courses, we'll teach you everything you need to know from the ground up and are just as welcoming toward newcomers as we are to those who may have some previous experience in the plumbing trade.

So is university still sounding like the best option for you? If you'd like to work toward a more active and physical career with greater rewards and better job security, I think the choice is obvious. Come to Access Training Academies and train to be a plumber on any one of our intensive training courses. With experienced tutors, small initmate class sizes and state-of-the-art work areas, our number one goal is get you the skills you need to make this dream a reality. To find out more and speak to one of our course advisers, please give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

The Construction Industry Training Board has warned that the industry needs to put more focus on the recruitment and training of young people, after recent statistics revealed some alarming facts about the average age of Britain's construction workforce.

According to the Office of National Statistics, 19% of UK construction workers are aged 55 and over. A further 24% (518,000 people) are aged between 45 and 54. They estimate that these statistics mean at least 406,000 people will need to be replaced over the next 10 years if the labour force is stay the same size.

CITB’s interim chief executive William Burton said: “Almost one in five workers is set to retire from the construction industry over the next 5-10 years, so not taking action now to encourage young people to join the industry – and investing in the training to up-skill our existing workforce – is no longer an option. The construction sector is essential for local and national economic growth and to avoid the similar skills crisis that affected the industry in the early 1990s, we urge employers to act now.”

While more young people undoubtedly need to be adopted into the industry, these age groups show that its also never too late to join the world of construction. You could be 18, 25, 35 or older and the choice to change careers into construction could still prove a refreshing and liberating experience. If you would like to find out more about how you can join thus rewarding line of work that's constantly on the lookout for new people, give Access Training a call. We provide a wide range of construction training courses for people of all ages and backgrounds, giving you the qualifications needed to enter at a professional level. Give us a call on 0800 345 7492 and we'll be happy to tell you more.

Source: The Construction Index

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are currently consulting recently published plans to simplify the way self-employed people pay National Insurance Contributions.

It has been put forward whether it might be less hassle to collect contributions alongside Class 4 NICs and Income Tax through the Self-Assessment Process. This would mean self-employed people would only need to fill in an annual SA return to have these NICs collected. The aim is reduce the administrative burden on self-employed people, which is the main area many express difficulty in when taking the steps to become self-employed.

HRMC are also encouraging representatives of the self-employed to respond to the consultation before the final review. The closing date for this is the 9th October 2013. More information can be found on the HMRC website.

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The financial aspect of going self-employed with your trade can be offputting to many skilled tradesmen, but here at Access Training we make sure our students are fully prepared to take that next step in their career. As well as all the relevant qualifications in electric, gas, plumbing and various construction trades, help is on hand to give you the basic knowledge you'll need to handle the technical side of self-employed life. After that you'll be free to enjoy working flexible hours while being your own boss. For more information on our training courses and what is needed to become self employed contact us via email or telephone 0800 345 7492.