The latest news hot off the press here at Access Training is the end of the level 3 inspection and testing qualification 2391 as we know it (with the exception of a few re-sit papers!). The qualification, aimed at electrical personnel who either carry out or supervise the testing and inspection of electrical installations, has been replaced by two separate qualifications, including:

2394 – Initial verification of electrical installations

2395 – Periodic inspection and testing of electrical installations

From information we have received from the Joint industry Board (JIB), if an electrician wants to earn their JIB ‘Gold Card’, they will be required to pass BOTH qualifications!

For those of you who have attempted the old 2391 in the past, the 2394 is in essence the same qualification with the addition of an online multiple choice paper, whilst the written element has been reduced to just a one and a half hour exam.

The 2395 consists of an online multiple choice exam (a common element of both qualifications), a visual inspection task, a periodic inspection and a test on a three phase or single phase installation, which will incorporate faults the candidate will be required to identify. There will also be a separate one and a half hour written paper.

Some of the concerns being aired by the industry include the fact that the separation of this qualification may work to dilute the kudos held by inspection engineers, as well as having the effect of dummying down the subject area. Having sat the 2395 examinations, I can assure you that no such dilution will take place. The new qualification is as demanding as the old 2391, and if anything the changes have led to the examination of a wider subject area.    

Author: Mark Jenkins

This Wednesday solar energy company, The Green Home Company, announced that they would be expanding their business in Bridgend and creating 100 new job vacancies in the process. If you’re considering a future in solar in South Wales this is exciting news. People get into solar from all sorts of trades, so if you’re currently enrolled on roofing, property development, plumbing or electrical courses, this news could be music to your ears!

The Green Home Company’s announcement couldn’t have come at a better time as, only yesterday, the government had their plans to halve the solar feed in tariff (FIT) scheme shelved. The proposed cuts looked set to cut thousands of jobs in what had, throughout 2011, been a boom industry. Now it looks like the industry can continue to grow, providing work for thousands of skilled tradesmen across the country.

This Green Home Company expansion is great news for local industry and gives local trainees a real boost. Knowing that your skills are in demand is an excellent form of encouragement, especially given the worrying looking jobs market these days. The Bridgend based installers are likely to offer training, upskill opportunities and excellent prospects for many alumni from Access plumbing, roofing and electrical courses.

If you’re interested in getting into the solar installation industry, this could be your opportunity to make an impact in a great, local solar installation role. If you’re still busy working though plumbing, roofing or electrical courses here at Access you can take encouragement from the fact that there are great opportunities out there and exciting new skillsets to develop!

Hoping to get into a trade? Access Training can help. We offer City & Guilds authenticated plumbing, roofing, decorating, gas, electrical courses and more to give you the skills you need to succeed. For more information about any of our electrical courses call our experienced advisers on 0800 345 7492 today.

The NICEIC has just has published the results of a survey which asked registered electrical contractors their thoughts on Part P of the Building Regulations. Around 1,500 completed the survey. The results obtained, which reflected a wide spread of electricians’ views, are to be considered by the Government in their latest review of current Building Regulations.

As discussed in previous posts, the effectiveness of Part P is currently being looked at and re-examined by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, who published the initial legislation back in 2005. This dictated that electrical courses graduates working domestically must have attended one of a specific range of electrical courses to become a qualified installer. They also had to be part of a Competent Person Scheme.

There has been much debate regarding the changes needed, with most agreeing that Part P electrical courses should be amended to improve the current model. The responses received from the NICEIC survey support this view with 85% believing it should be retained. Three quarters of contributors said that there should be a pubic list of approved electrical installers for consumers to use, preventing unqualified electricians from carrying out domestic electrical work.

One of the most telling findings was that half of the respondents have seen a marked increase in the standard of electrical work since Part P was brought in as an essential element of electrical courses.

Other notable findings were that 75% of contributors said they wanted firmer action to be taken against those individuals who did not comply with the scheme. At present prosecutions are virtually non-existent.

Finally, an important point the electrical courses graduates wanted homeowners to understand was which DIY tasks they can carry out themselves as opposed to those they need a qualified electrician to complete.

Here at Access Training we feel that safety comes first and that, despite its numerous faults, Part P has been an undoubted success since its introduction, increasing the quality of the workmanship being carried out in people’s homes.

Here at Access Training we offer Part P electrical courses which will enable you to reach the industry required standard. If you require any further information regarding Part P electrical courses, or any of our other courses for that matter, please call 0800 345 7492 or email enquiries@accesstraining.co.uk.

On the electrical courses we provide here at Access Training, we believe an integral element is the preparation of students for future developments in the industry. Currently the subject of solar photovoltaic or solar PV is a particularly hot topic of conversation. As part of our training we ensure that students on our electrical courses are fully aware of the technology involved, however, we are finding some students have concerns about its longevity and are worried about what to say to customers if they enquire about the benefits of investing in a solar PV system.

Solar technology is widely expected to be one of the key methods of producing environmentally friendly power in the future, but what is not clear from the information currently available to the general public and electrical courses students alike is the current benefits for the customer and installer.

The benefits of solar PV installation can be summarized thus:

•    Feed in Tariffs backed by the Government
•    Electricity which can be consumed for free
•    Gain an income by selling surplus back to the grid
•    A reduction in carbon footprint and CO2 emissions
•    Ideal for the UK climate as the technology works all year round

One of the benefits that students of our electrical courses have found to be most impressive is that customers earn a guaranteed 41.3p from their electricity provider for every unit of electricity they produce. This allows some individuals to earn anywhere from £600 to £1250 a year, representing a return of 8% to 14%. However, the exact figure will be dependent on the position of the panels, the amount of sunlight to which the property is exposed and the overall size of the installation.

If you would like to find out more about solar PV installation and its benefits, or for more information about the electrical courses on offer here at Access Training then call our course advice team today.

Have a quick look at the following headline which appeared in The Sun newspaper on May 31 2011: Jobs Idea ‘Fail’

“Labour blew £180 million on a workplace qualifications scheme branded “not fit for purpose.”

Completely regardless of the political connotations of the above headline, let’s have a look at the newly conceived QCF qualifications scheme and examine just why it was such an expensive failure.

The previous government decided that the qualification structure surrounding electrical courses and other trades training needed to be changed and standardised. In reality it caused so many issues and arguments between the awarding bodies and the educational centres running the trades training and electrical courses that the whole scheme had to be shelved. The ill fated qualifications were scrapped just before they were due to go live wasting a lot of time and resources.

The Sun article stated: “Official figures reveal the huge level of funding by the last government for the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). But an independent review of electrical courses and other vocational courses this year called it ‘entirely inappropriate’.

“Professor Alison Wolf, who published the critical dossier, said the QCF had no relevance for learners ‘likely to switch jobs and entering decades of employment in a rapidly changing economy’.

“Her report went on: “This should not be the main, let alone the only, type of vocational qualification offered. Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi, who uncovered the bill, said: Labour simply doesn’t understand what employers want.”

So what does this mean for those individuals considering training courses such as resettlement training, gas, plumbing or electrical courses? Absolutely nothing. It merely ensures that the current tried and tested qualifications and methods of training remain the same. For example, City & Guilds electrical courses are still the courses to look for if you wish to qualify to complete domestic, commercial and industrial electrical installations.

You can therefore rest assured that the electrical courses offered here at Access Training are the most up to date available, allowing you the opportunity to gain qualifications recognised and respected throughout the industry. If you are looking for all encompassing electrical courses, or you are just starting out and looking for something at more of a beginner’s level, here at Access Training we have something for everyone.

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has just published a survey stating that women may be at greater risk than men of having an electric shock whilst working in the garden as they have not heard of an RCD (Residual Current Device), something covered in all electrical courses. The report published by the ECS was derived from Government data which found that 70 people a year die from accidents in and around UK homes and that if an RCD was fitted it could have prevented some of these accidents. If you have attended an electrical course with us then you will understand the importance of RCDs already but to those who don’t know it appears they could be putting themselves at some risk through a simple lack of understanding.

So what is an RCD? The ESC website gives a wealth of information regarding this but essentially it is a sensitive switch device that trips (or switches off) if there is a fault. An RCD protects people against the risks of electrocution and fire caused by an earth fault, an area that is covered on our electrical courses. The most obvious scenario for this being that a cable is cut when mowing the lawn.  Obviously this situation could occur this coming weekend of all weekends as a bank holiday means more people will be working in the garden preparing lawns, flower beds and hedge rows for the summer. No doubt many people will be using electrical devices such as mowers and hedge trimmers for the first time this year. An RCD would protect the user if the device was faulty and the appliance overheats causing electric current to flow to earth.

The ECA found that almost 50% of the women surveyed for the report have either never used (23%) or never actually heard of an RCD and what it does (26%). Surprisingly however, women were less likely than men to appreciate the dangers of using electrical equipment in the garden. A Mori Poll also reported that 25% of women have actually experienced at least one electric shock in the garden during their lifetime which should be a reminder to us all of the potential dangers over this coming bank holiday weekend.

Access Training’s electrical courses teach the importance of RCDs and explains the application, installation and testing of these devices during the electrical course curriculums with the emphasis being that it teaches you to work that at all times you must work safely after attending a domestic electrical course.

After our last post regarding how the proposed changes to Government red tape are likely to affect electrical courses graduates, it has become apparent that there is widespread confusion among many of our current electrical courses students, as well as those currently working in the trade.

So here, by way of explanation, is exactly how Part P applies:

1) You will not need to notify your local authority if you do limited minor electrical work such as:

a. Replacing or repairing a socket, light or cable in a room;
b. Adding extra spurs, sockets or lights to an existing circuit (except in a kitchen, bathroom or outdoors);
c. Adding lights to an outdoor wall on an existing circuit (provided there are no exposed outdoor connections, and the circuit is not extended from a kitchen or bathroom).

2) Before you start other electrical work, you must notify your Local Authority Building Control Department, which has responsibility for ensuring the work is inspected and tested. This work includes:

a. Adding new circuits to your existing installation;
b. Any work (other than repairs / replacements) in a room where there is water (e.g. kitchen, bathroom, etc);
c. Any work (other than repairs / replacements) outdoors (e.g. installing outdoor sockets or non-pre wired garden lighting etc).


And remember, Building Control will charge you a fee. Diynot.com has some interesting discussions by contributors on this subject, such as: “My local authority charges £202 + vat for work up to £2000 and it goes up from there and they won't inspect or test - they want an EIC/MWC [electrical certificate] signed by a qualified electrician”, which essentially means the process could become very expensive.

However, when you perform any electrical installation after attending one of our electrical courses and become a member of a competent person scheme, you will be able to self certify your own work with no need to inform Building Control, thus avoiding such high costs. Therefore it makes sense to undergo electrical courses with us here at Access Training and join a Competent Person Scheme. This will ensure you are able to perform many different types of domestic electrical installation in accordance with Part P.

We hope this clears up any confusion for our present electrical courses students and for those electrical courses graduates we have taught in the past. If you require any further information regarding Part P, our electrical courses or any other of our services for that matter, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

Throughout 2010 the Government has been making a lot of noise about its intention to cut red tape and reform regulations across a wide range of industries. Current building regulations are to be looked at in detail to ensure they aid rather than prohibit the new Government policy of increasing the housing supply. It is also their intention to reform the planning system so it is more efficient, effective and supportive of economic development. In addition, the Government has stated that it will introduce a New Homes Bonus and will also reduce the total regulatory burden on the house building industry. This is potentially good news for individuals currently attending electrical courses, and especially those electrical courses which include the Part P elements.

In a move which was welcomed back in early 2010, MP Andrew Stunnell stated the need for free and open feedback from individuals in the construction industry as well as those running electrical courses in an attempt to streamline regulations: “I want to hear your views on how regulations can be improved, added to, or slimmed down. I would also welcome suggestions as to how we can deliver better levels of compliance in the future.”

The result of this Building Regulations Exercise was that over 200 responses were received; many from those who had recently completed electrical courses, although surprisingly not a lot of unexpected issues or suggestions arose. The conclusions we can draw at this stage will come as welcome news for those individuals currently attending electrician courses and especially for those thinking of attending electrical courses in the future, as less red tape will result in the creation of many more employment opportunities.

For those of you considering electrical courses, Access Training really should be your first choice. Our facilities are state of the art, as is the level of training our electrical courses provide. For further information call Access today on 0800 345 7492.

Undertaking a career change can be a daunting proposition for anyone thinking of becoming a professional tradesperson, especially if they are considering enrolling onto a training course such as one of the electrical courses with Access Training. Most people contacting the Course Advisors at Access Training explain their plans but also express their reservations about taking the leap into a subject such as electrics, where they have no previous experience at all. 

To help allay any fears or misconceptions people may have, the team at Access Training decided that some work experience could be arranged for people if they would like to gain a greater understanding prior to attending their training for example, before one of our electrical courses. We approached Steven Walker who immediately jumped at the chance of working with Access Training again, having been in the position himself of changing career and not knowing where it might lead.

Steven Walker had formed his own plumbing and electrical installation company, SK Solutions, last year after completing an electrical course with Access and his company continues to go from strength to strength. He was delighted to be able to show students the ropes and give them an insight into the trade and agreed to show the first two students the type of work he was undertaking. The result being that the student’s fears about their radical change in careers were soon put to one side as they began their work at SK Solutions Ltd.

Since completing his course, Steven has found that the amount of plumbing and electrical work was building up quickly and he was finding his services to be in much demand. He then decided the time was right to recruit a fellow student from the very same plumbing course he attended only a matter of months earlier. Such is the faith and high regard that Steven held for the quality of the student produced by Access Training, he has now gone one step further and decided to take on students before they have even begun their course.

This example shows just how highly the electrical courses offered by Access Training are regarded. We go the extra yard to make sure our students receive the service and training they deserve, every step of the way. If you are looking to start a new career and are considering enrolling on a course then contact Access Training today. Our electrical courses and plumbing courses really are the best around and we always take any extra steps we can to help our students enjoy a stress-free career change.

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