When British Gas, Scottish Power and other leading energy providers in the UK announced huge new increases to their gas and electricity prices in the last week, it was another piece of bad news for a huge amount of cash-strapped Brits who are struggling with their bills. 

However, the price hikes may be good news for electricians, or those planning on enrolling on an electricians course. But why? 

People turn to an energy alternative 

The recent British Gas rises – occurring not long after the company announced a profit of £345m in the first half of 2012 – are sure to prove key in persuading a large number of people to invest in producing solar power at home. Over the past five years, it can’t have escaped your notice that growing numbers of people across Britain are placing distinctive blue solar panels on the roof of their home; choosing to generate electricity through solar power. 

It is estimated that by installing solar panels, homeowners can save hundreds of pounds every year on their energy bills – while some homes with enough panels can become entirely energy-efficient, and free from the price rises of energy giants.  

And although Government feed-in tariffs (FiTs), which pay homeowners a small fee for every kWh they produce, have been reduced in the last 12 months, homes can still be paid hundreds of pounds a year just for creating renewable solar energy. 

Great news for electricians

Of course the huge surge in popularity of solar power has lead to many jobs being created across the country for fitters, salesmen and electricians, whose in-depth knowledge and experience is vital in assembling a kit that both collects and stores valuable solar energy for people’s homes. 

It’s very true that electricians provide an ‘essential’ service to homes and businesses, and as such are less susceptible to poor economic conditions than most professions, but the continued popularity of solar panels will only mean good news for both electricians and those who are looking for a dependable, interesting new career. 

Are you interested in making the most of the solar boom? For further information on training an electricians course, contact us at Access today – where we’ve a wide range of courses to suit your specific needs. Call us today on 0800 345 7492

Did you know that this week is national back week? From today until the 12th of October, National Back Week aims to highlight how important it is for trade professionals, electricians and plumbers to really look after their back and ensure they’re fighting fit and ready to give their all to their job.

Back pain is the second most common cause of long-term illness in the UK and without a healthy back it’s very hard to do anything – and even more so if you’re constantly on the move and performing highly practical tasks for your job. Whether you’re lifting, driving, stretching, climbing or painting, without a healthy back it is much harder to do your job properly.

That’s why National Back Week was launched by BackCare, the charity for healthier backs, to raise awareness of keeping your back in tip-top shape. But what steps can trades people take to ensure a healthy back?

Keep moving

Like all muscles, the tendons and sinews that make up your back get stronger the more often they’re used. So, a great way of keeping back pain at bay is by staying active. Luckily, as a tradesperson, you’re likely to be frequently on your feet, bending, lifting and using your back muscles, so they are likely to be pretty strong. If you have injured your back, remember that strengthening those muscles is the key to regaining your health, so try low-impact exercise like swimming.

Sit well

Although you’re likely to be frequently off your feet, many back problems arise as a result of poor posture while seated. So when you’re doing paperwork or relaxing at home, ensure that your back is straight and well-supported. Plus, be sure to frequently adjust your sitting position, as sticking to the same posture for a long period of time could lead to a repetitive strain injury.

Lift safely

Many back injuries occur as a result of lifting something that’s too heavy for you to cope, and it’s important to remember that no bravado and man-points can mask the agony of a bad back. So, when you’re next confronted by a package that’s too heavy to lift, ask a friend to help you with it, or transport it in pieces. By recognising your limits, your back will stay safe.

Here at Access, we provide a wide variety of plumbing, decorating and electrician courses that can suit your specific background, age and career needs. To learn more about our fun, flexible courses, explore the rest of the site or speak to one of our team on 0800 3457492. 

Electrician courses and a toolbag are not all it takes to be an electrician. You need to have the drive and the determination to succeed in the industry, alongside a passion for learning and understanding. If you’re considering becoming an electrician, but you’re not sure whether the career is for you, check out our quick guide to the skills and traits which stand prospective electrical students in good stead.

Genuine interest
This is the only characteristic which really matters – the rest are just bonuses. You can overcome any problem or weak spot if you genuinely care about the area and truly want to learn and improve. The very best electricians are those who love what they do and haven’t simply ‘hopped on the bandwagon’ as the profession is stable and lucrative. Taking joy in technology, problem solving and working with electrics will ensure you pass electrician courses with flying colours and go on to have a promising career as a spark.

Eye for detail
An eye for detail is a real asset when undertaking electrical work. Being able to spot small issues within a big picture can be a big advantage.

In terms of actual eyesight, the work can be very precise and delicate which means that good vision is very useful indeed. If you haven’t had your eyes tested for a while, ensuring you have the correct prescription is a good idea.

Colour blindness is one area which many prospective sparks worry about. The Equality Act (2010-11) means that you cannot be discriminated against for a disability so there is no cause for concern. Very few varieties of colour blindness cause problems for sparks. Monochrome or red-green colour blindness can be problematic but they can be worked around if you have the patience, dedication and drive.

Hand-eye coordination
Electrical work will find you up ladders, in tiny corners, scrambling in attics –being relatively agile will help with the demands of the job. Equally, close electrical work with small implements can be very fiddly and painstaking, making good hand-eye coordination a good asset to have.

Problem solving abilities

Electrical work can sometimes be a bit like a great big sodoku. If you relish getting to grips with a problem and using logic and practical know-how to solve it, you should start hunting for electrician courses today!

Here at Access Training we offer electrician courses for all levels of ability, whatever your background and whatever your goals. To learn more about our flexible electrician courses, please explore the rest of the Access site or speak to one of our friendly advisors today on 0800 345 7492.

The government’s fight against tax avoidance has had many targets over the past year. From self-employed tax return cheats, to tax-dodging comedians, the crusade continues. Now the subjects of the crusade are tradesmen who receive payment cash in hand, and the clients who facilitate it.

For many of us who have trained or are training on plumbing courses or electrician courses, cash in hand payment is a common and convenient form of working. Yet, according to Treasury Minister David Gauke, the government loses an estimated £2bn every year to what he describes as the ‘black economy’ – largely due to cash in hand payment for tradesmen.

Granted, there are opportunities for abuse of the system when cash in hand payments are made. It is simpler to pocket the payment and therefore avoid taxation, yet not every graduate from plumbing courses or electrician courses works in this way and a great number of those who accept cash in hand payments are scrupulous and honest about their earnings.

Mr Gauke has hit out particularly at those tradesmen who offer ‘discounts’ for cash in hand payments. Of course this area is particularly difficult to police. For those tradespeople who manage payment in this way the arrangement is beneficial both for themselves and for their clients. The taxpayer’s money it would take to tackle the minority who operate in this way would far exceed the gains to be made by ensuring every single transaction is fairly taxed.

There is strong opposition to Mr Gauke’s comments regarding the “moral wrongness” of cash in hand transactions. Labour MP Austin Mitchell has denigrated Gauke’s remarks as “petty”. Equally, just a short time after the MP’s expenses scandal, hints of governmental  involvement in the Leveson enquiry and frankly shocking evidence of the immoral actions of banks like HSBC in Mexico and Barclays worldwide, this accusation of immorality seems really rather rich.

Are you an alumni from our plumbing courses, electricians courses or other types of trades training? What’s your preferred form of payment? Do you accept cash in hand? We’d love to hear from you on this subject.

If you are considering enrolling on plumbing courses or electrician courses, Access will help train you in all areas of your trade. From hands-on technical work, to running your business and working out tax - for flexible, thorough trades training courses, across the UK, contact Access today on 0800 345 7492.


Colleges and further education establishments have been criticised for providing training in areas which have very few real life job prospects. Meanwhile, with an excess of electrician and engineer positions available, colleges have not been encouraging enough students to enrol on electrician courses and their ilk.

This year it has emerged that 94,000 hair and beauty students completed training only to find that there were just 18,000 new jobs available in the sector. Media professionals and personal trainers are facing an identical problem – with thousands of new trainees every year and too few positions available to allow them to begin careers.

Electrician courses undersubscribed

Meanwhile, there are distinct gaps in the types of training which are being taken up. In areas where more newly qualified professionals are required, there simply are not enough students interested to fill the labour gap. Electrician courses, plumbing courses, engineering training and training for environmental work are all undersubscribed. An astonishing 40,000 students trained to fill 72,000 new positions in engineering and building. In the world of construction, 123,000 newly trained alumni had the pick of 275,000 positions.

Further educational focus is misplaced

The LGA (Local Government Association) is furious that educational establishments have not yet managed to find the correct balance to address this issue – especially at a time of high unemployment. According to one spokesman, the problem lies in colleges focussing on exam results and pass rates instead of ultimate job prospects. The drive to attain the best pass rates and secure the highest level of funding can lead colleges to encourage students to undertake easier ‘popular’ courses, like hair and beauty.

Alongside the surplus beauticians and joblessness there is another problem. In an economy where unemployment is rife at least 17% of job vacancies are attributed to skills shortages.

There are so many opportunities for fresh trainees in the trades sector currently, with an estimated 2 jobs available per student. If you’re interested in job security and excellent prospects, talk to Access about enrolling on plumbing, gas and electrician courses today on 0800 345 7492.

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