Alternative to University

Throughout your school life, it may seem as though teachers, family, and peers are all encouraging you to take a certain path that you may not necessarily think is the best fit for you. If you are looking for an alternative to university, training courses from Access Training may be exactly what you are looking for.

Access Training allows you to become trained in a number of different professions, including electrical, plumbing, carpentry, IT professional skills and so much more. Our extensive range of courses means that there is something for everyone. To look through all our courses and find one that suits you, just click here. Our courses are perfect for beginners just starting out who are looking for an alternative to university, and we are here to help you every step of the way. 

Like university, we want to prepare you for your future career and our accredited courses produce qualifications that will allow you to start on the path towards that chosen career. 

Training Course to Fit Your Life

Access Training Courses

Rather than spending 3 to 4 years in university, our courses are an alternative which is designed to help you achieve the appropriate qualifications in a much shorter timeframe. Getting trained up in this short amount of time means that you will be able to start earning through your new trade as soon as possible. 

Courses That Fit Around Your Lifestyle

We know the price of going to university often puts off potential students, and the idea of living in debt is a daunting thing to face - particularly at 18 years old. This is why we allow you to relieve yourself of the financial pressure of a training course with a finance scheme. Our finance scheme means you can spread the cost of the course over a period of time that can be up to 60 months. Through this scheme, can rest assured that paying for your training will be a simple, stress-free process.

Our flexible courses can also be tailored around your availability as we understand that sometimes family, job and other life commitments can get in the way - but we won’t let this put you off gaining further education. If you have the motivation to be trained in a trade, we will find a way to let you complete a course.

If you would like to discuss your alternatives to university and what course would best suit your interests, do not hesitate to get in touch. Our expert team is here to help you get the most out of our courses, so call us on 0800 345 7492 to speak to one of our advisors today.

City and Guilds Electrical Courses

So you want to change careers and become a professional electrician? Great! You'll love working as a tradesperson, and the UK's current skills shortage means that you should have no trouble finding plenty of work.

But you can't start working as an electrician without the proper training and qualifications. Electrical work is very dangerous if you don't know exactly what you're doing, so it's very important to learn all the relevant skills/theory and get properly certified before you begin your new career.

Here at Access Training, we offer a variety of City & Guilds-accredited electrical courses that are specifically designed for inexperienced electricians who want to train up, get qualified, and go professional. Even if you've never so much as changed a fuse before, our City & Guilds electrical courses will mould you into a skilled electrician in no time - we'll teach you everything you'll need to know and help you to earn the industry qualifications that domestic electricians are expected to hold.

What electrical qualifications will I earn with Access Training?

Depending on which course you choose, you will earn some or all of the following certifications:

Part P Domestic Installer

Along with the 17th Edition Electrical Regulations (see below), this is the basic industry qualification that all electricians must hold. Part P qualifies you to install/repair lights, electrical sockets, cooker circuits, and other consumer units. You will also be able to certify domestic electrical installations.

Included in the following electrical courses:
Essential // Professional // Premier

 

City & Guilds 17th Edition Electrical Regulations

This is another must-have qualification that's included in all of our career change electrical courses. Earning this certification will show that you have a good working knowledge of the latest electrical regulations.

Included in the following electrical courses:
Essential // Professional // Premier

 

City & Guilds Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

Many self-employed electricians find that they can boost their income by performing PAT tests in addition to domestic installations and maintenance. This course component will teach you how to test electrical devices and prevent potentially dangerous accidents.

Included in the following electrical courses:
Professional // Premier

 

City & Guilds 2392 Fundamental Inspection & Testing

Inspection and testing is an important skill for professional electricians to hold. The City & Guilds 2392 qualification will allow you to inspect/test new installations (as well as new circuits on existing installations).

Included in the following electrical courses:
Professional // Premier

 

City & Guilds 2395 Periodic Inspection & Testing

This qualification goes further than the 2392 certification, enabling you to issue safety reports and recommend any additional works that may be necessary. Ideal for budding electricians who wish to carry out commercial and industrial (as well as domestic) work.

Included in the following electrical courses:
Professional // Premier

 

City & Guilds 2396 Design & Verification

This advanced qualification is included only in our Premier electrical course. It focuses on the design and specification of complex electrical systems.

Included in the following electrical courses:
Premier

If you'd like to enrol on one of our City & Guilds-accredited electrical courses, please click on one of the course options listed above or contact us today!

A recent survey conducted by Retail Company Screw fix, shows that two out of five tradespeople were giving more quotes for work than a year ago, and more than half of the trades people who took part in the survey said that their business was better than the previous year, in particular, plumbers, electricians and carpenters are extremely optimistic about their business outlook during 2016.

In 2015, the skilled trade industry experienced an increase in demand towards the end of the year, fortunately this trend has continued into 2016, with one in seven tradespeople stating that they have too much work on their books.Most of the tradespeople surveyed said that they expected business to remain at the same level, or improve over the next 12 months.

If you are a regular reader of our blog posts, you will notice that we write about the current skills shortage crisis that we are currently experiencing in the UK regularly. The skills shortage is a huge issue that we are currently facing. Currently in the construction industry alone there is a shortage of 35,000 people, this figure naturally increases when domestic tradespeople are added into the equation.

With the increase in demand, it is apparent that – even though good for plumbers, electricians, gas engineers and carpenters, because it means that there is no shortage of work, potential customers will soon start to run into difficulties being able to find a trades person when they need them the most.

If these projections are correct, then 2016 could mean that many tradespeople may start having to work long hours to keep up with the demand. This means that now is the perfect time for people who are thinking about learning or retraining as a skilled trades person or adding taking courses to develop their existing skill set.

Here at Access Training, we have developed alongside City & Guilds, and other awarding bodies, a wide range of fully comprehensive courses that are suitable for people who have no prior industry experience. Our courses will teach you the very basics, through to the more advanced techniques used by trade professionals. 

To find out more about our plumbing, carpentry or electrical courses, contact us today!

Today - the 8th of March, 2016 - is International Women's Day. This annual event began more than 100 years ago, and every March it serves as a great opportunity to celebrate the amazing achievements of women all over the world.

However, IWD is also an opportunity to highlight the many areas where gender equality still hasn't been achieved, and regrettably, our own field is a prime example. Female workers are still astoundingly rare in the construction and trade industries; according to this article from last year, women account for just 11% of the UK construction industry's total workforce, and only 1% of those women actually work on construction sites. Women are similarly under-represented in trades such as plumbing and electrical work, and while the ratios are beginning to shift,  it's clear that there's still a long way to go.

So how can we encourage more people to learn a trade and join these male-dominated industries? First of all, people need to change their attitudes towards tradeswomen, and that applies both to the general public and to representatives of the trades in question. A couple of years ago, the Telegraph ran an article suggesting that roughly one-third of the UK population would be "suspicious" of a female electrician, and countless tradeswomen have shared their stories of the sexist remarks that come their way . Here's one example from Hattie Hassan, founder of Stopcocks Women Plumbers (originally reported on Sky News in 2014):

"Someone sent me an email saying, 'Look, love...plain and simple, women can't be plumbers. You'll break a fingernail and have to go out shopping to console yourself. Or you'll go running screaming when you see a spider.'"

Clearly, these sort of attitudes aren't helping anybody - it's easy to see why a budding female plumber or gas engineer might be put off. For this reason, we also need to do work harder to encourage women to join these trades in the first place, and that responsibility, at least to some extent, falls to training providers like us. The promotional materials distributed by construction/trade training centres are often targeted specifically at male learners, but this approach benefits nobody - after all, it's in the training provider's interest to attract as many new students as possible, regardless of gender.

Here at Access Training, we try to make people of all genders/races/backgrounds feel welcome at our training centres. We realise that we could still be doing more - for example, most of the photos currently on our website are of men, not women. But the sad fact of the matter is that, right now, most of the people who enquire about our courses are male, and while we are keen to do whatever we can to get more women working in the trade and construction industries, it seems that this goal will be extremely difficult to achieve until people - namely the people who are "suspicious" of female electricians, the people who tell women they "can't be plumbers", and anyone else who continues to perpetuate the false notion that women aren't cut out for these jobs - adopt a more positive, welcoming attitude towards people who, at the end of the day, are just as capable of mastering these skills as any man.

Trade training courses from Access Training:

Since the 2015 General Election, Britain has seen many changes in the way that the UK is run, and this year is no different. Yes, we are talking about the hot topic of the moment – the EU Referendum.

The EU referendum has turned in a rather controversial issue, with people from every industry having their say on whether Britain should stay or leave. This is because an EU exit will have profound effects on how Britain will conduct future business – especially in the construction industry. Reassuringly, a survey conducted by Smith and Williamson found that only 15% of construction company executives favoured leaving the European Union.

One of the major issues that leaving the EU would present to the construction industry concerns access to labour. Presently, the UK is experiencing a huge skills shortage across the construction industry, which means that we are relying heavily on foreign workers to come over and help fill the gap.

One of the fundamental values of the EU is free movement, which makes immigration around EU counties relatively easy and stress-free. If Britain exits the EU then emigration into the UK will become more difficult, discouraging skilled workers from entering the country and focusing on countries still within the EU.  On a positive note, there will be more jobs within the construction industry, but fewer people to fill them.

The EU is a trading union, which has helped break down barriers that make it difficult for companies to do business and invest in each other’s businesses. With the threat of a Brexit looming, multimillion-pound manufacturing giants have already expressed concerns about investing in an independent UK. One of the biggest advantages to being in the EU is that we are granted free trade between member nations. This makes it easier and cheaper for British companies to export their goods and - more importantly for the construction industry - building materials.

Even though the vast majority of construction companies are currently in favour of staying in the EU, it is important to look at the counter arguments of the 15% minority. For instance, the chairman of JCB plans to vote in favour of a Brexit because it “could cut the costs of bureaucracy so much that any additional costs of leaving the EU would be easily covered”. He also disagrees with the claims that it will make trade more difficult with other EU countries because “it is in everyone’s interests to trade openly and freely.”

It is hard to predict what knock-on effect a Brexit will have on the UK’s construction industry because no country has ever left the EU before. Over the coming months we are going to hear a lot of arguments to stay or leave, and possibly a lot of contradictory information about what will happen if we do decide to exit. At the end of the day, it is up to us as individuals to come to an educated decision as to whether we think it will be beneficial for the UK to stay or leave.

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A new initiative, known as ConstructED, has been launched to promote diversity in the world of construction. From plumbing courses to the building site, the new scheme aims to bring all genders, races, religions, physical abilities and sexualities into the construction industry.

The scheme has already been backed by the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) along with a number of construction – next stop the whole of the U.K.! Even here at Access, our plumbing courses, tiling courses and other trades training courses are dominated by white, heterosexual males. It’s time for a shake up!

There are myriad benefits to a diverse and representative workforce. Every individual brings their own set of skills, abilities and insights to the table and the more diverse the construction industry, the more ideas and talents our economy will benefit from.

This is the first scheme of its kind to be launched in the UK and has been designed to create fairer and more equal workplaces, where all Equality Act (2010) and European Commission on Human Rights obligations are met.

This means eradicating any form of harassment, victimisation and discrimination in the industry and ensuring every company who vie for a public sector contract have the requisite equality and diversity credentials.

At Access we believe in open and equal learning for all. We work hard to ensure our plumbing courses and alternative construction training courses are friendly and respectful environments where every student can reach their full potential, irrespective of their background, gender, race, religion, sexuality or physical ability.

To find out more about our open, flexible and welcoming plumbing courses, please get in touch with the Access team today on 0800 345 7492 to discuss your goals and your future!

If you’re looking to find work in the plastering business there are many ways you can find opportunities in the construction industry.  Plastering is a skill that will always be in high demand and often the best way to learn a trade is with on the job training.  However, those serious about plastering as a trade might want to look into one of the many plastering training courses available.

Working as a plasterer can be quite a lucrative career that provides a steady income and lots of work.  Whether you find with a plastering firm or a firm that includes plastering in its range of services, you should find your skills are constantly in demand.  You may also find that once you have been working in the trade for some time and have acquired extensive experience, you might want to go it alone and set up your own plastering business. 

Get the Word Out

Plastering jobs are often obtained through word of mouth and speaking to other contractors.  If you can get the word out that you are looking for work and that you are willing to work long hours and dedicate your time to learning the trade, you may find a job comes along quicker than expected.  You may also want to enquire directly to construction site managers and tell them that you have some level of training or that you are willing to train on the job.  Whilst you might get given light labourer duties at first, you can learn a lot by being on site and getting involved.  If you can get yourself on a new-build construction site this is one of the best ways to learn more about the plastering and rendering skills you will be required to know.

Your local job centre will also have details of any plastering jobs in your area and also any training courses on offer.  Grants are often available for training and you’ll learn everything you need to start plastering straight away.  The good thing to know is that plasterers are always in demand.  If you can prove your skills and your worth, you’ll find your phone constantly ringing with offers of work. 

Fine Tune Your Skills

Plasterers often add other strings to their bow including painting, tiling and flooring.  Many domestic clients will be looking for a tradesman that has a wide range of skills so taking the time to learn new trades will open up many more doors to you.

Following draft license modifications put before Parliament and a ruling from the Court of Appeal, solar PV systems will be eligible for the higher Feed in Tariff (FIT) rate.  That means that domestic solar PV systems that are registered with a FIT provider before 3rd March 2012 will be eligible for a Feed in Tariff rate of 43.4/kWh. 

Not prepared to accept the change, the DECC (Department of Energy & Climate Change) has indicated they will follow this ruling up by seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.  If the DECC is successful in the appeal process, this could herald yet more changes.

The current rates available to domestic solar PV customers are as follows:

  • If customers register their solar PV installation before 3rd March 2012, they will be eligible for a FIT rate of 43.3p for each unit of power they generate and 3.1p for each unit of power that they export to the National Grid
  • Customers registering from the 3rd March – 31st March will be eligible for a FIT tariff of 43.3p for every unit of power they generate up until the 1st April 2012. Any power generated after that date will be eligible for a rate of 21p for each unit.
  • Between 1st April and 30th June, the Government proposes to give 21p for each unit of power generated and 3.1p for each unit that is sent back to the National Grid.


There’s never been a better time to consider solar PV for the home and you may indeed have seen more and more homes with solar panels fitted.  In order to have solar PV panels fitted, your home will need to meet a minimum energy efficiency standard and that means you’ll have to acquire an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘D’ or higher.   Further reductions are proposed to the FIT rate in the future and these changes could be in place by 1st July 2012. 

More and more people in the UK are starting to realise the benefits of generating their own energy and the changes to the FIT rate make installation look much more appealing.  Solar PV panels are becoming less and less expensive and therefore more accessible to UK homeowners.  In order to be eligible for solar PV you must own your own property in England or Wales and have your own mains electricity supply.

Renewable and sustainable energy seems to be high on the agenda in Parliament right now and there’s never been a better or more affordable time to tap into the sustainable energy market.  Reduce your carbon footprint and your energy bills at the same time.

With the rising demand for solar comes a rise in the number of solar installers required in the UK. Access Training specialise in helping people find their vocation, whether that's plastering or solar PV. To find out more about how to begin training, browse the rest of the website or call the knowledgable Access team on 0800 345 7492.

Any spark qualifying on electrician courses over the next few months could find their finances under the close scrutiny of HMRC. In fact, contract electricians of all levels of experience could find their work and their income monitored very closely by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs over the coming year.

The ‘big push’ by HMRC has been taking place across the trades which are considered high risk industries for tax avoidance. This wave of intense scrutiny and bureaucracy is part of the government’s overall goal which is to cut back on benefit fraud, tax evasion and other ‘low-level’ financial crimes which cost the taxpayer millions of pounds every year.

Looking at the bigger picture, this move to closely monitor the earnings of those who have qualified on electrician courses is part of the country-wide austerity drive, aimed at reducing our deficit and minimising the need for cuts in essential areas such as health care and education.

Alongside tackling those qualified on electrician courses, HMRC have also been closely monitoring self-employed plumbers and other sole traders. According to those leading the campaign, the investigations will look closely at anyone who installs, maintains and tests electrical appliances and equipment.

The reason people will be monitored so closely after completing electrical courses is that electrical contractors working as sole traders are traditionally a little ‘foggy’ when it comes to income, figures and tax. Whether this is the result of dodgy accounting or simple forgetfulness is not clear – it may well be that qualified sparks who have taken all the requisite electrician courses have simply earned an unfair reputation.

Hopefully the ‘crackdown’ on those who have found work as self-employed sparks following electrician courses will show that the majority of those in the business are above board and legitimate.

If you would like to enjoy the freedom and lucrative wages of life as a self-employed electrician, speak to Access Training. We offer flexible, City & Guilds accredited electrician courses which will prepare you for life as an exceptional, passionate spark. Get in touch today on 0800 345 7492.

The importance of upgrading much of the UK’s vocational skills and plumbing training has been brought to the fore by City & Guilds, the biggest name in UK vocational education, with two million learners working towards a City & Guilds qualification every single year.
  
Recently City & Guilds have focussed their attention on Ireland, which is currently lacking in professionally qualified tradesmen and plumbing training graduates to meet the demands of a burgeoning population. In Ireland there is a shortfall in many of the trades, with plumbing training one area where increased participation is being actively encouraged.

A seminar is being organised by City & Guilds to highlight how plumber training and other types of vocational training need to be adapted to take account of emerging technologies and the skill levels required to work with them. There will also be a heavy focus on delivering a more carbon-efficient and environmentally responsible service.

At the seminar the City & Guilds will launch its new range of qualifications which aim to marry traditional vocational courses such as plumber training with emerging technologies which are geared towards sustainable energy and resource management.

As well as gearing traditional qualifications such as plumbing training towards future sustainability, City & Guilds are also introducing an entirely new range of qualifications which ensure a workforce will be in place to deal with the adverse effects of climate change which are increasingly coming to the fore. Such qualifications will include the operation of snow and ice clearing machinery.

Speaking before the seminar, Brid Healy, Country Manager of City & Guilds Ireland, said: “There has been much high-level and general discussion about the potential green wave of jobs which will emerge as Ireland looks to more sustainable development. However, the role that plumber training and vocational skills will play in delivering a sustainable future has not received much airing. Tomorrow’s seminar is about putting the issue of skills in our future development at the heart of policy conversations.”

If you’re looking for plumbing training courses which have one eye on the future, contact Access Training today. Our plumbing training courses have pass rates which represent some of the highest in the country. Call 0800 345 7492 for further information about our wide range of plumbing training courses.

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has reported that 1 in 5 fires in UK homes are caused by electrical installations. This worrying fact is something Access Training is now telling all the students on their electrician courses as a warning to the potentially fatal risks of lax workmanship.

The ESC has pinpointed landlords as a main area to target with their campaign for safer homes across the UK. The organisation believe that it is the vulnerable members of our society such as migrant workers who are most at risk to the danger of faulty electrical installations, as they are not as aware of the risks of coming into contact with faulty equipment. An important aspect of the electrician courses here at Access Training is to make students fully aware of the responsibility they carry.

Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs), which form an integral part of Access Training’s electrician courses, are a particular area which the Electrical Safety Council wishes to have thoroughly checked before further accidents occur. They have urged landlords to live up to and fully understand their legal responsibilities towards the individuals occupying their properties. They are urging tenants to ask for a Periodic Inspection Report from their landlord, which should be produced every five years. This process includes the testing of all sockets, wiring and light fittings throughout the property. 

The electrician courses run by Access take the time to cover Periodic Inspection Reports extensively, paying particular attention to how and why the checks are conducted. The electrician courses cover exactly what you should be looking for in terms of damage and wear and tear, such as checking for damaged light fittings, signs of burning and loose sockets.

If you are interested in comprehensive, industry recognised electrician courses which teach you everything you need to know about Periodic Inspection Reports then contact Access Training today.

In an article written by Chris Simms and published by City & Guilds, the age of individuals currently undergoing City & Guild courses, including their electrical training courses, was put under the microscope. It was found that 18% of people currently undertaking courses are between the ages of 25–29. However, this decreases drastically with age, as those aged between 50-65 on City & Guilds courses count for just 8.5% of their students, whilst those over the age of 65 accounted for just 6%.

These figures contrast with the current employment figures for the UK, which shows that the number of individuals over the age of 50 and in work lies at 27%, a figure which has risen significantly over the past decade.

Simms argues that this trend of working for longer whilst undergoing less training could have severe consequences for the UK’s economy. He argued that individuals should invest more in courses, including electrical training, in an attempt to broaden the skills of those individuals of a working age. With a third of the working population expected to comprise of individuals over the age of 50 by 2020.

At Access Training we have seen a marked increase over the years in the number of people enquiring about training who are in this age bracket. They are often unsure as to whether the courses are designed for them and ask questions regarding their suitability for electrical training or training of any type. The advice we offer is clear; they should see their age as an advantage to train as they will bring a more mature approach to their work, and many customers will be more trusting of an older individual and more inclined to accept them into their properties.

Simms does allude to an attitude some employers may have, which centres on the view that the older you get the more one’s ability to learn diminishes. However, research has indicated that the opposite is in fact true: “The knowledge and skills accumulated over a lifetime can give senior individuals advantages over their younger counterparts in the learning process. Other factors often assumed to decline with age, such as memory, creative ability or problem solving abilities, can in fact be maintained or even improved through training. As for low return on investment, this simply doesn’t make sense as we move towards a world where working for 20 years after the age of 50 is not uncommon.”

It seems reasonable therefore to say to employers and to individuals themselves that investing in your future and enrolling on a course, such as our electrical training, can open up a wealth of new opportunities.

Here at Access Training individuals of any age are free to enrol on our electrical training course, or any of our courses for that matter. If you require any further information contact us today.