In a positive news story from Manchester’s Marketing and Business Development (MBD), it has been reported that the decline in the UK bathroom industry only actually fell by 2% in 2010, far less than initially feared. This comes as refreshing news for those currently on plumbing courses as well as plumbing course graduates, and halts a far greater decrease compared with the previous two years. Many plumbing course graduates had switched to fault finding and repair tasks, as demand for bathroom installation had declined so drastically. 

The MBD remained optimistic for the future of the plumbing industry, reporting its worth at £1.9bn in 2010, and looking towards the future, forecasts anticipate the market will increase year on year up until 2015, with demand predicted to increase by 3% in 2011.

Marketing and Business Development commented: “We expect the market to increase by a cumulative 26% between 2010 and 2015, taking it to just under £2.5bn. At 2010 prices, baths will represent £429m of the total industry, toilets £289m, basins £235m, bidets £17m and enclosures £182m.” These figures show that plumbing courses graduates should be ploughing fertile ground over the next few years, with many high street DIY retailers requiring additional bathroom fitters to join their ranks.

So what does this mean for plumbing courses graduates and bathroom fitting students currently in training? Well it appears there will be a wealth of work available, even with the small decline seen over the past year. And with the anticipated surge in demand for new bathroom installation over the coming years, the future really does look rosy.

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.

The Joint Industry Board (JIB) has recently published its 2010 Labour Report, giving us an inside look into the short, medium and long term employee developments within the electrical industry. The positive elements of the report include the stability of employment in the electrical industry as a whole, even amidst the harsh economic conditions we are currently experiencing; 48% of employees have been with their current employer for five years or more, with a staggering 19% having been with the same company for over 25 years. This goes to show that if you are considering enrolling on electrical courses, you will be entering into a stable and recession proof career. 

One potential drawback (but a benefit for those wishing to become an electrician) is that the age profile of individuals in many sectors of the electrical and construction industry is steadily on the rise. The average age of a JIB electrician currently stands at 41, which in itself is no problem at all, it’s the number of employees over the age of 61 which raises concerns. This figure has more than doubled in the last ten years, highlighting the fact that the skills shortage is only going to worsen over the coming years as more and more electricians retire.

With a significant skills shortage already existing in the industry and with the prospect of a good proportion of those electricians retiring in the next few years, there really is no better time to shop around for electrical courses. The future really does look bright for aspiring electricians.

If you are interested in changing careers and becoming an electrician, here at Access Training we have a wide range of electrical courses for you to choose from, so you can find the perfect course for you.

Now that the Conservative and Liberal Democratic coalition government has its feet firmly under the table, we wait with baited breath to witness the effects of cuts in government spending being made across the board. The cuts, although severe, don’t seem as though they will reach the rumoured 30 or 40 percent which sections of the press were reporting. We sincerely hope it stays this way so you can survive this period of uncertainty unscathed. 

However, there is a positive element to the cuts. The drive for public sector efficiencies aims to reduce red tape, helping to ease the cost of running a business. This will include the review of established regulations, which can only be good news for those individuals who are keen to set up their own businesses and become qualified and established self employed tradesmen.

One concerning aspect is the review currently being undertaken regards current Building Regulations, and in particular, the section which affects domestic electrical installations. An example of such a review includes the Approved Document P, or simply Part P, as most people will know it.  Phil Buckle, Director General of the Electrical Safety Council, spoke about the importance of attending electrical training, and particularly the appropriate electrical training to gain the all important Part P electrical qualifications: “It is the Electrical Safety Council’s View, that the removal of Part P would be detrimental to electrical safety.

“While we have an excellent safety record of fixed electrical installations in the UK, there are currently no controls in existence for those individuals wishing to undertake certain types of electrical work. It is feared that this could lead to an explosion in DIY projects, as the finances in many households are currently tight. This would negate the efforts of recent years to improve the safety of electrical installations in homes throughout the UK”.

The ESC has been made aware that certain unqualified individuals are having their electrical work ‘signed off’ by registered installers. It goes without saying that this practice represents a huge risk, and could easily lead to injury or even death. 

The conclusions we can draw are thus: if you are ‘Part P Qualified’ and are a registered Domestic Electrical Installer, or have become a registered member of a competent person scheme, the risks are yours if you decide to sign off any individual’s work. Take note: If an accident does occur, the Health and Safety Executive may well look to prosecute as it is deemed to be your responsibility under Part P of the Building Regulations.

Secondly, attending formal electrical training and becoming ‘Part P Qualified’ represents a worthwhile investment for anyone wishing to carry out electrical installations in homes. It is a legal requirement to do so, so don’t be one of the misguided few who persist in avoiding regulation.

Here at Access Training you can become Part P Qualified in no time at all. Just view our wide range of electrical training courses and choose the one which is most appropriate to the type of work you wish to carry out. What’s more, you can offset the cost of training against your tax bill; call us for more details.

According to recent research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), companies looking to recruit staff with a high level of trade skills are still coming across the same stumbling block - they are at a distinctly short supply.

The report found that more than three quarters of construction related companies surveyed complained of a trade skills shortage.  They stated that the most difficult candidates to recruit were craft and trade skills workers, with a third of respondents admitting they were ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’ to find and hire as they are in such a short supply.

The CIOB’s deputy chief executive, Michael Brown, said: “There is still a skills shortage in the industry... no one knows what is around the corner. It will hit the industry twice as hard when we recover from the downturn as there will be a marked shortage of skills, even though we are currently operating at well below capacity.”

Interestingly, apprenticeships are currently struggling to fill the chasm in the trade skills gap. More than a third of those firms consulted during the survey employ apprentices; however, 44% currently do not do so, with 11% declaring their firm would be cutting back on the amount of people they were putting through trades training due to the testing economic conditions. However, the overall conclusion was that a third of respondents believed craft and skilled trades people were difficult to hire.

One comment made by a contributor elaborated thus: “We do not have problems attracting [apprenticeship] candidates, but unfortunately not everybody applying is of the required standard. Part of the problem is that the careers advice currently on offer seems to portray construction as a one level industry.” It seems that the best quality of candidate is not always attracted into the trades. Indeed, of the firms that do hire apprentices, 30% believed the number of individuals attracted into the industry had decreased.

This is very interesting news for adult learners and those looking into trades training as a career option. The message is loud and clear; there remains a huge skills gap with widespread opportunities available. Employers currently cannot attract the desired quality of individual, and apprenticeships are failing to fill the gap.

Here at Access Training, we teach a comprehensive range of industry recognised trade skills, which will help you secure a more lucrative and rewarding career. Contact Access Training today on 0800 345 7492.

Source: The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and www.Voltimum.co.uk

We are regularly asked various questions regarding the two City & Guilds Inspection and Testing Courses, as there seems to be some confusion as to exactly what each course entails. Access Training is here to clear this up:

  • I want to inspect & test but which qualification do I need?
  • What’s the difference between the City & Guilds 2391-10 and the City & Guilds 2392-10?
  • I have some basic experience of inspection and testing but I want to be able to issue Landlord Certificates, so which qualification is best for me?
  • Do I have enough experience to undertake the inspection and testing qualifications?
  • What does the 2392-10 qualification qualify me to do?

By way of general advice, we will now endeavour to outline these two important City & Guilds qualifications, which are appropriate for electricians, inspectors and other persons requiring training and qualifications in inspection and testing.

The two City & Guilds qualifications relating to electrical installations are:

The 2392-10 City & Guilds Level 2 Certificate in Fundamental Inspection, Testing and Initial Verification.

The 2391-10 City & Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Inspection, Testing and Certification of Electrical Installations.

Firstly you will notice the words highlighted in bold above; these show the subtle differences in the courses which are often missed. What becomes immediately clear is that one of the courses directly leads to the other; let’s elaborate on that point further:

The first qualification, the 2392-10, is a level 2 electrical qualification, which was developed to meet the needs of the electrical industry and for electrical training centres as a means of introducing students to the basics. It is also the perfect course to serve electricians, giving them the very best possible chance when naturally progressing onto the 2391-10. This is the qualification, which after completion allows you to ‘certify electrical installations’. The 2392-10 alone does not certify you to do this.

However, the main reason for this course being introduced was that the pass rate for the 2391 full inspection and testing examination was only around 40%, as many found the leap in understanding to be too great. Directly compare this to Access Training’s students pass rate of 72% for the 2391-10, if they have previously attended the 2392-10.

This proves that by passing the Fundamentals of Inspection and Testing in the first instance, your chances of achieving the lucrative 2391 Inspection and Testing qualification are nearly doubled!

In summary, the 2392-10 is suitable for those with limited experience or those with only basic prior knowledge of electrical principles (as taught on Access Training’s Professional Electrical Course and Advanced Electrical Course), and is a purpose designed lead-in to the full City and Guilds 2391-10 Inspection and Testing, giving you a much greater chance of successfully achieving the qualification.

The second qualification is the full name for City & Guilds 2391-10 Inspection & Testing qualification, which is the one you ultimately want to achieve. It is a more advanced electrical course and is a qualification which allows you to test and inspect domestic, commercial and industrial electrical installations – in layman’s terms, issuing Landlord Certificates.

As City & Guilds states, it is a Level 3 electrical course, and therefore has a relatively high degree of difficulty. Some practicing electricians make a concerted effort to avoid this qualification due to its infamy! Enquire about our course and we’ll explain why these fears can be easily allayed. 

To surmise, our advice is simple: unless you are fully aware of the level of expertise involved with achieving the 2391-10 Inspection & Testing qualification, or have previous extensive experience of inspection & testing practices, then you should achieve the 2392-10 Fundamentals of Inspection & Testing first. Although the 2392-10 doesn’t allow you to carry out any specific work as such, it dramatically increases your chances of passing the 2391-10, leading to a far better understanding of the inspection and testing process.

For specific information on the courses discussed in this article, click on the links below or call Access Training now on 0800 345 7492.

The 2392-10 City & Guilds Level 2 Certificate in Fundamental Inspection, Testing and Initial Verification.

The 2391-10 City & Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Inspection, Testing and Certification of Electrical Installations.

If you are reading this post you are doubtless aware of the continuing debate surrounding the future of Part P and whether or not it is sufficient to meet the demands of the electrical industry, and more importantly, of the general public.

Electricians across the spectrum seem to be divided about its effectiveness, unable to agree as to whether the current electrical building regulations go far enough, or simply create a vacuum within the industry. Since the coalition government took power the regulations have been caught up in the political undercurrents which have been circulating a number of government departments.

The debate will certainly go on, but the merits of Part P of the building regulations received a ringing endorsement last month from comments made by Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety Council, who said, “I certainly agree Part P has not been seen as the electrician’s friend, but it has certainly brought about benefits for the consumer.

“As a contributing factor towards improved safety, the Council will continue to lobby Westminster for its retention. We have also made our support for Part P clear at the party conferences held in the autumn of 2010. We have already sent comments to the Minister, Andrew Stunell, as part of an initial review of the building regulations. Our entire raison d’être [at the Electrical Safety Council] is to ensure the safety of all users of electricity. It would not be acceptable to the ESC if we were to allow a vacuum whereby untrained individuals could undertake electrical work without checks – this would surely be the case if Part P were scrapped.”

There seems little doubt that with the might of the Electrical Safety Council behind it, and in conjunction with associated bodies such as the NICEIC, Part P will remain in place, continuing to protect the general public from the dangers of unchecked electrical work in domestic properties.

If you’re an electrician or tradesperson undertaking electrical work in a domestic environment, it is essential to ensure your conformation with Part P of the building regulations. We would also highly recommend joining a Competent Person Scheme such as the NICEIC.

If you would like to learn more about the Part P electrical courses offered by Access Training, or you’d like to know more about the NICEIC, call us today on 0800 345 7492.

In a previous news entry we discussed the confusion or lack of general awareness centring on the new Gas Safe Register, and the potential gas safety problems which can occur when you employ tradesmen who are not properly registered. In recent months, it has come to light that even more serious electrical problems are looming…

Back in January 2005, the government introduced new legislation regulating electrical installation work carried out in houses and gardens. This came after a number of electrical injuries (750) and deaths (10), which occurred as a direct result of poor electrical wiring. There existed a common misconception that electrical work could be carried out, without the relevant electrical training or expertise, within the home. These yearly figures are disturbing enough; however, add these to the 2,336 house fires caused by incorrect electrical installation and the picture painted becomes far more menacing.

There is a distinct lack of general awareness amongst the public, and disturbingly amongst trades people themselves. Part P of the building regulations explains why the dangers of electrical shocks from faulty electrical work are so widespread. As an example, in 2008, the Electrical Safety Council reported that a serious incident occurred when a woman was electrocuted following the redecoration of a room in her house. The woman received a fatal electrical shock when her decorator, who was not compliant with Part P of the regulations, replaced some electrical sockets with those of a different style. The woman was electrocuted when she picked up a metal lamp which had become live, whilst touching another lamp that was earthed. In this instance, despite the work not complying with Part P, the Crown Prosecution Service decided that there were no grounds to prosecute the decorator; however, the message is stark: you must comply with Part P and notify Building Control of your local authority when you carry out repairs, replacements, maintenance work or add extra power or lighting points to existing circuits. They will then send an inspector to assess the work and provide you with a certificate to confirm the work fully complies.

It is still possible to be registered to carry out electrical work without the need to inform Building Control, and still be compliant with Part P. This can be achieved by becoming a member of a competent person scheme, such as the NICEIC. A short electrical training course with us here at Access Training will teach you everything you need to know.  We can also put you in touch with the NICEIC to start the registration process as a domestic electrician. This will give kitchen fitters, carpenters, decorators, plumbers, plasterers, general builders and even keen DIYers the training and competence they need.

To find out more about the comprehensive Part P electrical courses we offer here at Access, call us today on 0800 345 7492. We can have you registered with the NCIEC in no time as a fully signed up member of the Competent Person Scheme.

Believe it or not, despite all the extensive media coverage at the time, many people are still unaware that the Corgi accreditation, which regulated the work carried out by gas fitters, has now been replaced by Gas Safe.

The Corgi Register changed to the Gas Safe Register back in September of 2008, after the HSE conducted a study which established the need for a new system to cope with the increase in the number of homes using gas in the UK (about 21 million). More importantly, it was designed to improve the statistics for death and injury resulting from gas installations. It was felt that a new Gas Safe Register would increase public awareness about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Stephen Manley, an Inspector for the HSE, referred to the need for more people to be aware of the change from Corgi Registration to Gas Safe Registration: “It is illegal for an unregistered person to carry out work on a gas appliance. When unqualified workers try to bypass the law in this way they are not only putting themselves at risk of prosecution and a large fine, they are also putting their customers' lives at risk.

"Working with gas appliances requires a great deal of skill and knowledge, it is also potentially very dangerous. Only qualified and registered engineers should attempt it.

Paul Johnston, the Chief Executive of the Gas Safe Register, commented: "To fit, fix or service gas appliances… that person [needs to be] Gas Safe Registered [not Corgi Registered]. You shouldn't take any risks; badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause fires, explosions, gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning".

So, if you are looking to become qualified as a gas fitter, you need to become Gas Safe Registered. Access Training offer the simplest way to get Gas Safe Registered quickly and safely; our gas training courses come with a guaranteed work placement with a reputable Gas Safe Registered company, giving you the skills and confidence to fit gas appliances safely. However, just remember that it’s the Gas Safe Register and not the Corgi Register you really need to be a part of.

For comprehensive training enabling you to become Gas Safe Registered, contact Access Training today on 0800 345 7492. We have an enormous range of industry accredited trades training courses, which will teach you everything you need to know.

Vocational Courses

There are expected to be in the region of 230,000 disappointed young people missing out on a university place this year, damaging their hopes for a rewarding job, and in their view, affecting their future earning ability.

But is this truly the case? What about the wealth of vocational training options available which can lead to an extremely rewarding and lucrative career?

Vocational courses lead to higher-paying jobs

The median salary for graduates is £23,000*, which compares poorly to the average salary for an electrician in the UK, which currently sits at £31,701*.

Vocational courses cost less than university courses

At time of writing, university fees stand at £3290 per year, rising to £9000 in a year’s time. That’s £27,000 for a three year course (without the inclusion of living expenses).

For that price you could gain dozens of industry-recognised vocational qualifications, including plumbing and electrical awards, as well as becoming Gas Safe qualified and registered, with bags of money remaining to buy your first van and all your tools!

There aren't enough university places to go around

To add to the strain for university places, these potential students are also coming under pressure from competition for places from the EU, with applications for places rising by 8% already this year. It stands to reason that with the much vilified 2012 rise in fees, many more applications are being received per place as an attempt to beat the price hike, but to what end?

The surge in applicants shows a further increase on the quarter of a million that applied for a university position last year, with one in three unable to gain a place.

However, this needn’t be the end of the world; in fact it can be the start of a whole new successful chapter of an individual’s life. Vocational alternatives such as plumbing, electrical and gas courses are readily available. The Government recently announced their intention to set up 40 new university technical colleges (UTCs); however, this news was lost amongst the furore of the tuition fee protests. Such careers are extremely worthy alternatives to a university education, especially given the current skills gap in the country (which has existed for decades).    

Even EAL, the organisation which awards vocational qualifications across sectors including plumbing, electrical and gas, has called for an end to what it rightly describes as snobbery against vocational courses.

Sally Hunt, General Secretary of the University and College Union, has said:

"Our Government seems intent on ignoring the global trend of increasing access to university, which will see thousands of applicants denied the chance to fulfil their potential."

However, Hunt doesn’t acknowledge that an individual’s potential can still be fulfilled through vocational courses.

So if you want to save your money, study for less time, and develop the technical ability and skill to earn many times what a graduate would expect to earn, all without the vast huge amounts of debt, a vocational course may be the way to go. We offer a variety of vocational courses here at Access Training - browse our latest training packages here.

*Sources: www.salarytrack.co.uk and www.mysalary.co.uk

In an article entitled "Making Life Child Friendly", the South Wales Echo featured a number of our former electrical and plumbing training pupils. 

"As parents continue to feel the pinch, more and more are looking at new ways of making money while spending time with their families as well, as Cathy Owen discovered

For Sean Gully family always come first and it is the main reason he decided on a complete career change.

The dad-of-two, from Llanishen, Cardiff, had been working in IT sales, selling document management solutions.

He covered large areas of England and Wales, so it meant a lot of travelling away from his family. Work was also starting to dry up because of the recession.

 “With a wife and two daughters to support I felt it was time to get a trade and find a career where I could almost guarantee myself work wherever I went,” said the 45-year-old, who is originally from Australia.

“After some research I found that electricians were in high demand.”

He went on an Access Training course and is now working as a self-employed electrician and has a contract with an estate agent"....Read the full story

As usual, the year has raced by and 2011 is upon us before we even contemplated its existence. Well according to a survey on Gocompare.com, over 27 million people will make a New Year’s resolution to change their lives for the better. This figure equates to around half of Brits who are looking to make changes in their lives in some way. The survey identified the specific personal changes many individuals wished to make. 55% said they wanted to lose weight; 49% wanted to exercise more and 44% of people were keen to improve their financial outlook. 16% responded that they would be looking for a new job. That’s nearly 12 Million people looking to improve their finances, and over 4 Million people looking for a new career. It’s also an awful lot of people wanting to lose weight, but it’s probably best if we leave that for now. 

The turning of the year represents a time of change for many people whose money worries are likely to grow with the recent VAT hike and the astronomical cost of fuel, public sector cuts and the poorly performing economy. What is sure is a career change into a job that increases your job security and salary, whilst giving you more time to spend with your families or simply enjoying yourselves cannot be a bad thing. That’s where the specialist and comprehensive trades training provided by Access Training can help ensure you make your New Year’s resolution a reality.

If your resolution is to lose weight, then we’re sorry, it’s not really our field. However, we do have a field at the back of our state of the art training centre where you can run around until your heart’s content. It is worth noting that 54% of people didn’t believe their resolution would make it past the end of January!

So above all, health, fitness and money matters come top of the New Year’s resolution list. And there is a way to accomplish these in one fell swoop, call us at Access Training and see how we can offer you trades training for a career which will change your life for the better.

Oscar Wilde - "Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account"

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