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 recent, tragic death of two-year-old Kristiana Logina after she was scalded by a too-hot shower has prompted calls across the plumbing industry to ensure plumber courses teach students to properly recommend and fit TMVs (Thermostatic Mixing Valves). Many people believe that refresher plumber courses should be given to ensure those who enrolled on plumber courses many years ago have up-to-date knowledge to help them regulate bath and shower temperatures using current equipment.

According to statistics, more than 50 UK citizens have been killed by scalding in the past 5 years. Sadly, the victims of these terrible events tend to be the most vulnerable: the young, the elderly and the disabled. Figures show that, in the same time frame, 800 others have been severely injured and scarred by scalding.

These numbers make upsetting reading, especially since these accidents are all too avoidable in this day and age. Anyone who has recently taken plumber courses ought to know how to regulate water temperature using TMVs and all plumber courses should now be advising the installation of TMVs to all clients in line with the new Bathroom Academy guidelines. Anyone embarking on plumber courses will now be made aware that 2010 Building Regulations Approved Document G requires the installation of a TMV in all new bath installations.

Unfortunately these recent rules do not require TMV installations for showers and many industry experts believe that this needs to change and become law too.

If you want to learn more about TMV installation, or want to refresh your plumbing skillset, Access Training offer thorough plumber courses which make sure their students have all the up-to-date-industry knowledge to ensure the safety of their future clients.

According to Yvonne Orgill, Chief Executive of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association: “There is no excuse” for such tragic and avoidable accidents to occur. So ensure you have all the necessary plumber courses under your belt to work safely and to the best of your abilities.

Put the spark back into your career; Part P electrician courses are a fantastic way to add electrical work to your toolkit. Whether you’re a plumber, gas engineer, builder or landscape gardener by trade, Part P electrician courses can quickly qualify you to provide electrical work as part of your service. You’ll need to have completed Part P electrician courses if you intend to do electrical work in any of the following:


•    Domestic areas (houses, apartments, flats etc.)
•    Combined domestic and commercial areas (pubs, shops etc.)
•    Common access areas and shared amenities in flats (excluding lifts)
•    Outbuildings (sheds, garages etc.)
•    Gardens
•    Extensions and loft conversions

Of course, without taking Part P electrician courses you can do electrical work but, after you’ve completed it, you’ll need to notify Building Control, organise an inspection and have your work tested and certified. This could cost hundreds of pounds. Meanwhile, if you’re a tradesperson, Part P electrician courses can be claimed against your tax, rendering them free in many cases.


Part P electrician courses can really expand your horizons, and your bank balance! Many jobs that tradespeople carry out in domestic and commercial properties will involve the use of an electrician and, if you’re qualified to carry out electrical work yourself, you’ll be able to make a profit for yourself and a saving (of both time and money) for your client.

The Part P electrician courses offered by our experts at Access will equip you, in just two weeks, to safely and competently handle a number of common electrical repairs and installations. Whether you’re a plumber installing an electrical shower, or a landscape gardener looking to set up garden heaters or lighters, our Part P electrician courses can help you do just that, without the need for an electrician.

Earn more, save time and money and expand your business. Explore our Part P electrician courses today. For more information visit our Part P Course page or call 0800 345 7492 today.

If you are looking to leave the army and start a new career, you’ll need a whole new skill set. You’ll probably have heard about ELCs (Enhanced Learning Credits), IRTC grants (Individual Resettlement Training Cost), GRT (Graduated Resettlement Time) and a whole host of other three letter acronyms. But what does it all mean and how can you use all of these resources to start a new career and a new life after leaving the armed services?

Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at retraining in trades for ex-services personnel, so keep your eyes peeled for our blogs and articles aimed at getting you the best training and making the most of the excellent retraining resources the army supplies. In this article we’ll be looking at exactly what ELCs, IRTC grants and GRT are and how you can use them to learn a trade in preparation for your civilian life.

What are Enhanced Learning Credits (ELCs)?

ELCs or Enhanced Learning Credits are a form of financial support for servicemen and women who want to take up further education or retrain in a new profession when they leave the army. Here are the key things you need to know about ELCs:

1.    ELCs are available for three separate years; these years do not have to be consecutive and can be used at any point in the decade after you have left the army.

2.    There are two levels of ELCs. The lower level entitles you to £1,000 per year, which can be claimed after four years of service. The higher level entitles you to £2,000 per year and is available after eight years of service.

3.    All courses your ELCs are spent on must be delivered by an authorised provider and must be a nationally recognised level 3 qualification or above. This may include but is not limited to:

•    Overseas qualifications
•    Postgraduate qualifications
•    Foundation degrees
•    Vocational training
•    Other academic qualifications

4.
    ELCs cannot be used to pay for books and materials, travel, accommodation and food required during the training. However, IRTC grants can be used for these purposes and can be used at the same time as your ELCs. Read more about this below.

What are Individual Resettlement Training Cost (IRTC) Grants?

IRTCs or Individual Resettlement Training Costs are another form of financial support for ex-army personnel who want to retrain or get back into education after six years of service. Many people do not realise that IRTCs can be used at the same time as ELCs, but in fact this is a very good way of making the most of your allowances and resources.

IRTC grants are tax-free and entitle you to £534 to be spent on an approved course. A further benefit of £80 a day can be provided to be spent on accommodation and an added £25 can be given to spend on daily food requirements.

Because the yearly £1,000-£2,000 ELCs (Enhanced Learning Credits) are not always enough to cover the cost of a quality, nationally approved training course, many training providers will provide both food and accommodation along with the one-off £534, and use the surplus accommodation and food allowances to cover the rest of the courses cost. This makes great training courses affordable for ex-servicemen and women and keeps them fed and housed for the duration too.

This combination of ELCs and IRTCs is not handled by all training providers but there are a number of excellent vocational training providers, Access included, who are highly-rated by the army because they do a brilliant job of retraining ex-army personnel in this way.

What is Graduated Resettlement Time (GRT)?
Graduated Resettlement Time (GRT) is leave allowance given to army personnel which they can use to prepare for life outside the army. Depending on your years of service, you will be entitled to a different number of GRT days.

No GRT is allotted to military personnel who have been serving for less than six years. After six years the time allotted is as follows:

Years of Service1 GRT Days Allotted
6+ Years 20 Days
8+ Years 25 Days
12+ Years 30 Days
16+ Years 35 Days

If you have to leave the army on medical discharge your GRT days are more generous and start from your very first year of service.

So What’s Next?

Now you know the basics about how the key army resources for retraining can fit together, you now need to decide what you want to do and put all this information into practice. Many ex-servicemen and women take up a trade after leaving the army; to do this you will need to train in your chosen field. Access is a vocational training provider with close links to the services. We allow you to use your ELCs and IRTCs to their full advantage whilst the flexibility of our courses allows you to use your GRT to learn in tandem with your current career.

To learn more about the huge range of vocational courses that Access provide for servicemen and women, visit the rest of our website or call one of our experienced and knowledgeable team on 0800 345 7492 today, and take the first step on your brand new career ladder!

If you are a keen DIY enthusiast you may be considering enrolling on a plumbing training course, but although there are many plumbing tasks you need specialist plumbing training for, there are lots of DIY plumbing tasks you can deal with without plumbing training! Here is Access’s free plumbing training!

Today we’ll be talking you though some of the basic tenants of DIY plumbing, these are some simple tips to help you keep your home plumbing in shipshape condition, without necessarily hiring a plumber or taking a plumbing training course:

1.    Avoid Frozen Pipes

With cold weather on its way, one of our key plumbing training tips is to watch out for frozen pipes! Frozen pipes can be a major problem despite the fact that they are simple to avoid. If you have external pipes, or pipes which run along external walls (often in cellars and attics). Ensure that these pipes are properly insulated, or, if they are not, use the isolation valve at your water supply to isolate and drain them thoroughly before the cold weather hits and causes problems!

2.    Check your Machine Hoses

Another great plumbing training tip which will help keep your home plumbing running perfectly is to check your machine hoses at least yearly. Machine hoses are the pipes which connect your plumbing to your white goods like washing machines and dishwashers. Give them a good once over, once yearly, to check for wear and tear like holes or drips.

3.    Don’t Be a Soft Touch with Hard Water

Hard water damage can be a challenge even for plumbers with expert plumbing training. That is the reason that one of our top plumbing training tips is to take regular preventative action against hard water. Hard water causes limescale build up so make sure you regularly dose showerheads, taps, washing machines and dishwashers with a limescale remover (or even just vinegar!) to keep your plumbing in good nick.

4.    Don’t Be a Drip

Deal with drips immediately! It may seem daunting if you do not have professional plumbing training but you can deal with some drips yourself.  Once you have located the source of your drip either set about repairing it yourself by replacing the leaking pipe, washer or valve, or contact a plumber with the right plumbing training to do it for you. Tackling the drip immediately will save your plumber time and you money!

5.    Know Your Valves

No matter how much plumbing training you have, one of the most important online plumbing training tips we can give you is to know your valves! If you know where your valves are, and which ones do what, you will be equipped to immediately deal with any plumbing emergencies you may have, even if you don’t have plumbing training. The most important valve to locate is your stopcock. If you know where your stopcock is you can cut your water supply immediately during a plumbing emergency! If you have the time and inclination, go around your house and label each valve so you know which ones to use if something goes wrong.

If this article has gotten you interested in enrolling on a real plumbing training course you can study plumbing training at your own pace from anywhere in the UK using one of our plumbing training options. To find out more about the plumbing training courses Access can offer, browse our informative website or call our team on 0800 345 7492 now!

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