The four month ‘tax amnesty’ that was set up by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), where Electricians in the UK owed tax at a greatly reduced rate closed on August 14th.

Under the Electricians Tax Safe Plan which was launched on February 14th, HMRC permitted a reduced penalty charge of just 10% to electricians who had failed to pay the current levels of tax. The amnesty was for electricians who have been trained on an electrician course while other tradesmen in the UK such as plumbers and decorators still had to face penalties of up to 100%, with criminal investigation possible in the most extreme cases.

The HMRC campaign was for anyone who installs, maintains and tests electrical equipment, systems and appliances and covers all tax owed.

Marian Wilson, head of HMRC Campaigns, said: "Electricians who think they owe tax should get in touch today and get their tax affairs in order, easily and on the best terms.

"If you cannot afford to pay what you owe all at once, don't worry. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to spread the payments. Once the disclosure closes on 14th August, electricians who have not come forward but are found to have unpaid tax liabilities will face higher penalties, rising to 100% of the tax evaded, or possibly even criminal prosecution.”

The Electricians Tax Safe Plan is the second campaign aimed at tradespeople; the first targeted plumbers and heating engineers and raised an estimated £510m for HMRC.

Considering a change of career? Access will help train you in a variety of trades, with an electrician course that can give you an interesting, competitive job. For a range of flexible thorough trade training courses across the UK contact Access today on 0800 345 7492.

Thanks to the global recession and rising mortgage prices, the British housing market has well and truly undergone a bit of a slump in the past few years. However, because of these limp house prices, homeowners are choosing instead to register on a decorating course, pick up the paintbrush and improve on what they’ve got at home.

Instead of ploughing thousands of pounds into a new mortgage, investors are finding that it’s actually wiser to invest in their own skills by enrolling on a decorating course, and making the most of the home that they’re currently in.

Whether homeowners already are a dab hand with paint rollers and wallpaper paste, or have always shied away from DIY decorating, a new wave of proprietors are discovering that re-invigorating a home with desirable décor can give a living space a real fresh perspective – and what’s more, they’re enjoying it!

By learning about the latest decorating tips, trends, fads and fashions on decorating courses, homeowners and hobbyists alike are finding how to improve on what you’ve got is a prudent and effective practice.

For many, enrolling on a decorating course near them can also be the difference between doing it yourself for pennies and employing a decorating or home improvement contractor for a greatly inflated fee. Those without the confidence and the wherewithal to undertake even the simplest household improvement tasks will either live in a tawdry, downbeat home or face paying decorators a hefty fee. With a decorating course, you could save thousands by Doing It Yourself.

Re-invigorate your home today and learn various fashionable decorating techniques with a decorating course at Access. From informative home improvement, wallpapering and decorating courses to more professional qualifications and NVQs in painting and decorating, Access have a range of decorating courses to suit you.

Whether you’re looking to improve your home’s décor or start up a professional decorating service, talk to Access about enrolling on a decorating course today on 0800 345 7492.

paying tradesmen cash in hand

Paying tradesmen cash in hand is a common, convenient, and long-standing form of working. However, the government loses an estimated £2bn every year to this practice. Is it as bad a practice as it's being painted? Read on to find out.

Cash In Hand Payments

Paying tradesmen cash in hand means paying for a completed job without calculating tax. For example, if you install a new tap in someone’s bathroom, they could pay you £100 cash in hand, and you would go home with that amount in your pocket. A parent company might also do this, classifying its employees as freelancers and leaving them to sort out tax on their income alone.

This can easily lead to abuses of the system. It is much simpler, and illegal, to pocket the payments and therefore avoid taxation. Fortunately, not every graduate from plumbing courses or electrician courses works in this way. A great number of those who accept cash in hand payments are scrupulous and honest about their earnings.

However, there are tradesmen who offer ‘discounts’ for cash in hand payments, and they are an area of concern for the government. Paying tradesmen cash in hand has also been a legal method of payment for a long time now, particularly for freelance tradesmen who aren’t employed by a parent company. It is therefore difficult to police this particular issue.

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.

Corporate tax evasion is also, arguably, a far greater issue facing the UK’s economy. No corporations have been punished for tax evasion by HMRC since the Corporate Criminal Offence was introduced nearly six years ago. A corporation is likely to owe a lot more in tax than a single freelance tradesperson or construction company that may only owe a few thousand pounds.


Are you a graduate 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.

what do a gas engineers do

It can be difficult deciding which path to take in life. You’ve made the bold decision to retrain, but how do you decide where to go from there?

Currently the UK is experiencing a shortage of ‘Gas Safe’ installers, which means if you do plan on taking the plunge, now is a particularly good time to do so. Skilled workers are in demand by both domestic and commercial customers, so at least you know the work is out there. By choosing the right trades training course you will ensure you are in a strong position to land the jobs in your area.

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One thing they don’t teach you during plumber training is how to overcome the plumber stereotypes prevalent in British society. No matter how much plumber training you have undergone, no matter how hard you have worked or how considerate, cost-effective and industrious you are – chances are you’re going to be put in a little box marked “Inconsiderate, over-priced, lazy rip-off merchant’!

A new study has shown that British preconceptions of plumbers are not shifting – in fact they are stagnating. The survey asked homeowners a series of questions to gauge their attitude to those in the plumbing industry. The findings were pretty disappointing – especially in the 21st Century when stereotyping of any kind is out-dated and narrow-minded.

Only one in eight of those polled believed that plumbing training creates highly qualified professionals. Meanwhile, only one in six women said that they viewed plumbers as polite and 15% of respondents said that, yes, they still associated plumbers with an unsightly builders’ bum.

This research might be disheartening, but other facts revealed during the study are actually very good news for those embarking on plumbing training courses. For starters, the vast majority of those asked claimed that they had absolutely no idea how to fix basic plumbing issues in their homes. The need for plumbers, therefore, is great and no matter what preconceptions the public might have of those in the plumbing business, there is plenty of opportunity to change their minds!

If you’d like to be that plumber who challenges stereotypes and offers a great service which is of real value to clients, Access offer the plumbing training necessary to prepare you for a life in the plumbing profession. We offer flexible, thorough plumbing training courses to help you start your journey into a bright future. Call today for more information on 0800 345 7492.

It’s time to say goodbye to knot tying, stamp collecting and campfire building – the Scouts are now chasing down a new generation of badges for their uniforms. From P.R. and plumbing training to electrical rewiring and aeronautics, Scouts “2.0” are now offering awards in hands-on practical life skills which will equip their members for working life, apprenticeships and University.

It appears that it isn’t necessarily scout leaders who are pushing these changes – the numbers of scouts choosing practical awards like plumbing training, compared to the numbers choosing to pursue more traditional badges for activities like angling,  are very revealing. There seems to be real drive amongst young scouts to gather skills which will set them in good stead in their adult lives.

Here are a few revealing figures from the latest data:

  • 42,888 I.T. badges were awarded to beavers, cubs and scouts in 2011
  • 10,750 fire safety badges were awarded to scouts over the last year
  • Just 588 caving badges and 962 angling badges were awarded to scouts in the same period

Whilst it’s great to see young people taking control of their own futures, some may feel nostalgic for the days when being a scout was all about fun, wholesome outdoors activities like orienteering, hill walking and camping. Whilst it’s absolutely great to get a head start with your career and really explore your options, there is plenty of time to enrol on plumbing training courses or pursue a career in P.R..

Interestingly, 2011 was also the year in which the number of new female scouts exceeded the male scouts. 4,330 new girl scouts were enrolled last year, compared to 3,796 new boy scouts. It is tempting to see this as a real positive change which could have great consequences for equality and diversity in the once male-dominated trades.

If you’re a little too old for the scouts and want to really make a good start on a plumbing training course, Access Training offer flexible, City & Guilds accredited plumbing training to equip you for a bright future as plumber. If you’d like to learn more about our plumbing training, please browse the rest of the website or call our knowledgeable team on 0800 345 7492 today.

On Thursday the 1st March 2012, Cardiff City Stadium will be hosting an exciting free seminar that will introduce lots of businesses and tradespeople to the Government’s ‘Green Deal’ initiative. This initiative is set to bring a whole host of ecological, environmental and cost benefits to a wide range of tradespeople, including those who have qualified on plumber courses, electrician courses and many more vocational courses.

The Green Deal is likely to bring many fantastic schemes and opportunities to businesses and tradespeople who are prepared to ‘Go Green’.  The overall aim of the initiative is to improve energy efficiency and boost savings. From plumber courses to electrician courses, all manner of vocational courses now teach their students to install energy and water saving equipment and how to ensure all work done is performed in an environmentally friendly way. The Green Deal aims to take advantage of these skills which are out there in the workplace in order to save people money and improve the UK’s carbon footprint.

The seminar, which begins at 9am on Thursday and will last for around 3 and a half hours, aims to introduce businesses and tradespeople to the opportunities out there which the Green Deal will open up. Attending will allow those who have taken plumber courses and electrician courses to discover the new directions in which their industries are heading. Attendees will also learn about the possibilities which are likely to open up under the Green Deal initiative as well as the advice, training, support and information out there waiting to be taken advantage of.

The speakers will include spokespeople from companies already involved in the Green sector in a wide range of capacities. If you are looking to discover where your trade fits into a Green future, this is the perfect learning opportunity.

In the meantime, if you are looking for plumber courses or electrical courses which will equip you for the future of your chosen industry, Access Training offer City & Guilds accredited plumber and electrical courses which are both flexible and forward thinking. Call 0800 345 7492 today to speak to one of our friendly advisers.

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.

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