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
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!
You don’t need intensive plumbing training to be able to solve plumbing issues around your home. This handy blog has been written to provide online plumbing training to give you an idea of the sorts of helpful skills you can pick up on real life plumbing training courses. This week we will be discussing how to cope with a leaking water pipe in your home.
In fact, temporarily repairing a burst or leaking water pipe is pretty easy, apart from our helpful online plumbing training, the only special equipment you need is a pipe repair clamp which you can buy in any DIY shop.
1. First things first, locate your leak!
It should be fairly obvious where your burst water pipe is because of the high pressure jets of water they usually cause. As you can see, specialist plumbing training isn’t really needed for this kid of task! The only complication might be if the leak has travelled and dripped along pipes or flooring, then you really just need to follow the trail of water.
2. Turn off your valve
Locate the valve which sends water to the burst pipe, or the valve which controls your whole house’s water supply, and turn the handle clockwise.
3. Use your pipe repair clamp
You really don’t need plumbing training to do this, there will be instructions on the packet! Normally you’ll simply have to place a rubber sleeve over the hole and clamp it in place.
4. Admire your handy work
Relax! Your house is now safe from a major leak.
5. Call a plumber or enrol on a plumbing training course!
Sadly this is only a temporary solution and you will need special plumbing training, or someone with the relevant plumbing training, to provide a more permanent solution by replacing the damaged section yourself. However, by using our handy plumbing training, you have bought yourself some time and saved your property from lots of nasty water damage.
If this blog has piqued your interest and you think you’d like to check out real-life, expert plumbing training courses, Access has loads of plumbing training options for experts and for beginners, from across the UK! For more information about our plumbing training courses visit the rest of our site or give our friendly helpline a call on 0800 345 7492 now!
All over the UK there appears to be something of a DIY plumbing revolution going on. Plumbing courses are becoming increasingly popular amongst layman and DIY enthusiasts. Although not quite so technical as plumbing courses, popular programmes like Kirstie’s Homemade Home are just the tip of the DIY home improvements iceberg.
The uptake in rookies taking plumbing courses is, in part, a result of the high cost of plumbing work. Taking plumbing courses and familiarising yourself with the basics is not only a great way to equip yourself to do work around your own property but also makes you a more informed customer when you need more technical plumbing work done by a professional.
Taking DIY beginner plumbing courses can prevent you from getting ripped off and will ensure that, whatever work you need done, you understand what is going on and how much it should cost.
Plumbing courses can also teach amateurs to fix their own plumbing problems around the house. Most people who have taken beginners plumbing courses find that they are able to deal with most of the more common plumbing issues in their home.
With the current economic climate what it is, and the stubbornly terrible housing market, most people are opting to improve their properties rather than move house. This is yet another reason for the increasing interest in plumbing courses for novices.
Many people who take entry level plumbing courses find that they really enjoy the hands-on, practical work that plumbing involves. There are many examples of amateur plumbers going pro after getting interested in the businesses after taking plumbing courses.
There is an upsurge in people retraining on intensive plumbing courses and giving up their previous careers. Not only is there a lot of money to be made in the industry but there is also the satisfaction of a hands on job as well as the benefit of essentially setting your own hours.
If you are interested in enrolling on beginner, or more advanced, plumbing courses Access Training UK is a great place to look. At Access Training UK we provide a huge range of plumbing courses which cater to all levels of ability and all of our plumbing courses result in an official City & Guilds approved qualification!
For more information about starting plumbing courses, no matter what your age, background, motive or availability, browse the Access Training UK website now or speak to one of our experienced advisors about which plumbing courses are best for you. Call 0800 345 7492 today.
As we reported in our last post, the net is closing in on unqualified and unscrupulous trades people, including plumbers, carpenters, electricians and general builders. The Government and CITB are pushing harder than ever for a greater level of scrutiny of the work carried out by trades people, starting with their training. They are insisting that trades people gain recognised qualifications through relevant construction courses that prove their competency and show they have the correct level of technical expertise to carry out their work.
Meanwhile, rogue traders are being punished in the severest manner with an example reported in the Construction Enquirer on 24th June this year where Darryl Sylvester Glyn, 46, was told he must pay back £140,000 to his ‘customers’ or face a further two years behind bars. Note the phrase ‘further two years’ – he is already spending four and a half years in jail after being prosecuted by Trading Standards from Yorkshire County Council and if he does not return the money the longer sentence will be imposed.
This is an extreme example as in some cases Mr Glyn did not turn up when customers had expected him to start work, even though he had already demanded large amounts of money upfront. What is clear however is that the net is closing in on those builders, plumbers, electricians, tillers and plasterers who operate complete disregard for the best practises taught through established trades and construction courses.
For anyone looking to enter the trades market it is becoming essential to be able to prove your skills are up to the mark. Trades people who are successful in today’s savvy marketplace are fostering stronger relationships with their customers and establishing themselves through high quality work.
At Access Training we train people on construction courses and deliver trades training to those who have experience as well as those with no experience at all. No matter what your level of experience, you will be taught the same principles and values which emphasise the importance of professional qualifications and carrying out your work to a high standard.
If you are interested in any construction courses or would like further information on getting qualified in a particular trade then call us today.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is behind a new scheme aimed at reducing the risks taken by consumers when they employ a tradesman to work in their home. The aim of the scheme is to reduce the number of consumers being conned by rogue traders who produce shoddy workmanship or simply disappear with a customer’s money.
The new RICS Client Money Protection Scheme will act as a ‘referee and ombudsman’ and sit between the customer and the tradesman holding monies on larger scale works. However, whilst this is aimed at the consumer, it will be of great benefit to those people currently undertaking construction courses as well as qualified plumbers, trained electricians, certified carpenters and other trades people.
How will the scheme work?
A large deposit is held by the scheme having been paid in by the consumer and not paid directly to the builder and this money will not be released to the builder until the work is complete. There are certain caveats that both parties must adhere to - the value of the project needs to be worth more than £2000 and consumers will need to pay a small amount into a consumer protection guarantee account to begin with.
This will mean that both parties are covered in the event of any dispute as the tradesperson will be safe in the knowledge that the money has been deposited and is being held securely whilst the consumer is happy that the tradesperson will only be paid once they produce work that is satisfactory. It also protects the consumer from being pressured into paying by the tradesperson.
The man who brought this idea to life is Harvey Ellington, who spoke to mycouncillor.org.uk, ‘the concept is simple. This Escrow account is fully protected by the RICS Client Money Protection Scheme meaning your money is totally safe. This removes all the elements of risk for the consumers and traders too. Cowboy builders and rogue tradesmen will be quickly caught out. This is a major step forward for consumers in this country.’
However, tradesperson and consumers must also be aware that cowboy builders are rarely qualified. So before the consumer settles on a tradesperson they should ask them whether they are a member of any professional organisations and what qualifications or construction courses they have completed. For instance, gas engineers by law must attend relevant training and courses to become Gas Safe registered. Electricians working on domestic properties must either be working for a company or personally qualified to Part P of the Building Regulations. Most reputable electricians will also be part of a competent person scheme such as the NICEIC.
If you are a tradesperson looking for construction courses call Access training today and we’ll get you qualified quickly and efficiently.
In a recent article published in She magazine, one of the UK’s largest selling woman’s magazines, six woman were featured who had varied jobs but with one common factor... a very high salary. One such woman, Jane Graham from London, works for Pimlico Plumbers, having completed her plumbing training. She earns a quoted £75k per year. That’s £4,176 per month or £964 per week or £193 per day after tax! Not bad at all.
This just goes to show not only that women are just as suited to a career in plumbing as men, but also the tremendous financial rewards working as a plumber can bring, making plumbing training a worthwhile undertaking.
Jane Graham stated: “As I’m very hands-on I decided that university wasn’t for me, so I thought instead about training to be a plumber. It was tough being the only woman on the plumbing training course, but now I love my job with Pimlico Plumbers. In a typical day I will have three different customers, and many of my female customers are delighted to see a female plumber. There is nothing better than solving a problem and making sure the customers are happy; plus the money I earn working in this affluent area of London is a real bonus.”
Here at Access Training we have seen a marked increase (134%) in the enquiries we are receiving from women about our trades training courses, and these enquiries are fairly evenly spread between the plumbing training, electrical courses and the other trades we offer. They will usually be keen to discuss their suitability for the work, to which we always offer the same reply: a career in plumbing or any other trade for that matter is just as suited to women as it is to men.
The age old stereotypes are no longer relevant. Women can be up there with the very highest earners in the trade. Once industry recognised plumbing training has been completed men and women alike in a position to reap the financial rewards.
If you’re interested in becoming a plumber then Access Training’s plumbing training is the best way to kick start your career. Our purpose built, state of the art facilities accurately replicate scenarios will you find yourself in whilst out on the job, giving you a thorough grounding in all aspects of plumbing. Call 0800 345 7492 today.
Have a quick look at the following headline which appeared in The Sun newspaper on May 31 2011: Jobs Idea ‘Fail’
“Labour blew £180 million on a workplace qualifications scheme branded “not fit for purpose.”
Completely regardless of the political connotations of the above headline, let’s have a look at the newly conceived QCF qualifications scheme and examine just why it was such an expensive failure.
The previous government decided that the qualification structure surrounding electrical courses and other trades training needed to be changed and standardised. In reality it caused so many issues and arguments between the awarding bodies and the educational centres running the trades training and electrical courses that the whole scheme had to be shelved. The ill fated qualifications were scrapped just before they were due to go live wasting a lot of time and resources.
The Sun article stated: “Official figures reveal the huge level of funding by the last government for the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). But an independent review of electrical courses and other vocational courses this year called it ‘entirely inappropriate’.
“Professor Alison Wolf, who published the critical dossier, said the QCF had no relevance for learners ‘likely to switch jobs and entering decades of employment in a rapidly changing economy’.
“Her report went on: “This should not be the main, let alone the only, type of vocational qualification offered. Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi, who uncovered the bill, said: Labour simply doesn’t understand what employers want.”
So what does this mean for those individuals considering training courses such as resettlement training, gas, plumbing or electrical courses? Absolutely nothing. It merely ensures that the current tried and tested qualifications and methods of training remain the same. For example, City & Guilds electrical courses are still the courses to look for if you wish to qualify to complete domestic, commercial and industrial electrical installations.
You can therefore rest assured that the electrical courses offered here at Access Training are the most up to date available, allowing you the opportunity to gain qualifications recognised and respected throughout the industry. If you are looking for all encompassing electrical courses, or you are just starting out and looking for something at more of a beginner’s level, here at Access Training we have something for everyone.
The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has just published a survey stating that women may be at greater risk than men of having an electric shock whilst working in the garden as they have not heard of an RCD (Residual Current Device), something covered in all electrical courses. The report published by the ECS was derived from Government data which found that 70 people a year die from accidents in and around UK homes and that if an RCD was fitted it could have prevented some of these accidents. If you have attended an electrical course with us then you will understand the importance of RCDs already but to those who don’t know it appears they could be putting themselves at some risk through a simple lack of understanding.
So what is an RCD? The ESC website gives a wealth of information regarding this but essentially it is a sensitive switch device that trips (or switches off) if there is a fault. An RCD protects people against the risks of electrocution and fire caused by an earth fault, an area that is covered on our electrical courses. The most obvious scenario for this being that a cable is cut when mowing the lawn. Obviously this situation could occur this coming weekend of all weekends as a bank holiday means more people will be working in the garden preparing lawns, flower beds and hedge rows for the summer. No doubt many people will be using electrical devices such as mowers and hedge trimmers for the first time this year. An RCD would protect the user if the device was faulty and the appliance overheats causing electric current to flow to earth.
The ECA found that almost 50% of the women surveyed for the report have either never used (23%) or never actually heard of an RCD and what it does (26%). Surprisingly however, women were less likely than men to appreciate the dangers of using electrical equipment in the garden. A Mori Poll also reported that 25% of women have actually experienced at least one electric shock in the garden during their lifetime which should be a reminder to us all of the potential dangers over this coming bank holiday weekend.
Access Training’s electrical courses teach the importance of RCDs and explains the application, installation and testing of these devices during the electrical course curriculums with the emphasis being that it teaches you to work that at all times you must work safely after attending a domestic electrical course.
After our last post regarding how the proposed changes to Government red tape are likely to affect electrical courses graduates, it has become apparent that there is widespread confusion among many of our current electrical courses students, as well as those currently working in the trade.
So here, by way of explanation, is exactly how Part P applies:
1) You will not need to notify your local authority if you do limited minor electrical work such as:
a. Replacing or repairing a socket, light or cable in a room;
b. Adding extra spurs, sockets or lights to an existing circuit (except in a kitchen, bathroom or outdoors);
c. Adding lights to an outdoor wall on an existing circuit (provided there are no exposed outdoor connections, and the circuit is not extended from a kitchen or bathroom).
2) Before you start other electrical work, you must notify your Local Authority Building Control Department, which has responsibility for ensuring the work is inspected and tested. This work includes:
a. Adding new circuits to your existing installation;
b. Any work (other than repairs / replacements) in a room where there is water (e.g. kitchen, bathroom, etc);
c. Any work (other than repairs / replacements) outdoors (e.g. installing outdoor sockets or non-pre wired garden lighting etc).
And remember, Building Control will charge you a fee. Diynot.com has some interesting discussions by contributors on this subject, such as: “My local authority charges £202 + vat for work up to £2000 and it goes up from there and they won't inspect or test - they want an EIC/MWC [electrical certificate] signed by a qualified electrician”, which essentially means the process could become very expensive.
However, when you perform any electrical installation after attending one of our electrical courses and become a member of a competent person scheme, you will be able to self certify your own work with no need to inform Building Control, thus avoiding such high costs. Therefore it makes sense to undergo electrical courses with us here at Access Training and join a Competent Person Scheme. This will ensure you are able to perform many different types of domestic electrical installation in accordance with Part P.
We hope this clears up any confusion for our present electrical courses students and for those electrical courses graduates we have taught in the past. If you require any further information regarding Part P, our electrical courses or any other of our services for that matter, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0800 345 7492.
In our last post we talked briefly about the Government’s review of current building regulations and the emphasis of Part P, as well as how this applies to those individuals undergoing electrical training. We mentioned the building regulations exercise which was conducted with over 800 direct and indirect responses which produced some interesting results. We felt it was important to inform our electrical training graduates as well as our potential electrical training students of the future of the details and timescale of any prospective changes so you know exactly what is expected of you.
The key finding is that current building regulations are far from perfect; there is plenty to be improved upon, although, for the most part, they are in pretty good shape. The Part P section of the regulations seemed to be a contentious point amongst many, especially those who have recently completed electrical training. The following viewpoints were highlighted on the Government website:
- Large-scale support for reducing cost of compliance with Part P;
- A questioning of the role of regulation and its scope e.g. why do we control what people do in their own homes (e.g. water temperature);
- Make building regulations less bureaucratic and restrictive;
- Review Part P home DIY electrical.
There was a common misunderstanding:
- Have you ever wanted to change that socket from a single socket to a double? Well you can’t, it’s illegal.
The regulations for DIYers left the following general complaint:
- Competent DIYers must pay to have work inspected by building control, or pay to have work carried out by perhaps less competent individuals who have completed the relevant electrical training.
Competent registered electricians also commented:
- Electricians who comply, register and have undergone thorough electrical training are undercut by cowboys who ignore rules and regulations
- Regulations are not enforced – cowboys are never prosecuted
There were also some broad views expressed regarding Part P rules:
- Electrical installation work in new and existing dwellings, however minor, must follow rules in BS 7671: 2001. (There is currently no technical guidance in Approved Document P)
- Riskier jobs are ‘notifiable’ and must either be:
- inspected, tested and approved by a building control body, or
- self-certified by a registered electrician who has undergone the relevant electrical training (‘Competent Person’)
- Notifiable jobs are:
- new circuits and new/ replacement consumer units
- extensions to circuits in kitchens, bathrooms and outdoors
- Repairs and replacements are not notifiable
- Rules too confusing and not well understood by general public
- High building control charges discourage notification (especially simple jobs in kitchens)
Having reviewed the responses, MP Andrew Stunell, said: “For me this is just the start of the process - their contribution has informed my programme of work for the next year, and I want to work with them further to ensure building regulations are fit for the 21st century."
The programme of reform has also now been set out with the following actions:
- Set up Building Regulations Part P Technical Working Party
- Develop proposals for amending regulations and guidance
- Prepare formal Impact Assessment
- Publish consultation document – December 2011
- Conduct formal three month consultation
- Publish analysis of responses – July 2012
- Publish amended regulations and Approved Document – October 2012
- Bring new regulations and guidance into effect – April 2013
At Access Training we will, as ever, continue to monitor and report on statements from the Government as well as electrical training awarding bodies to bring to you the latest and most up to date information. Upon reflection it appears that Part P of the building regulations will receive further scrutiny over the next few years, culminating in a more refined set of regulations being implemented in a few years time. What is certain is that Part P electrical training courses will continue to be essential for the safety of consumers and installers alike.
Here at Access Training we aim to bring you all the latest industry news for electrical training graduates and prospective students alike, so you are fully equipped to make a name for yourself as a reputable and highly skilled electrician.
Throughout 2010 the Government has been making a lot of noise about its intention to cut red tape and reform regulations across a wide range of industries. Current building regulations are to be looked at in detail to ensure they aid rather than prohibit the new Government policy of increasing the housing supply. It is also their intention to reform the planning system so it is more efficient, effective and supportive of economic development. In addition, the Government has stated that it will introduce a New Homes Bonus and will also reduce the total regulatory burden on the house building industry. This is potentially good news for individuals currently attending electrical courses, and especially those electrical courses which include the Part P elements.
In a move which was welcomed back in early 2010, MP Andrew Stunnell stated the need for free and open feedback from individuals in the construction industry as well as those running electrical courses in an attempt to streamline regulations: “I want to hear your views on how regulations can be improved, added to, or slimmed down. I would also welcome suggestions as to how we can deliver better levels of compliance in the future.”
The result of this Building Regulations Exercise was that over 200 responses were received; many from those who had recently completed electrical courses, although surprisingly not a lot of unexpected issues or suggestions arose. The conclusions we can draw at this stage will come as welcome news for those individuals currently attending electrician courses and especially for those thinking of attending electrical courses in the future, as less red tape will result in the creation of many more employment opportunities.
For those of you considering electrical courses, Access Training really should be your first choice. Our facilities are state of the art, as is the level of training our electrical courses provide. For further information call Access today on 0800 345 7492.