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essential plumbing tools

Every trade has its own set of specialist tools and equipment that's used to complete some very specific jobs. You can guarantee that an electrician's toolbox is going to look different to a plumbers toolbox, but what is all that specialist equipment and what does it do?

Well whether you're just curious or you're keen to start your plumbing training ahead of schedule, we'll talk you through the essential plumbing tools here.

 

Wrenches

wrenches

Plumbers would really struggle to do their job without the humble wrench, and you'll find wrenches of all shapes and sizes in a plumber's toolkit.

The wrenches you see above are often called pipe wrenches because they're able to wrap around and grip tightly onto pipes of varying lengths and sizes. Plumbers usually reserve these heavy-duty wrenches for pipes made of metal as they would potentially cause damage to more fragile pipework.

Other common wrench types include basin wrenches (with a long handle for reaching behind sinks), faucet valve-seat wrenches (for old stubborn seals) and allen wrenches (for securing or loosening a range of plumbing fastenings).

 

Pliers

pliers

Pliers are a common feature of a lot of toolkits, but they can be particularly useful for plumbers because they're so versatile and can be adjusted to any size! Perfect if you need a good grip on a particular pipe while you unscrew a seized fastening or attach a new fitting. 

Rib-joint pliers are also great for getting a grip on small nuts, bolts and pipes because of their small yet strong jaws. Plumbers have to be careful when using pliers not to maw the pipe or fitting they're working on!

 

Plunger

plunger

The humble plunger - probably one of the first things that springs to mind when you think of a plumbers toolbox, right? There are very few other professions that are required to use a plunger, so this is really a piece of equipment that's iconic of the plumbing trade! If you've ever used one yourself, you know what they're for!

Applied over a sink or drain hole, plungers can suck up and help you remove any debris that's causing a blockage. They come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and there's bound to be at least one in every plumber's toolbox.

 

Hose Cutter

When plumbers are fitting bathrooms or kitchens they're required to use metres and metres of piping. Often, piping comes on large reels like the ones you see above, so of course, plumbers need a pipe cutter to hand!

Having a sharp pair of hose cutters to hand is paramount if plumbers want to ensure a leak-free clean edge. Pipe cutters can also be used to cut perfect shapes into copper hosing when necessary. 

 

 Soldering Tools

soldering

Often plumbers will need to join copper pipes to fix your sink or fit your new bathroom. With that in mind, it's possible that you'll see a portable soldering kit in and amongst the plumbing toolbox.

This could include a range of things such as a soldering torch, a fire-resistant cloth, solder, flux, and a striker. Having this equipment handy and being able to use it safely can be incredibly beneficial, particularly if you run your own plumbing business and are required to travel frequently for work.

So, this gives you an insight into the kinds of tools that plumbers use! To become a real expert on all things plumbing, why not consider signing up for one of our plumbing training courses?

Become a Plumber >

According to a survey recently carried out by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), there is a recruitment crisis that's really starting to escalate as we move into 2020. 

In the last quarter of 2019, a record-breaking number of British firms reported that they were having issues finding skilled worker, with a net amount of 52% reporting supply issues. This is the highest this statistic has been in nearly five years!

Contractors are calling for government intervention in the hope for better training programs and more qualified workers to fill the skills gap. The Chief Executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, Alisdair Reisner expressed his concerns that;

"The pipeline of planned investment in the infrastructure sector is of a sufficient scale to be transformative to the whole UK economy, but unless the workforce is sufficiently skilled in all part of the UK, our members will be unable to deliver the work to its full potential".

Reisner believes that only co-operation between the industry and the government will lead to the creation of a comprehensive skills plan, a plan that's desperately needed if it's going to be possible to upskill the existing workforce and entice new workers to the trade. An 'infrastructure revolution' is what's required to protect the fate of the British economy in the coming years. 

How can you help to fill the skills shortage gap?

Civil engineering is only one of the many areas lacking in skilled workers in the UK today, there are so many different professions crying out for newly qualified workers - could that be you?

Here at Access Training Academies, we offer a range of courses that will set you up for a lucrative career in the construction industry! Select a trade below to see the courses we offer:

To read more about this story, click here. If you'd like to contact us about learning a new trade, give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

One of our fantastic students, Rob, is in the process of completing a variety of our training courses so he can start his own business. We've had the pleasure of catching up with Rob throughout his training and it's been great to see how much he's progressed. Today, we want to give you an overview of Rob's story to show you how we can help you steer your career in a new and exciting direction.

Rob's Background & Initial Training

For 35-40 years, Rob was working in IT and construction. This career took him all over the country and even abroad, but meant that he was often far away from his family, something that in later life, Rob wanted to rectify. When reflecting on his career, Rob decided that it was time to pursue a new avenue that would allow him to work for himself and spend more time at home. The courses we offer here at Access Training are fast-paced allowing Rob to gain the qualifications he needed for his new venture in no time at all.

Initially, Rob signed up for an Electrical Course, but later decided to take on a Plumbing and a Gas Course too! Having worked in the construction industry for most of his life, Rob knew that there was a significant skills gap in the sector. This presented itself as a great opportunity for Rob to pursue his own business, something that we were all too happy to help with. You can see our first interview with Rob in full below. 

 

Training for a Greener Future

We caught up with Rob a few months after our initial interview to see how he was getting on. Since we last spoke to him, Rob had completed a few more modules and had sat his assessment. If the assessment goes well, Rob will already be qualified to do the following:

  • Domestic installations
  • Commercial installations
  • Initial verifications on electrical systems
  • Periodic testing
  • PAT testing 

With an already impressive set of skills under his belt and in the pipeline, Rob isn't planning on stopping there. He has signed up for our Level 4 Electrical Design Course and for one of our new specialist courses that will teach him how to install charging points for electric cars. His enthusiasm for learning and for creating a greener world is admirable, and his aspirations for the future are in-line with this. 

Building a Greener Future

The skills Rob is gaining through our Electrical, Plumbing and Gas courses are setting him up perfectly for a career in renewable technologies which is the field he'd ultimately like to work in. We don't currently offer courses that cover photovoltaic (solar panel) installation or rainwater harvesting, but Rob has enrolled on our Electric Vehicle Charger Installation Course to get the ball rolling.

Once Rob has gained a few more eco-friendly skills, he plans to work with clients who want to build low carbon & self-sufficient homes, something we can expect to see a lot more of in the coming years. In the meantime, Rob can use the qualifications he's gained at Access Training to carry out gas, plumbing and electric work. We can't wait to see what he does next and we wish him the best of luck on his eco-friendly endeavours! You can see our second interview with Rob in full here. 

If, like Rob, you want to take your career in a new direction and work towards a greener future, explore our range of courses now! If you'd like to speak to one of our advisors, give us a call on 0800 345 7492. We look forward to hearing from you.

Explore Our Courses >

In recent years, there has been a huge push towards more eco-friendly power sources, vehicles, shopping habits... (the list goes on). As political pressure grows, many of us are starting to re-evaluate our lives to make sure we're not having a detrimental impact on the planet. People have swapped from disposable coffee cups to reusable, from plastic toothbrushes to bamboo and from fuel-powered cars to electric. 

According to Statisa.com, "In the third quarter of 2018, the number of grant eligible plug-in cars registered in the UK surpassed 15 thousand"  that's almost 15 times more than there were at the beginning of the same year, and electric car sales are only going to rise as we move into the new decade.

So, as the general public focus their attentions on their own eco-friendly efforts, we urge you to consider training for an eco-friendly career in 2020. Skills such as; being able to fit solar panels, install a car charger, and set up a self-sufficient water collection system are only going to increase in demand. With that in mind, there's no better time to start filling a relatively large skills gap and pursue an eco-friendly career!

How can Access Training Help Me?

As it stands, we offer two brand new eco-friendly training courses here at Access Training, both of which will provide you with the skills, qualifications and experience you need to begin your career in the eco-friendly sector. Let's take a look at each course to give you an idea of what's on offer. 

Eco-Electrical Course

As the name suggests, this is an eco-friendly electrical course that's designed to equip beginners with the electrical and eco-electrical knowledge they need to start their eco-friendly career. The main things you will learn on this course include:

  • The fundamentals of electrical work in the home
  • How to safely test electrical installations
  • How to install charging points for electrical vehicles

Learn more >

 

Electric Vehicle Charging Installation Course

If you've already got electrical qualifications and experience behind you, this 2-day course will help you take your career down an environmentally friendly path. With your electrical knowledge as a basis, we're sure you'll pick up the following skills in no time:

  • How to safely install car charging points
  • EV charging point commissioning
  • How to check our installations are safe

Learn more >

If you're ready to take the first steps towards a greener career, don't hesitate to get in touch with us. We'll help you get started and arrange a start date for your eco-friendly training that suits you. 

Calculating earnings

Every year, a survey is conducted to find out which trade is the best paid in the industry... a statistic we eagerly look forward to sharing with you.

The results are in for 2019 and yet again the sparkies have taken the financial lead. For not one, not two, but FIVE years running, electricians have been earning the most money of all trades. In 2019, the average salary rose to £33,176 per annum - that's a 2.7% increase compared to 2018!

Why not consider one of our Electrical Courses for a bright start to the new decade?

What about the other trades?

Don't worry - it's not just electricians who saw an average pay rise in 2019.Plumbers, plasters, bricklayers and roofers all saw a wage increase between 1 and 10 per cent!

  • Plasterers saw an average wage increase of 9%
  • Plumbers saw an average wage increase of 1%
  • Bricklayers saw an average wage increase of 4.6%

Where do these statistics come from?

You're probably wondering... how accurate are these numbers? Are they representative of the whole workforce?

Well, these numbers are recorded by the Office of National Statistics. They take the median wage in each individual industry to establish a fair average. This means the small percentage of exceptionally high earners don't skew the data.

To put this in context: exactly 50% of electricians in the UK earn below £33,176 and 50% earn more!

Is it realistic to think you'll earn a high wage straight away?

As you may expect, these average salaries aren't necessarily representative of entry-level wages, so it's unlikely you'll earn over £30k at the very beginning of your electrical career, for example.

That being said, these comfortable salaries are fairly accurate for self-employed tradespeople. Why? Because once you have the qualifications, experience and confidence under your belt, you can decide on a daily/hourly rate that suits your monetary expectations.

What's the key to earning more?

Increasing your earning potential is simpler than you may think. With determination, some hard work and a bit of self-investment, you can go from earning a trainee wage of around £12 - £14 per hour to earning a qualified tradesperson or site technician's wage of up to £20 per hour! Here's how...

1. Apply for agency work

Agency work is a great option if you are starting out in a new trade. It will give you the chance to gain some very basic knowledge and experience before considering further training.

2. Work overtime

If you are already working in your desired trade, why not ask your boss if you can work some overtime? This is a great way to increase your earnings short-term and boost your earning potential.

3. Gain new qualifications

We can't stress enough how important refreshing your qualifications is if you want to improve your earning potential in a particular trade. We offer a range of different courses for beginners and established tradespeople alike, allowing you to offer a better, more comprehensive service to your clients and command a higher salary! Whether you're keeping your knowledge up-to-date or learning a completely new trade, you'll find it easier to earn more money when you develop your skillset.

4. Start your own business

Becoming a self-employed tradesperson really does put the reigns (and money) in your hands. When you become your own boss, you can choose exactly how much you want to contract your services out for. An average hourly rate for an electrician is £45-£70 per hour, giving you plenty of room to adjust your profit margins to suit your business goals.

Browse Our Training Courses Now >

 

Starting Your Own Business - Case Study:

So you want to earn more money - who doesn't? Find out how we can help you achieve your monetary goals by taking a look at this incredible success story!

These two students, Peter and Omar, were working in completely different professions before they decided to learn a trade at Access Training Academies. Since completing their courses, they've set up their own independent plumbing and gas businesses. You can see our full interview with them here:

For more information on learning a trade at Access Training Academies, get in touch now! Call us on 0800 345 7492 or get in touch online.

Contact Us >

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are helping people to retrain for new careers in the trades. Our courses combine live online learning with hands-on skills training - browse our trade courses here!

While many people are panic-buying coffee, baked beans and various other post-Brexit goods, a (semi) silver lining is starting to emerge.

As it stands, the average salary for a construction worker is sitting at roughly £45,900, for a site manager, £50,500, and for a senior site manager £62,900! Amazingly, some construction workers are commanding wages not dissimilar to our MPs. Back in 2017, the average salary for a construction worker was considerably less, at only £42,300. 

That's incredible news for the lucky individuals working in these construction roles, but the reason their wages are so high leaves much to be desired for the British economy.

Why Have Construction Wages Gone Up?

The uncertainty around Brexit is (unsurprisingly) causing workers from overseas to lose confidence in Britain and the job prospects it can offer. As expected, they're beginning to seek work elsewhere in the world.  On top of that, many foreign nationals who have been living and working here for years are getting cold feet and seriously considering packing up and leaving (if they haven't done so already).

Whether this will have a positive impact on the construction workforce long-term is yet to be seen, but the initial impact has been somewhat fruitful for those that remain. 

The Construction Worker Commodity

Nearly 1/3 of construction workers in London are originally from Europe. As Brexit takes its toll, our pool of EU construction workers is starting to evaporate, leaving the remaining workers to fulfil demand. As with any commodity, be it gold or grain, it becomes more valuable as it goes down in number - construction workers are no exception!

So, as the number of construction workers in the UK goes down, the demand for skilled workers goes up and suddenly, being good at your job makes you considerably more valuable than you may have been a few years ago! 

The downside of all this? Brexit is putting extra strain on manufacturers who are unable to progress with business as usual until Brexit has blown over. 

Time to Train

If you've been thinking about learning a trade or working in the construction industry, it seems as though there's never been a better time to start! Not only can you benefit from steadily increasing salary prospects, but you can also help keep Britain's construction industry afloat in this time of turmoil! 

Here at Access Training Academies, we offer avenues into a huge range of construction industries, including but not limited to:

And more! If none of these courses takes your fancy, there's plenty more for you to choose from. If you're interested in starting a new career in a professional trade, then give us a call on 0800 345 7492 now!

 

How many jobs do you feel capable of doing around your home? Can you bleed a radiator? Do you know how to hang a door?

Well, if you're a young adult and your answer to these questions is yes then you are part of the minority! A third of young people (37%) said they could confidently change a shower head, and even fewer (31%) said they knew how to bleed a radiator. When the same questions were asked of over 55 year olds, 65% said they could change a shower head, and a staggering 79% knew how to bleed a radiator!

So the question is, does experience come with age, or are we living with a generation of young people who aren't confident in picking up their tools and giving DIY a go?

Part of the problem is that young people, more often than not, live in rented properties rather than their own homes. This means they rely heavily on their landlords to pay for and solve any problems that may occur in the home. More often than not, young people are left for days, if not weeks, with an unfixed problem in their home while waiting for their landlords to organise a solution. 

We want to inspire young people to give DIY tasks a go, but one thing to be wary of is that there are some jobs you can do with the help of a YouTube video... but there are some jobs that should not be attempted without proper training (that's where we come in).

Improving Your DIY Skills

Besides offering some excellent Electrical, Gas and Plumbing Courses, we also offer a range of construction courses such as:

These courses will teach you skills that will prove very useful if you want to try your hand at DIY tasks around your home. Better still, you could use your trade to help complete jobs for friends, family or even start your own business and make a profit on your new DIY skills!

If you want to enquire about one of our courses, don't hesitate to get in touch - you can call us on 0800 345 7492 or click the button below to fill in an enquiry form today!

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A man from Staffordshire has been sentenced to prison time after he performed gas work in someone's home with no experience or qualifications to do so. The man, named Colin Christoper Batchelor, conducted this gas work in September 2016. He:

  • Removed an old boiler
  • Installed a new boiler 
  • Installed a gas meter
  • Connected pipework

All while being completely unregistered to do so!

When Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated this incident, they found that Mr Batchelor had performed gas work while claiming to his client that he was part of the Gas Safe register, when in fact, he was not. He was not competent to carry out the gas work that he did, and the result of his shoddy workmanship was a home left unsafe. Mr Batchelor failed to carry out any tests or examinations to verify that the installation was safe and gas-tight once his work was finished.

Mr Batchelor pleaded guilty to five separate breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment for each offence. That means, that Mr Bachelor's thoughtless actions have cost him over three years of his life!

After the hearing, HSE inspector, Dr Riley Roberts, said:

"The Gas Safe Register Exist to protect the public from people such as Colin Christopher Batchelor, who are prepared to work illegally, falsify records and carry out potentially dangerous gas work. Performing gas work without being competent to do so can be highly dangerous and lead to loss of life."

Don't risk being prosecuted like Mr Batchelor. Do a gas course with Access Training Academies and we will give you the skills and practical knowledge you need to become Gas Safe registered.

Browse Our Gas Courses Now >

 

 

If you’re someone who’s finding a monotonous nine to five job isn’t fulfilling your ambitions, then becoming self-employed will seem like a very appealing option! Being your own boss gives you lots of freedom to:

  • Choose who you work with
  • Decide your own working hours
  • Determine your own rate of pay

And much more! Self-employment often appeals to people with young families who need more flexibility in their lifestyles to cope with the demands of young children. However, self-employment is something that people of any age or skill level can pursue with the right training and motivation to do so.

How can Access Training Academies help me become self-employed?

Access Training Academies specialise in providing the training you need to pursue a career in the profession of your choice. Whether you want to start your own electrical company or become a freelance carpenter we can give you the training you need to become your own boss in a short space of time.

We are one of the country’s leading training providers and we have a range of courses to suit all skill levels. Even if you are a complete beginner, we can teach you the technical and practical elements of your chosen profession so that you leave our training centre feeling confident enough to work!

Success Stories

You might be thinking, ‘I’d love to be self-employed but I’m not sure how feasible it really is.’ There’s no need to doubt your abilities, we’ve had plenty of successful students go on to become self-employed when they leave Access Training Academies with their new qualifications!

Here are a few student testimonials to inspire you:

  • I'm the happiest I've ever been in my working life. I love being my own boss and having control over my work schedule. And I'm earning three times what I was at the BBC! - Richard Gates.
  • This course has led to me becoming self-employed as an electrician and I’ve expanded my family's building and roofing business - Scott Daly.
  • I plan to become a self-employed as a plumber and the course has helped me learn all the skills I need to work on my own confidently – David Morgan.

So, what are you waiting for? Enquire today to start your journey towards becoming self-employed in a profession you love! We will guide you every step of the way.

Browse Our Courses Today >

18th edition

If you weren't already aware, a revised version of the 18th Edition IET Wiring Regulations became mandatory on 1st January 2019. These changes including, new and revised regulations, additional chapters and reorganised sections, have been made to improve the safety of installers and to tighten the focus on energy efficiency

Note: Electricians should obtain their own copy of the BS7671:2018 regulations and follow the requirements outlined in the 18th edition of the IET Wiring Regulations - this blog is only a brief overview of the changes made.

  • An extra category (section 730 that caters for electrical shore connections and inland navigation vessels) has been added to cater for this specialised location.
  • Some new definitions have been added and certain existing definitions have been altered. For example, the word 'departure' has been added. This term can be used when an intentional decision is made not to comply with BS7671.
  • A new appendix (appendix 17) has been added that focuses on energy efficiency. This appendix makes recommendations so that designers can optimise the construction, assembly and installation of electrical components so they are energy efficient.
  • Arc fault detection devices have a more prominent place in chapter 42. They provide protection against electrical fires caused by faulty AC circuits.

Here at Access Training Academies, we know how important it is for all practising electricians to have an excellent understanding of the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations, that's why we have a course dedicated to teaching you the ins and outs of the 18th Edition!

Find out more about our 18th edition course by clicking the button below, get in contact if you think this course is the perfect next step in your electrical career!

18th Edition Course >

Britain's departure from the EU is set to have an impact on every industry, including the construction sector. In a recent article by the National Housing Federation, they outline how two-thirds of housing professionals said they were facing a skills shortage, with exiting the EU being one of the main causes.  

To take a look at some numbers, a recent Federation of Master Builders Report indicates that '48% of SME construction firms reported a shortage of available plumbers' while '36% were struggling to find electricians' - and these numbers are expected to rise in the coming years!

The Immigration White Paper, published in December 2018, also proposes a new system where only 'skilled workers earning more than £30,000 per year' will be allowed to settle here, while less skilled workers will not be able to stay for longer than a year.

 So, what does all this mean?

Well, the uncertainty of Brexit is starting to drive EU construction workers away - particularly in London where there is the highest percentage of EU construction workers. British housing associations, construction companies and training centres, like ourselves, will really need to attract more people into the construction industry if we are to fill this pending employment gap. The number of British construction workers has to increase if we are to meet the housing needs of our population.

Is this the perfect time to train?

While this dramatic reduction in European construction workers seems alarming on the surface, it does present an opportunity for more British people to pursue careers in the construction industry. As more and more workers leave the UK during this tumultuous period, demand for construction workers in the UK increases. So newly trained workers shouldn't have any difficulty finding lucrative work in their chosen trade.

Are you interested in helping to bridge the post-Brexit skills shortage? We offer courses that will allow you to pursue a brand new career or expand your existing skill set, including:

We really do believe that now is an excellent time to consider taking up a career in a trade. Our courses will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need to start your new career and really make a difference as a new construction industry emerges from post-Brexit Britain. Enquire about our courses today! 

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Here at Access Training, we constantly stress the importance of safe electrical practice in the workplace, but this unfortunate incident really brings it home!

On the 12th of April 2017, two demolition workers were tasked with removing electrical distribution equipment from a switchgear room at the Molecular Products site in Essex. The principal contractor had told the men that the electrical equipment they were dealing with had been fully isolated.

Foolishly, one man attempted to 'reassure his colleague' that the electricals had in fact been isolated by throwing a metal crowbar at the 400v ac equipment.

Unfortunately, when the crowbar came into contact with the live electricals it created a flashover (explosion) at temperatures of several thousand degrees which led immediately to quite a devastating fire. The man who through the crowbar, Mr Banks, suffered serious burns and was taken into hospital.

HSE investigated this incident and found that the task had not been properly planned at that suitable control measures hadn't been put in place. The principal contractor had failed to follow the procedures stating that all electrical equipment should be treated as live until properly checked and confirmed to be isolated. 

The Consequences:

  • Mr Banks sustained horrific burns & injuries
  • Russel Haigh and Stuart Haigh pled guilty to breaching Regulation 3 of the Electricity at Work Regulations  Act 1989 and we both fined £80,000
  • AJ Wadhams & Co Ltd pled guilty to breaching section of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 197 and was fined £80,000

HSE inspector Adam Hills said:

“This incident has had a significant impact on Mr Banks life and the injuries could so very easily have been fatal. Had the companies followed the control measures outlined in their respective risk assessments, then this incident would not have occurred. Never assume that an electrical supply is disconnected. Always check with the distribution network operator or a qualified electrician to obtain written proof of isolation before commencing work.”

Read more about this incident here >

 Electrical Training

If there's one thing to take away from this, it's that working with electricals can be incredibly dangerous (and costly) if something goes wrong. That's why we can't stress enough how important it is that you receive the proper electrical training before carrying out this kind of work!

Here at Access Training Academies, we offer electrical training for students of all ages and abilities. If you're interested in pursuing a career in electrical work, come and learn the necessary skills and practices at one of our training centres. 

View Our Electrical Courses >

If you have any questions about our electrical courses, or to arrange a visit to one of our test centres, please don't hesitate to get in touch. You can call us on 0800 345 7492 or email us at info@accesstraininguk.co.uk.