So it's now turning cold and winter is beginning to set in after some mild and changeable weather. As a result professional plumbers are going to start getting those panicked calls from customers regarding frozen pipes leading to expensive floods and leaks, potentially ruining the house and its contents.

As any professional plumber will know, there are some obvious mistakes that people make when they are taking measures to protect their house to prevent these issues occuring, the most obvious being to turn your heating off if you go away as it makes sense when you’re going away to stay with family. The top tip we cover is:

Don’t turn the heating off and leave it on a low setting

This action in itself, could cause serious problems if the temperature drops too low as the pipes will freeze and could burst whilst you're away. 

  • You should leave the house warming to a minimum of 14 degrees centigrade. The only time you should leave your heating off is if you're away for a longer period of time. 
  • Consider turning the stop cock off or even draining the system altogether if away for long periods, but this needs to be carried out by a trained and qualified professional plumber or they could end up with further issues. 
  • Many households will have a combi boiler heating both the hot water and heating elements of the home so the danger here is that the pipes will have condensation within and cause the boiler to stop working. And remember, all pipes can freeze.  

Pipes freeze whether they are plastic or copper

There are also stories abound that people with plastic pipes rate than the traditional copper pipes means that they won't freeze or burst. When it comes to this problem, the type of pipe is irrelevant, it depends how much the pipe has to expand when the water within freezes. 

  • Insulation of pipes is key with all of this, so all pipes that are in areas where freezing is a risk suck loft spaces and garages. 
  • It's also imperative that any dripping or leaking pipes are dealt with as possible as this will increase the likelihood of the pipes or drains freezing. 
  • If in doubt turn the stop off and call professional plumber:

Turn the stop cock off and call a profesional plumber

If a pipe bursts or there appears to be a problem with a persistent drip or ‘weep’ then the stopcock should be turned off and any repairs should be completed by a qualified plumber.

  • Alternatively a hairdryer, could be used to thaw out a frozen pipe but be careful not to use a high heat setting. 
  • Don’t be tempted to use a naked flame such as a lighter or even a blowtorch to thaw the pipe.
  • Homeowners should make sure they know where the stopcock is situated and they should regularly make sure that the tap itself is serviceable.

Using the services of a professional plumber

There is a danger also that some plumbing work can be carried out by homeowners rather than hiring a professional plumber. 

  • The cost of hiring a plumber is an unwelcome expense to many but the mistakes made could mean they're paying a plumber more to fix a plumbing issue than was necessary than the first place, costing more time and money. 
  • To make sure the job is done right the first time, it is easier to simply call out a qualified plumber to avoid any costly mistakes. 
  • At Access Training our experts can offer you advice if you’re not sure about any training that may be required to carry out a task.

Advice from Access Training’s plumbing tutors

Our Tutors advice, thorough years of experience, is to: 

  • Always use a qualified plumber to ensure the job is done safely and most importantly carried out to UK building regulations.
  • Nobody should undertake a task that they were not trained to rectify as possibly dangerous scenarios can result from the most simplistic looking tasks. 
  • A trained professional plumber, someone who has received the training, skill and knowledge and therefore holds professional plumbing qualifications, is the only way to deal with problems that arise. 

At Access Training, we are always striving to provide people of all ages, young and old, with the professional level of training, knowledge and skills needed to carry out basic and complex tasks, safely and efficiently. For those looking to become skilled and qualified as a plumber, we will teach you what you need to know, allowing you the opportunity to turn basic DIY jobs into earnings and a career.

How we train: 

To find out how to become professionally certified in a trade such as plumbing or to simply discuss the career options available to you, call us today.

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

If you read the survey carried out by the Water Regulation Advisory Scheme (WRAS) you will see that basic skills are completely lacking! The survey found that 18-24 year old adults lack basic repair skills, from unblocking a toilet to fixing a leaking tap. Only 1 in 3 know how to bleed a radiator with over 55's the most capable age groups when it comes to home plumbing tasks.

What is clear is that young people are the most challenged by these tasks with less than 30% not knowing how to change a light fitting where, in contrast nearly two thirds of over 55s are able to carry this out. The survey also found that 37% of young people could change a showerhead but double this figure were capable in the the over 55s category.

Further to this the survey showed that adults born after 1985 are increasingly unable to take on simple tasks. However, a third of millennials would in fact know how to bleed a radiator, but this is still way short of the 79% of over-55s who would be able to carry out this most basic of jobs. 

So it is conclusive that when it comes to basic home repairs, they are not an issue for those in older generations, but the capability to carry out a repair is far less in the younger generations. In fact the repair that most people are happy to carry out is bleeding a radiator:

  • Bleeding a radiator - 57%
  • Replacing a shower head - 53.3%
  • Fixing a blocked toilet - 44.6%
  • Replacing a light fixture - 44.5%
  • Fixing a leaky tap - 30.2%
  • Fixing a leaky toilet - 21.2%

What is clear from the survey is that repair tasks within the home have become something or a mystery or even a no-go for most. This is great news for tradespeople and those considering taking up a trade as there are so many tasks that home occupiers will need to be carried out by professionals, no matter how simple they are in really. 

In fact it would not be advisable for anyone to tackle a task that they were not sure about as problems and possibly dangerous scenarios can result from the most simple of tasks. It's always best to use a trained professional, someone who has the training, skill and knowledge to deal with these situations. 

At Access Training, we are always striving to provide people of all ages, young and old, with the professional level of training, knowledge and skills needed to carry out basic and complex tasks, safely and efficiently. For those looking to become skilled and qualified as a plumber, electrician, gas engineer, carpenter or plasterer, we will teach you what you need to know, allowing you the opportunity to turn basic DIY jobs into earnings and a career.

To find out how to become professionally certified in a trade such as plumbing or to simply discuss the career options available to you, call us today.

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.




*WRAS Survey of 2000 adults in April 2019.

Let's be clear about the answer to this; No, they are not and here’s why:

 

Firstly, let's be clear about what this means; right now registered gas engineers can still install and replace a gas boiler with a combi gas boiler. These boilers must, however, be of Boiler Plus Standard in England (in Wales the rules vary due to property type). This covers the vast majority of housing stock in the UK and will remain so for decades to come so there will be no shortage of boiler work for installers for the foreseeable future.

So why the confusion about new builds you may ask? Well it has come about from the erroneous inclusion of a comment in the government's latest Ten Point Plan that the Prime Minister announced days ago, for a Green Industrial Revolution that gave a promise to outlaw gas boilers in new homes by 2023. The plan gave a pledge to implement the Future Home Standard in a shorter space of time, followed by many within the industry asking questions about this bold line. It turns out that it was included in error and was hastily retracted. But confusion still reigns, with questions such as, ‘are we going to stop installing gas boilers in homes?’ as a typical example. 

The rules only affect new builds. It's an inevitability that the installation of gas central heating appliances in new build properties will be banned, alternative means of heating including heat pumps or hydrogen boilers or electric boilers will have to be specified by developers. However, these technologies are far from being installed in great numbers as yet with further technological developments needed before they are both widely available and able to deliver reliable heating results.

For more background on this we need to look at The Future Home Standard which is due to come to fruition from 2025. The government is now extending the Green Homes Grant for another year according to the aims set out the Heat and Buildings Strategy for 2021 and the government’s Ten Point Plan also supports the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive which says that all new developments in the UK are required to be nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) before 2021. Hence why everyone is confused; the timeline is short and becoming condensed. Kevin Wellman, CEO of CIPHE was quoted in PHAM News on this subject: 



“The infrastructure will not be in place by 2023 to abolish gas boilers. The Hydrogen network is not due to be trialled at scale (in limited areas) until 2023 and heat pump production will need to increase significantly to reach demand.”



The bottom line is that existing properties will not be affected by the legislation and are expected to be able to use gas boilers for the foreseeable future. The government has a commitment to Net Zero by 2050, so it’s true that natural gas fired boilers are time limited and technology will inevitably change, but not for another 30 years. 

Overall, the industry will take many, many years to adapt and gas boilers will exist in millions of properties for many years to come. They will all need servicing and maintaining and replacing and there still remains the problem that there are not enough Gas Engineers to carry out this work at present.

Whether you want a new career as a Gas Engineer, expand your existing services or need to renew your gas certificates we are here to help you get there through our bespoke gas training courses.

Talk to us about our gas training courses now!



Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

 

A controversial advertising campaign commissioned by the Government to encourage people to change career if they’re in danger of redundancy or at risk as furlough as about to come to an end, has been pulled following complaints abouts its content and the lockdown conditions changing once again. 

 

Social media reacted with fury after the adverts called for people employed within the arts and culture, struggling sectors to ‘Rethink, Reskill, Reboot’, with an emphasis on considering a career in ‘cyber’. The ‘Cyber First’ adverts featured 4 different people in different roles but primarily a ballerina named Fatima who is pictured tying up her ballet shoes next to the words, ‘ Fatima’s next job could be in cyber. (She just doesn't know it yet)

The reaction has been ‘negative’ to say the least, with many responding to the calls to ‘Rethink, Reskill, Reboot’, with accusations of condescension and a dismissive attitude by those in the arts and culture sector, as it asked for them to consider other new careers, in ‘cyber’. 

Whilst this is obviously an area of future growth with the digitisation of virtually every aspect of our lives, the connection of people directly to specific areas is a risky approach for many reasons. When interviewed recently, Rishi Sunak admitted that many people are going to have to abandon their current jobs and retrain in ‘sustainable’ and ‘viable’ sectors: ‘I can’t pretend that everyone can do exactly the same job that they were doing at the beginning of the crisis’, he said.

 

“If you’ve spent years, possibly even decades, working in a specific job role, then the expectation to shift suddenly and seamlessly to another is obviously a tricky prospect.” 

 

This is a wiser approach in our view, to offer advice and to suggest there are other options is far more subtle. But compounding this, the government has devised an ingenious and comprehensive online questionnaire to help you answer the big question: what to retrain as? Based on your preferences and skills, the intention was to make finding a suitable new career much, much easier. Unfortunately, however, it hasn’t quite gone exactly to plan either...

Some questionnaire results have produced some, unlikely results. And people have found much hilarity in this bizarre but welcome bit of light relief, with ‘fair-ground worker’, ‘boxer’, ‘fish-monger’, ‘stonemason’ and ‘countryside rangers’. One person reported that she was apparently assessed as being suitable to be a ‘Bomb Disposal Technician’ or ‘Bingo Caller’.

Among the thousands of unsuitable job suggestions was one lady in her fifties recommended as a stunt-double; responding on Twitter, she optimistically suggested that she should retrain as she ‘could be a stunt-double for an unfit woman in her 50s?’.

Another slight miscalculation involved a self-proclaimed ‘painfully unfit PhD student (who loathed PE throughout her school career and continues to avoid any form of exercise) should retrain as a... ‘professional sportsman’. 

But some results have, at least, shown that the test gives some accurate results, as partakers in this quiz have ended up being told to retrain in… their current job: 

 

‘I’ve just done the government assessment to see what I should retrain as’, wrote one bemused user. ‘I’m going to leave my job as a teacher to become...a teacher’. 

 

You may want to take a look and see what vocations your skills match up to (but don't say we didn't warn you about unexpected outcomes):

https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/skills-assessment

On a serious note, however, this only reflects the gravity of the situation. Many thousands of people across the country are due to have their worlds turned upside down, and forced out of happy, prosperous careers. They are being forced to consider changes that were not part of anyone's plan only a few months ago.

Thankfully though, Access Training offers the perfect way out, but for those who have a desire to get a trade. We are quite clear that there are many other options out there for new careers and training courses to get you there but we will only ever offer advice to those who have asked for it. Not preach it to everyone regardless of their situation. 

Serving those wanting to retrain and change careers to get a trade has been a goal of ours since the beginning, 2003 to be axact; thousands of people from across the employment spectrum have approached us with the aim of retraining and starting out on a fresh path into trades training. 

Now our services may be needed more than ever – and we may be the service that you need. We will however, never condescend you or take your previous experience for granted. Our Career Support Team is here to listen and advise you.

 

"Guys who’ve come from all sorts of backgrounds, taxi drivers, entertainment, even to the point where I’ve had some solicitors because they’re unsure of whether they’re ever going to go back to working in the office.

Anybody who's lost their job... my advice is don't be afraid. With hard work and the right training... you can do anything that you want."

Jimmy Adkins, Access Training Academies Tutor speaking to Robert Peston from ITV



Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.



 

In latest Covid-19 developments, Wales is preparing itself for a 2-week ‘Firebreaker lockdown’, which takes the entire country back to the restrictive conditions it saw in March. Similarly, Manchester and other large towns across England are on the verge of being made into ‘Tier 3’ restricted zones. The UK is seeing significant and dangerous rises in the number of Covid-19 cases. But as ever, we’re asking the same questions – what does that mean for workers and businesses in the construction industry?

As the country prepares itself for another potential large-scale lockdown, we’re here to sing the praises of the ‘fireproof’ construction industry, which, despite all the odds, is thriving and surviving through this turbulent period. Furlough and lockdowns will likely be things of the future, for months and potentially years to come. Retraining in construction early could be your ticket out of purgatorial furlough schemes, stationary jobs, and a sinking job-support ship. Read on to find out five reasons why we think retraining in construction is a no-brainer.

 

 

  • All construction work is set to continue despite lockdown

 

Although minor repair and maintenance work in private homes is banned in Wales, all other commercial and infrastructural building work is set to continue. Build UK has recently issued a template letter for all construction workers to carry around with them, in case they are mistakenly stopped by police enforcing the lockdown. This letter will have details of the worker, company they work for, and site they are working on – for any workers currently in the construction industry, you can download your own here: https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/health-and-safety/wales-lockdown-workers-issued-letter-of-proof-as-construction-continues-20-10-2020/

In short, construction workers are now treated as essential workers – and rightly so!

This will be a massive reassurance to those working in construction, as it ensures that major projects will go ahead, freeing up a long backlog of projects yet to go ahead. Even better, construction work of all kinds is continuing as planned in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Ireland too. 

 

‘A sharp output rebound of 13.5% for the whole construction sector is forecast in 2021’ – David Rice, Construction News (October 20th, 2020)

 

 

  • Productivity and demand are at an industry record high

 

A recent forecast has shown that construction industry output has been affected less than first fears indicated. The Construction Products Association predicted an initial 20.6% reduction in output, but this has been lowered to 14.6% – a significant decrease. The industry is one of the few whose performance is actually looking set to improve as time moves on, and is proving to be the safest and most stable place to work at the moment – and, indeed, for a long time to come.

 

 

  • Construction made a quick recovery post-lockdown

 

The speed with which the construction industry got back on its feet is very promising, but it’s all down to one important fact: construction is essential, and tradespeople will always be in high demand. This is exactly what was seen in July and August of 2020, when the demand for construction work, after seeing a backlog of months, skyrocketed. Sites opened quickly after the lockdown, and workers adapted well to the new restrictions. They got their heads down, and did the job – a testament to hard work, determination, and a passion for the trade.

 

 

  • Building sites have adapted well to Covid-19 restrictions

 

When lockdown measures were first relaxed in July and August, allowing construction work to recommence, there were great concerns that social distancing measures would inhibit the productivity of a building site, making work inefficient, slow, and expensive. But this has not been the case – on the contrary, social distancing has hardly affected large-scale, infrastructural building sites at all. The trades have been allowed to continue largely unscathed, in relation to many other sectors across the country.

 

 

  • The lockdown won’t stop you from becoming a tradesperson

 

What the last six months have seen is that the appetite for changing career and retraining as a tradesperson has never been more ravenous. Thousands of people have approached us, from a range of different backgrounds, to seek our services and reskill themselves in whatever aspect or aspects of construction they wish. Taxi drivers, chefs, pilots, entertainers, solicitors – you name it. 

The development of our online portal means that, wherever you are, in whichever ‘Tier’ or whatever state of lockdown, you can begin a course right from the comfort of your own home. Over lockdown, literally thousands of people have benefited from this flexibility, and with more lockdowns potentially looming, we don’t want you to miss out this time.

With the uncertainty ahead which clearly isn’t going away anytime soon, we hope you can see that the decision to retrain really is a ‘no-brainer’. If you think you have what it takes – the practical skills, the determination, and willingness to work for what you want – then Access Training can get you into lucrative, satisfying, and above all important work, in no time at all.


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

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