If your home is looking a bit unloved, then a little TLC will go a long way. With so many people hit hard by the economic downturn, many homeowners are plumping for DIY renovations to their homes rather than buying new. Here is our guide to some of the most cost effective methods of sprucing up your home without breaking the bank.

A fresh lick of paint

It’s incredible how a simple task can make such a difference to the look and feel of your home. If your walls and doors are looking grimy, dowdy and dated, then give them a fresh lick of paint. It’s a simple job and even the most hapless DIY novice can’t go wrong, so there’s no need for professional assistance, which helps to keep the costs down. If you’re thinking of selling your house in the near future then neutral colours are the best way to go. If you’re staying put for the foreseeable future then go wild; what about a splash of colour or even some stencilling?

Declutter your clutter

If your preferred style is minimalist and airy then keep it that way. I know that two foot long china dog would look lovely in your front room, but be strong and walk away. If it’s already too late and your home is so chock-a-bloc with knick-knacks that you can hardly move, then take a big breath and get to work. And remember, one man’s tat is another man’s treasure, so put some of your better pieces on eBay and see how they go, after all, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Have a look at some decorating courses

There are some great decorating courses in the UK for people of all ages and abilities – we should know, ours is one of the best! We will teach you the latest trends and techniques, giving you the skill you need to completely transform your home. And if you want to take it one step further and enrol on a decorating course as the first step in your new career, we can help you do that too.

For more information about decorating courses which will teach you everything you need to know, whatever level you wish to reach, give us a call here at Access Training on 0800 345 7492.

If you’re wondering what happened to the summer, your guess is as good as ours. After what seems like months of torrential rain, freakishly large hailstorms, floods, gales and general meteorological misery you could be forgiven for feeling a little bit down in the dumps. For plumbers, however, all this heavy rain is causing an overflow in work. With intense downpours across the country, Britain’s pipes have been under a serious amount of pressure.

For those on plumbing courses, this is a great example of just how in demand skilled plumbers are. This is not just reliant on heavy rain. In fact a recent study into current course numbers and job prospects revealed that those on plumbing courses and other skilled trades courses have around 2 job opportunities per every student.

But back to the rain. Blocked and burst water pipes are a big problem in serious deluges and require the attention of a skilled plumber to fix. In seriously nasty weather undermining is also an issue. Undermining takes place when soil surrounding and supporting a pipe is washed away, causing the pipe to crack or even collapse.

If you are the victim of a burst pipe but you don’t have the advantage of plumbing courses under your belt, there are some steps you can take to reduce the damage whilst you wait for the plumber to arrive…

1.    Find your stopcock
Usually located beneath your kitchen sink, turn off the stopcock to stop the water supply to your home. This will help prevent any further water damage,

2.    Drain your system
Turn on all of your cold taps and flush your toilets – this will clear your plumbing system of excess water.

3.    Turn off any water heating systems
Central heating, immersion heating and other heating systems all need to be turned off. Once everything has been turned off, turn your hot taps on to drain your plumbing.

4.    Turn off your electrics

We all know that water and electricity don’t mix so, if the water from your burst pipe/s is  anywhere near electrical items or fittings, turn off the mains. If the mains switch has been in contact with water, do not do anything! Call a plumber and an electrician immediately.

5.    Grab a bucket and bail!

The sooner you can locate the burst pipe, the more damage you can prevent to your property. It won’t always be possible but, if you can, collect as much water as possible in buckets to minimise damage.

6.    Call the plumber
When a pipe bursts, you’ll need a trained plumber on hand. Steps 1-5 will all help minimise the damage but you’ll need the expertise of someone who has completed plumbing courses to fix the pipe.

If you’re keen to pick up the DIY skills required to fix such issues yourself, or if you’d like to train on plumbing courses to establish yourself in a new career – Access can help. We offer accessible, flexible and highly regarded plumbing courses which will help you learn the skills you want in a way which is ideal for you. To learn more about our flexible plumbing courses for all abilities, contact Access today on 0800 345 7492.

You won’t find ‘kitten rescue’ on the syllabus of many plumbing courses, but this week a heroic group of plumbers in Memphis found themselves with a furry little problem in a very long pipe.

Usually kitten retrieval is the gambit of kindly firemen, but this time the problem was not stuck perilously up a tree, it was deep in an underground pipe. Using all of the tools at their disposal and everything they’d learnt on their plumbing courses, the Memphis plumbers sent a camera down the pipe to find out what the little critter was up to.

The monitor revealed a tiny tabby appearing bewildered but otherwise unharmed several metres into the pipe. Not wishing to cause the creature any distress or risk injuring it, the team lowered food down to the kitten and set a live trap beneath a nearby manhole to capture the creature when it eventually emerges. Working with the theory of ‘what goes up must come down’ the plumbers found they had little else to do to help.

The plumbing team were called in after neighbours were bothered by mewling coming from a local vacant property, after tracing the sound of the disorientated tabby to the pipe’s entrance, a neighbour called in the plumbers.
You might not learn about pet rescue on Access plumbing courses, but you will learn everything you need to know to begin a bright career in the plumbing industry. However you like to learn, whatever level of experience you have and wherever you are in the UK, Access have the ideal plumbing courses for you. To learn more about the plumbing courses we offer, from NVQ level 2 to renewable energy courses, please get in touch with our informative team on 0800 345 7492 today.

Speak to any experienced plumber and they’ll always have a plumbing disaster story to share.  Plumbing, by its very nature is just waiting for a disaster to happen.  From the blocked drain ready to spew out onto the street to the sneaky little drip that suddenly becomes a collapsed ceiling and thousands of pounds worth of damage, plumbing is one professional that could never be called dull!

If you’ve been considering plumbing training there are many courses that will give you all the knowledge you need to help avert and deal with disasters.  When plumbing goes bad it can go really bad and your skills could help to prevent further damage and devastation.  Whether you decide to specialise in a particular area or you simply want to learn some basics to get you started, a professional plumbing course is the best way to pick up the skills you need. 

Modern plumbing systems are becoming more complex in nature.  This isn’t usually down to the components changing, but more our needs and preferences changing.  For example, rain showers that are plumbed into the wall are all the rage right now, but if fitted incorrectly could cause a lot of damage if a leak starts.  That’s why an experienced and fully qualified plumber is worth their weight in gold.  Whilst many plumbing jobs can be handled as a DIY project, it’s the more advanced jobs that require the services of a professional and this is where you could come in very handy. 

Be That Knight in Shining Armour

If you’re considering a change in career, there are many entry-level plumbing courses available resulting in an industry qualification such as City & Guilds.   Those looking to change career, brush up their skills, or simply learn more for DIY projects around the home will find a course run by an accredited centre invaluable.  What you learn in one day could equate to more than you have ever learnt from books or online and you’ll be learning in a structured way. 

Plumbers looking to advance in other skills or becoming fully qualified can also take a lot away from plumbing training.  Gas training and renewable energy training are just some of the areas you can take specialist training in.  Simply by holding some professional qualifications you make your services more desirable and instantly command more trust and respect from customers. 

There are so many benefits to learning a trade.  Whether you choose to work for another company or go it alone, people are always going to require the services of a plumber.  At Access we take great pride in our range of plumbing training courses and we’d be delighted to help you on the road to a rewarding and exciting new career.  Take a look at our course options or give our team a call on 0800 345 7492.  We can tell you all about the most suitable plumbing courses and if you want to get started, we can get you enrolled right away.

Before, during and after plumbing training courses you’re likely to hear an awful lot about how plumbing is a ‘recession-proof profession’. True, no matter how desperate a country’s finances get, somebody will always need to be there to fix leaks and handle plumbing crises, but is plumbing really totally unaffected by the recession?

To be perfectly frank, no industry has been completely unaffected by the recession, yet plumbing is bearing up far, far better than many. It is becoming a little more difficult to get started on the career ladder but, once you’re in there, things look good for the time being.

Yet one problem with an unstable economy is that it is very difficult to predict what is next. With that in mind, how can you work to guard your plumbing future against an extremely uncertain economic outlook? In this article we’ll be taking a look at a few steps you can take to make your plumbing career truly recession-proof to help you get ahead when everything seems to be going under!


In many areas you’ll find that emergency call out plumbers are everywhere. If this is true for your local area, it’s time to offer something different. Equally, if your local market is inundated with fittings and alternations specialists, take some time to assess supply and demand and then stretch yourself!

One of the best ways to diversify is to learn skills which few others in your industry have. Invest in yourself by enrolling on plumbing training courses which will equip you for less ‘run-of-the-mill’ projects and you’ll find yourself in demand, even if things get really difficult. Access offer an extremely broad range of plumbing training courses including:

•    City & Guilds Bathroom Fitting Plumbing Courses
•    Water Regulations (WRAS) Certificate (BPEC/WRAS Level 2)
•    Unvented Hot Water Systems Certificate (BPEC Unvented G3 Certificate)
•    & many more

Look forward

A little bit of foresight can go a long way. Over the coming decade renewable energy is going to be the bandwagon every plumber wants to be on, yet getting ahead of the curve, getting the plumbing training you need, building up experience and establishing a reputation as a great solar thermal or ground source heat pump expert right now could stand you in very good stead very soon!

Don’t overlook the basics

Whilst diversifying and looking forward are important, it is vital that you do not lose touch with the roots of your profession. After all, one of the key things which makes plumbing such a recession-resistant profession is that there is always demand for plumbing basics. The bread and butter of the plumbing industry is enough to sustain many through nasty economic times.

Yet it isn’t necessarily as simple as offering basic plumbing services. If you want to make your living from this type of plumbing work, you need to gain respect, trust and a strong client base. The only way to do that is through hard grind, a positive attitude and a great service your customers will come back for time and time again.

If you’d like to learn more about offering the very best plumbing service, Access’s plumbing training courses can help you be the best you can be. Hone your skills whatever your level of ability or experience, pick up the plumbing skills of the future or learn niche techniques to allow you to diversify.

To learn more about how Access plumbing training courses can help you to recession-proof your plumbing career, please explore the rest of the site or speak to one of our experts today on 0800 345 7492.

The IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology) has identified worrying gaps in the knowledge of many working electricians, prompting commentators to wonder whether refresher electrician courses may be a wise idea for many of those who have been in the job for years and may not have kept up to date with shifting regulations.

The IET’s concerns were raised after it was discovered that up to 76% of UK electricians may be working without a copy of the most recent edition of the IET Wiring Regulations. This might not sound like a great travesty or a big deal, but the updated regulations include big changes and entirely new sections which modern electricians need to be aware of – no matter what they were taught on their original electrician courses.

The new regulations include essential information regarding:

•    New protocol for inspection reporting
•    Electromagnetic disturbances
•    Overvoltage protection
•    Maintenance gangways
•    Medical locations and operating

It is the responsibility of all electricians to keep abreast of important changes in the industry after completing their electrician courses and training. Learning, after all, is a life-long undertaking. Yet with just 66,000 copies of the new regulations sold, there could well be 211,000 electricians who are not complying with EU and international standards.

According to the IET’s chief electrical engineer, Geoff Cronshaw: “It’s important that all…electrical engineers familiarise themselves with the amended IET Wiring Regulations to ensure that the work they do complies with the current standard.”

Whether you’re an old hand or a new recruit, there is always more to learn. Keeping abreast of current best practices and new techniques through electrician courses is one great way to ensure you are always at the top of your game and providing the best possible service to your clients.

Access offer electrician courses designed for all levels of experience and areas of expertise. To learn more about how electrician courses can help you be the very best at what you do, explore the rest of the Access site or call 0800 345 7492 today.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are continuing their crackdown on tax evasion and are still focusing with real intensity on those who have completed plumber and electrician training courses. It may seem unfair and particularly vicious, especially given the level of tax evasion that goes on surrounding big money and big business, yet during the crackdown, serious levels of tax evasion have been uncovered.

This week West Midlands plumber David Williams was jailed for evading £91,000 of income tax and national insurance, justifying the high level of attention being given to the tax situation of plumbers, heating engineers, electricians and gas fitters.

The shocking level of tax evaded by Mr Williams over his 10 year career as a self-employed plumber does absolutely no favours for the industry or for the good names of those in the plumbing profession. According to HMRC, nine other plumbers have placed under arrest whilst investigations into their financial situations continue.

It is a real shame that the greedy practices of a few individuals are now injuring the reputation of other alumni from plumber and electrician training courses. This seems to be one of the most widely publicised HMRC campaigns – their 2011 crackdowns on medical professionals, companies evading VAT, offshore investments and private tutors do not seem to have warranted as much national attention.

If you are concerned about your tax situation, HMRC are now implementing a “disclosure opportunity”. Many tax issues are unintentional and these are the issues the tax man is hoping to confront. They are encouraging plumbers and electricians who have unintentionally (or otherwise) not paid their tax correctly to now come forward. If they do they will be hit with a severely reduced penalty rate – 10-20% of the tax owed. In comparison to the usual 100% rate that could affect them later, this is a real incentive to get your finances in order.

All good plumber and electrician training should equip its alumni for working life in their profession – this includes handling their finances. If you are considering beginning plumber or electrician training, ensure you select a course which will give you all the skills you need for a successful career. Here at Access we are proud to provide comprehensive plumber and electrician training. To find out more about our courses please browse the rest of the site or call 0800 345 7492 today.

You might already have heard of the great trade shortage in the UK.  Tilers are especially in short supply with more and more school-leavers and job seekers favouring office or retail jobs over manual jobs.  However, tiling is an excellent way to make a living and could pave the way to owning your own business and working for yourself. 

There are many tiling courses available including an NVQ in floor and wall tiling.  Of course, nothing can match experience and skill when it comes to learning a trade, but a good qualification shows you have spent the time mastering your art and learning in a classroom environment.  This is a great way to learn, discuss the trade with others, and to get expert advice from a professional tutor with experience of the trade and also the industry. 

The life of a tiler can be very varied.  One week they might be fitting wall tiles in a bathroom or floor tiles in a retail outlet.  That’s the beauty of a trade like this.  The work will always be different and therefore you’ll pick up many more skills in a short space of time.  Tiling courses can teach you a lot of these skills, but it’s only when you get out into the real world that you start to learn new techniques that will stay with you for life. 

Good tilers are surprisingly difficult to find which is why many building companies pay good money in order to hang onto their tiling experts.  Not only do you have to be good with cutting and fitting tiles, but you also need to  know all there is to know about preparation and calculating how many tiles you need and where they are going to go.  You will also need to be good at levelling off plaster and applying grout.  These are all basic skills, but you might also want to add to your skills by taking tiling courses that teach you how to plaster a wall or lay cement on a floor.  The more skills you have under your belt the more valuable you will be to an employer.

What you need to be a good tiler:

•    Excellent practical skills – there are many tiling courses that can get you off to a good start
•    An accurate and methodical way of working
•    Good numerical skills – you’ll be measuring and calculating materials and surfaces
•    Have creative flair (although this isn’t always essential) and be able to match patterns and colours
•    Be comfortable following technical diagrams and plans
•    Be fit and able to carry heavy tools such as tile cutters and bags of grout
•    Be confident working as part of a team or on your own
•    Be comfortable talking to clients in their own home or offices
•    If you are going to go self-employed you will need to keep your accounts and paperwork in order

Here at Access Training, we offer comprehensive tiling courses which will help you pave your way to your new profession. Our tiling courses are both thorough and flexible, allowing you to learn all you need to know, in a way that suits you. To find out more, please get in touch on 0800 345 7492 today.

Training to be a plumber is not plain sailing for any student but, for many women training to be a plumber, sexual harassment in the workplace makes gaining skills and experience even harder. The recent story of Sheona Keith who spent 3 years training to be a plumber only to experience sexual harassment, contempt and redundancy is a worrying example.

After training to be a plumber for 3 years, Sheona Keith found that she was the victim of sexism and even sexual harassment in her day-to-day work as a fully qualified plumber. After months of this sort of treatment Keith was made redundant. The depression and anger that this situation caused resulted in Keith committing actual bodily harm when she found herself, once again, the victim of unwanted sexual attention in a nightclub.

According to the judge:  “You [Sheona Keith] worked hard but your chosen line of work took you into a completely male dominated environment and one where I am afraid you had to put up with sexist comments and harassment which there is no excuse for.”

"This forms the background of why you lost your job and in the end resulted in all this. You went to a night club even though you normally don't drink and don't go out.”

The fact that law-abiding, talented women who have gone through rigorous training to be a plumber are made to feel unsafe and driven to desperate acts due to the behaviour of clients is a sad truth for the plumbing industry, and a problem that the plumbing community need to confront.

Access Training believe that everyone has the right to a shining plumbing career after completing training to be a plumber – a career which is based purely on merit, not gender. We provide fully accredited training to be a plumber which allows students to become the very best they can be. For more information  about receiving top-notch training to be a plumber in a supportive and inspiring environment, speak to our team today on 0800 345 7492.

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