When you finish your chosen courses and become a fully qualified trades-person, your white van and your tools will become your biggest asset! These items do not come cheap and can prove to be quite disruptive to your business if they breakdown, or worse – get stolen.

According to a recent study conducted by ironmongery Direct, 23% tradespeople surveyed have had the unfortunate experience of a van theft, 230 of the 1000 people have experienced theft in the last five years.

Even though it has been reported by the Office for National Statistics that vehicle crime is decreasing, it is not surprising that vans get broken into more than cars, because of the potential of stealing some expensive tools.

Ironmongery Direct also uncovered in their study the regions which received the most break-ins, with the West Midlands coming out on top with a shocking 1,854 van thefts and a total of £6,381,239 stolen in the past 3 years. The region which received the second highest amount of theft is West Yorkshire, with a value of £3,000,925 stolen and 993 vans broken into over the same period.

Meanwhile, tradespeople in Merseyside experienced 653 thefts, 210 in Nottingham and 218 in Northumbria. Surprisingly, the city of London had the lowest amount of van thefts with 2 thefts reported over the last three year period.

As a trades person, your tools and your van are your most valuable assets, so keeping them safe should be your top priority.  Keeping your tools safe could be the difference of you going out to your jobs and earning money, you have to turn jobs down while you spend money getting your tools replaced.

To keep your tools safe, you should;

  • take any tools out of your van at the end of your working day,
  • park your van in a garage, so that thieves cannot access it,
  • install anti-theft boxes in your van with anti-drill locks
  • make your van harder to break into – install slam locks, dead locks
  • Don’t leave your van unlocked – ever! Opportunistic thieves are always on the lookout!
  • Make sure you have tagged all your tools, and
  • Place a “No tools are lift in this van” deterrent sticker on the back of your van

Despite all this talk of break-ins, learning a trade can be a very rewarding career. No longer are you confined to the office walls between the hours of 9 and 5:30, doing a job that doesn't motivate you, and the only time you get to go outside is on your half an hour lunch!

Once you have become fully qualified in your chosen area, you can pick up the jobs which you want to do. Fancy a long lunch break, or even the afternoon off? Why not?! As a skilled trades-person, you have the ability to choose when hours you want to work.

Maybe your struggling to get by on £23,000 salary, as a qualified you could be earning up to £30K+ a year! Especially now, as there is currently huge demand for skilled workers, and not enough people to fill the gap! Essentially, if you are willing to put in the long hours, you will be rewarded with a very healthy salary.  Just remember to keep your tools safe!!

If all this talk about theft hasn't deterred you from wanting to learn a trade, click on the links below for more information about the courses that we offer.


One of the great advantages that comes from training as a plumber, is the flexibility and availability of the work on offer, a benefit that has been enjoyed by many of the individuals who have previously completed our range of plumbing courses. If you're considering a career in plumbing, or if you're thinking about leaving your current job for a new profession, you'll want to gain a thorough understanding of the options available to you before you commit to a training path. To help you gain an understanding of the level of training we offer, we've included some testimonials from our previous students, which highlight the opportunities they have managed to secure since completing their training with us:

My plumbing business is going from strength to strength. I've had a dramatic change in fortune since leaving the Post Office! 
Lee Taylor 

As you can see from the statement above, it is possible to begin your career as a plumber from a completely unrelated starting point, which means that there is no call for previous experience before starting the course. It also gives you the chance to work in an industry with countless opportunities to work on a self-employed basis, as well as to start your own business. This goes to show that our training courses do not simply take you from one job to another, but are able to completely transform your work life for the better.

I had no previous experience of plumbing before, but the course simulates real life situations and the tutors are so helpful that I feel totally confident in my work. Being a self employed plumber is the best job I've ever done.
Steven Walker 

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages that comes from completing our courses, is the style and quality of the teaching on offer, which allows you to gain industry required qualifications as well a thorough understanding of the practical requirements of the job. As Stephen notes, the guidance he received whilst completing his course allowed him to have total confidence in his abilities when he went on to peruse his professional career, so much so that he was eventually able to start his own business:

I simply wouldn't have been able to start my business without Access Training. I can't praise the company enough, my plumbing business is growing, it's been going for 18 months now and I've employed two people from Access Training who did the same course as me!
Steven Walker 

Stephen's second statement also highlights another advantage of completing our courses, which is the fact that it allows you to make useful contacts in your fellow candidates. Whether you go on to seek employment with an existing company or with a view to starting your own business, it is always incredibly useful to have trustworthy contacts who can help you find employment, and support you on the road to success.

To read more testimonials from our plumbing courses, or one of the many other areas we cover here at Access Training, click here.

According to the latest figures, the UK's construction workforce has shrunk by 12.9% since 2008. This is particularly strange due to the abundance of work currently available to contractors, which would suggest that the industry in busier than ever, with workers often having to turn down work because they already have an existing contract or promise of work with another employer. In spite of the surge in demand, however, the amount of workers in the industry fell dramatically last year, with 16,000 less people in the profession between 2014 and 2015.

Industry experts have put this dramatic fall in numbers down to a shirking talent pool, with people previously trained in the profession either retiring, in work, or having moved to other industries during a low period of work after the recession in 2009. Since the recovery in 2012 and 2013, those who remained in the profession managed to regain regular employment straight away, but they were not joined by a high number of new or returning workers. This means that firms can no longer rely on a once-abundant pool of talent to recruit from, which prevents them from expanding and in turn, presents a barrier for overall industry growth.

What the construction industry now needs is an surge of new talent from young people entering the industry, as well as those from a non-construction background who have decided to change their career. Before expansion and increased job security is possible, there must be enough skilled tradespeople to meet the demands of the industry, and to ensure a high calibre work force. At Access Training, we've helped countless individuals to gain the skills so desperately needed in the industry, allowing them to access a new and fruitful career path. From total beginners to ex service men and women, we have helped a diverse pool of candidates to reach their full potential and begin a successful career in construction.

Some of the courses we offer include:
and more!

Explore the rest of our site to see our full range of courses and lay the foundations for your future, as well that of the UK construction industry. For more information about our courses, get in touch with us today!


It has been reported that unemployment in the UK has been steadily decreasing over the last few years, but looking closely at the numbers, in the UK there is currently around 1.71 million people who are unemployed, get the skilled trades industry needs at least 35,000 entrants to stand still.

With enough unemployed people to help close the trade skills gap - why are people not considering a career as an electrician, plumber, or gas engineer? We believe that there is a distinct lack of information provided by schools about the qualifications needed and the career opportunities available for young people within skilled trade industries.

Mark Beard, chief executive of regional contractor Beard, believes that “only a few young people see construction as a viable, well paid or exciting industry to work in because careers information at school is generally inadequate and out-dated”

The industry must also build better relationships with careers advisor's and teachers, said Beard, as well as ensuring that they have high-quality information and materials that provide accurate and informed advice.

He added: “By stepping into the classroom and sharing insights about apprenticeships, work placements and our own career paths, we can help young people make informed choices. We can also advise them on the skill-sets and qualifications they’ll need to succeed in the digital construction world of the future.”

In general we agree with the point raised by Mark Beard. If construction companies and trade industry experts took the time to deliver career talks or engaging educational days to children, we could motivate more people to aspire to become a plumber or an electrician.

Firstly, It is important that we work to dispel the myths about trade jobs. Many people still see trades jobs and low paid, unimportant, and physically demanding jobs which are more suited to men than women, which is simply not the case. By dispelling these myths from a young age, we may find that more women aspire to become a trades-woman.   We need to start communicating to young people that learning a skilled trade is an important, exciting job, and there will always be plenty of well-paid, work available.

Secondly, we believe there is a lack of assistance for school leavers who wish to embark on a trade career instead of going to university. In many schools, the focus for many students is to carry on their education through 6th form or college and onto university. As we know, university doesn't appeal to everyone, and the pressure to go to university that some school apply on their students, may leave many people feeling alienated and questioning what careers paths they can embark on instead of going onto further education. To help educate students about careers in trade, industry experts should be working closely with schools and colleges. Helping to open the discussion about trade jobs and providing up to date information on the qualifications needed to become a skilled trades person will help educate and inspire people from a young age.

UK companies need to become more engaged with the younger generation, and need to inform children about the importance to skilled trades, and the need for individuals with a specialist skill set and the type of career they can have. For many students, not having an extortionate amount of debt over their heads upon completion of their education could be very appealing!


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Plumber becoming qualified

A question we get asked a lot here at Access Training is “what qualifications do I need to be a Plumber?” We hope to address and answer this question for many of you in today’s blog post.

To become a qualified plumber you will need to gain an industry-recognised qualification, this could be a City & Guilds award or an NVQ at level 2 or higher. The level is dependent on the experience you have. If you have no previous experience, we provide an NVQ Level 2 Certification – For New Plumbers Course, perfect for making a start on your plumbing qualifications. While it is still possible to get paid work without completing your NVQ Level 2 certification, you may be limited with the jobs that you are able to perform, and you will not be able to make nearly as much money as more qualified plumbers.

The qualifications that you will need will depend on which environment you would like to work in, either domestic or commercial. If you would like to embark on a career as a domestic plumber, you may be interested in our Essential Plumbing course. Our Essential Plumbing course covers all the key areas of plumbing, including how to run pipework, fitting radiators and bathrooms, installing external guttering, waste pipe and installing hot/cold water storage tanks. We also cover other areas, such as;

  • Health and safety
  • Electrical principles
  • Scientific principles
  • Domestic hot water systems
  • Sanitation
  • Central heating
  • Drainage and more!  

Our Essential Plumbing course covers the all of the basics of plumbing and will provide you will all the key skills necessary to work for recognised water companies, set up your own plumbing company or work as a plumber in other countries.

If, after completion of this course you would like to expand your skillset as a plumber, enrolling onto the City & Guilds 6189-57 Level 2 NVQ Diploma in plumbing and heating will provide you with an advanced level of knowledge. This practical assessment will set you apart as a fully qualified plumber and will test your ability to install bathrooms and repair, maintain heating and water systems.

To become a successful professional plumber you will need to become an “approved contractor” by your local water authority. This certification will allow you to take on contracts from your local housing associations, local authorities, health care trust and building contractors. Most employers will also require you to have this qualification. Our specially developed WRAS – Water Regulations Advisory Scheme course will equip you with all the knowledge you will need to gain an “approved” status. 

If you are really wanting to stand out from the crowd we also offer some advanced courses, such as the Unvented Hot Water Storage Systems course which will equip you with the skills you need to install and maintain unvented hot water systems, while familiarising you with the G3 Building Regulations and how to follow then when working with a Hot Water Storage System.

You may even wish to enrol onto our City and Guilds Bathroom Fitting Course which will equip you with all the knowledge you need to design and install bathrooms. Throughout this course, you will learn how to produce plastic and copper pipework, how to fit bathroom interiors and how to select the resources to complete each job.

On top of these qualifications, many of our students go on to study for their ACS Gas certificate which allows you to progress and become a gas safe registered allowing you to work on domestic gas appliances. 

Here at Access Training, your success is important to us, which is why we have also developed 3 courses that will guide you to become a fully qualified plumber in the shortest time possible. If you are interested in any or all of the courses mentioned in this blog post, click below to view all of the plumbing courses we offer. Alternatively, you can contact us to speak to one of our course advisors for more information.

Browse our Plumbing Courses >

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