Now that we've entered August it's fair to say that the summer holidays have properly started, and school children aren't going to have to even think about school for another month. But what about those 18 year olds who are just coming out of sixth form/college? It's not so easy for them as they won't be going back in September - it's time for them to think about the next step in their lives.

For many university will be the most obvious route, engaging in another 3+ years of education with a qualification and a heap of debt at the end of it. And what job is that qualification likely to get you? With most graduates struggling to get jobs relevant to their degrees, they are now beginning to fill lower-level positions that would usually be taken by those who haven't gone to uni and want to work their way up into a career via experience. So where does that leave them? As you can guess, its a pretty big problem and calls into question just how useful some degrees are in landing you your 'dream' job.

But there are other reasons one might not want to go to university. After over a decade of timetables and school work, some people might want to put that behind them and move onto something different. Instead of more sitting at a desk and writing, there are practical options out there that will keep your working life active and varied. And of course, there is that matter of student loan/tuition fee debt that I briefly mentioned earlier...

With the demand for skilled tradespeople at an all-time high thanks to a construction boom and renewed interest in housebuilding, those looking for a direction outside of university may be perfectly suited to becoming a plumber, gas engineer, electrician, carpenter, plasterer, tiler, bricklayer or decorator. Or even a number of the above! But once again, there are a few ways to go about it.

One option is to take up a college course in your chosen trade. Not a bad option, but there are a few things to think about. These courses can take around two years to complete, which means once again resigning yourself to a strict regime of timetables. There's also the fact that colleges have to budget  their wide variety of courses, which means there's every possibility you could find yourself with facilities not quite as ideal as you might have hoped for.

The alternative? Completing an intensive training course with a private trainer, where you'll be able to earn your skills and qualifications in a matter of weeks. This probably sounds impossible to many of you, but with the right tutelage from experienced tradesmen in a state-of-the-art facility the combines the very best practical and theory training it's more than possible. And with a private trainer their ONLY focus is on the facilities and the training they provide, so you know that your chosen trade is a key subject for them.

Sound like the path you want to take? Then get in touch with Access Training Academies and book your training course today. We specialise in a wide variety of trades training courses, each manned by tutors with many years' experience in the business. All of our courses are accredited by leading awarding bodies such as City & Guilds, Logic and more, and designed to take you from a beginner level all the way to that of a trained professional. Not only that, but we keep our classes to a minimal size to allow the most one-to-one student/tutor time possible, so that you know you're getting the care and attention you paid for. Following completion of your course, you'll be ready to start your brand new career and even have the abilities to go self-employed should you so wish. Its your choice what path you choose but one thing is definitely for sure - you'll have earned yourself skills for life that are constantly in demand, and as such enjoy constant work with impressive wages.

This August, have a think about where you want your life to head next. And if you like the sound of this, give Access a call on 0800 345 7492.

Summer temperaturesIf the last few weeks have taught us anything, it's just how hot the British summer can get. This might be fantastic for when you're relaxing and sunbathing, but when you're working, things can get rather uncomfortable. On a construction site, it may be awfully tempting to strip down to keep cool, but this is a big risk to building site safety. Workplace equipment supplier Slingsby is urging workers to stay safe by continuing to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hard hats and high visibility clothing.

These things should be provided by your employer under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations, to cover health and safety risks where they can't be controlled in other ways. Slingsby encourage employers to ensure that their workers aren't wearing uncomfortable or ill-fitting clothes, and to take the various brands and styles into account when purchasing the right PPE.

Building site safety always comes first, even more so with the HSE currently on a blitz of construction sites in the UK. While the final figures are yet to be confirmed, during a 2-week period of inspections the Health & Safety Executive is estimated to have stopped work on 13 occasions due to poor conditions. Obviously these were due to more serious conditions such as exposure to hazardous substances and materials, but not having the right precautions could still lead to fines.

If you're a construction employer, it is your duty to keep your workers safe; if you're a worker its your responsibility to abide by the building site safety rules for the sake of your own life.

If you're considering a career in the construction industry but require the skills and qualifications to make it happen, give Access Training Academies a call on 0800 345 7492. We provide intensive training courses complete with City & Guilds accreditation in bricklaying, plastering, tiling, carpentry, plumbing, gas, electric and more. Even though our courses are far shorter than those you'll find at a college or similar facility, the quality of learning we provide is no different as our courses are staffed by tutors with many years' experience in the industry as professionals. Whatever your needs or goals may be, our team is ready to find the perfect course for you!

s1jobs, Scotland's largest recruitment platform, is reporting a "digital revolution" within the construction industry as they saw an almost 50% rise in job vacancies advertised online in April 2014 compared with the same month last year.

With the construction industry still very much in the middle of its recent boom, it seems job seekers are also getting wise to this with s1jobs also recording more than 46,000 job applications in the first four months of this year.

They believe this suggests that the stereotypical image of a builder is a thing of the past (and they wouldn't be wrong there!), with them now more likely to be scrolling through job listings on a pc, tablet or smartphone. More than 35,000 searches for construction vacancies are made on the s1jobs site each month, while 13,500 candidates have looked to maximise their recruitment prospects by posting their CV online on s1jobs.

Scottish construction recruiter Contract Scotland was also in agreement of this new trend, with spokesperson Jennifer Brown saying: "IT literacy is assumed these days rather than requested. Take it from us, we haven’t seen a paper CV in years – I would definitely say it’s becoming a thing of the past."

Don't be fooled into thinking this is just a trend happening in Scotland either. The ever-increasing use of the internet to advertise and apply for jobs is something that's happening all across the UK - and arguably the world as well! With the floodgates open for people all over to apply for jobs, it's more important than ever that you make sure you have the right skills to put yourself ahead of the crowd. And the most effective way to do that is with an Access Training Academies trades training course. From bricklaying and carpentry to plastering, tiling and painting/decorating, we have all your construction needs covered complete with full City & Guilds accreditation. Unlike college courses which can take years to complete to the same standard, our courses get you up to speed in a matter of weeks with intensive hands-on training from industry professionals.

From there, the world is your oyster and no amount of online application forms will stop you in achieving your goal. To find out more give our team a call on 0800 345 7492, where our course advisers would be happy to answer your questions.

News via Installer magazine

How Safe Is Your House? is a new programme from the BBC that looks at all the different accidents that can befall homeowners. Not only does it feature experts uncovering home dangers that you might not know about, it also goes undercover to expose rogue tradespeople and the shoddy work they perform while pretending to be fully qualified. The second episode in the series aired last night on BBC 1, and included was something very important to us here at Access Training - proper gas engineer training and the Gas Safe Register.

It is estimated that there are currently around 7500 unqualified gas engineers working illegally in the UK, installing up a quarter of a million (250,000) appliances in our homes. All engineers should be part of the Gas Safe Register to work legally on any sort of gas appliance, and without that not only are they working illegally but you have no way of knowing how qualified these engineers really are. One simple registration may not be enough either - engineers must have separate qualifications for EACH gas appliance they work on. So if an engineer is Gas Safe Registered to work on boilers, that doesn't necessarily mean he has the qualifications to work on fires. The information as to exactly what your hired engineer is qualified in can be found on the back of their Gas Safe ID card, which you can ask to see at any time.

Operating as a gas engineer without first joining the register can not only result in fines/imprisonment, but it also endangers the lives of the homeowners who are placing their trust in you. A quick phone call is all it can take for a doubtful homeowner to double check whether their engineer is registered, and Gas Safe also provide these records online. With it so easy to be caught out, is it really worth endangering the lives of others and risking facing the law?

Andrew Barnes seemed to think so, as he was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive for not being Gas Safe Registered, fined and given a conditional discharge. Two months later, he was at it again without getting registered. How Safe is Your House went undercover to expose him, eventually confronting him when he continued to claim he was legally registered to work on gas appliances. It was only after this confrontation that he finally registered, but who knows what could have happened in the time he was practicing illegally.

The whole episode is well worth the watch, and can be found on BBC iPlayer for the next 6 days.

If you're training to become a gas engineer or considering a change of career to become a gas engineer, it is vital that you earn the correct qualifications and then become Gas Safe Registered. Here at Access Training we'll be able to help you with this, as we offer intensive gas training courses complete with a work placemebt and ACS assessment. You'll learn the basics from experienced gas engineers before moving on to completing a top quality portfolio working alongside an established engineer. Then you'll return to our centre ready to tackle the ACS assessments, fully qualifying you for Gas Safe Registration.

Having the right qualifications isn't just a matter of being the best you can, it's a legal obligation. Don't risk the lives of your customers, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 and get the correct training.

Bricklaying and plastering are two of the most common trades that come up in discussion about the skills shortage the construction industry is suffering from, but the latest State of Trade survey suggests this shortage is more dire than many may have thought - especially when it comes to small businesses.

The survey, set up by the Federation of Master Builders, found that more than a third of construction SMEs are struggling to recruit the required number of bricklayers to keep up with their workload. In additional to this, 27% of firms are also having difficulty finding the plasterers they need.

FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry said: "The results act as a stark warning that the government must not take the recovery in the construction sector for granted. Although this snapshot of small construction firms marks the fifth consecutive quarter of positive results, if we don’t have enough of the right people to complete the work, private and public projects could be stalled across the board."

With the skilled labourers demand rising in tandem with the demand for new building work, stalling projects really is becoming a major concern. The construction industry is relying on new people to earn their qualifications and join the workforce - people like you. Are you tired of your desk-based job, seek out a more physical and hands-on career or simpy want a more practical alternative to going to university? A construction career could be exactly what you're looking and for and after reading this, you know you'll be welcomed with open arms. Combine that with a varied worklife and impressive wage and you've got a pretty fantastic career ahead of you.

The quickest and most effective way to becoming a qualified plasterer or bricklayer is through an intensive training course from Access Training. In matter of weeks we can have you fully trained to a professional standard, complete with official City & Guilds qualifications. You'll be taught in a state-of-the-art centre by experienced tradespeople, who will be sharing their trade experiences as well as delivering the skills you need. And we don't just offer bricklaying and plastering either - we also have plumbing, electric, gas, carpentry, tiling and decorating courses ready and available!

Just give our team a call on 0800 345 7492 a course adviser will be in touch to discuss the options most suitable to you. Starting a brand new career has never been easier!

News via Construction Enquirer

As of the 1st July, the Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) are no longer issuing the Green Construction Site Operative (CSO) card, replacing it with a brand new Green Labourer Card.

The CSCS’ role is to provide a scheme for the construction industry that confirms site workers’ training and qualifications. However many site workers carrying out skilled occupations have been applying for the green CSO card simply as the easiest route to gain access to construction sites. This in turn has made it difficult for contractors to use CSCS cards as a reliable method of checking that site workers have the appropriate skills to work on construction sites safely and effectively.

The new card requires applicants to achieve the Level 1 Health and Safety in a Construction Environment qualification, designed to improve safe working practices on UK construction sites. This isn't just applicable to newcomers to the construction industry either - those who need to renew their card will also require this qualification.

City & Guilds will be supplying this as the 6072 qualification, which we are approved to run here in Cardiff at Access Training. For those closer to the Kent area that need to complete this to start their brand new career, we will soon also be providing the same service at our sister centre the Plumbing Academy. For more information on what this qualification entails and to book your place, get in touch with our course advisers on 0800 345 7492.

Many have been speculating it for a while now, but yesterday Sky News were warned by experts that the shortage of skilled workers is having a serious impact on the construction industry's recovery.

In order to keep up with the huge demand for new houses, thousands of workers will need to be recruited and trained over the next few years. Last year a total of 108.190 houses were fully built in England, falling very short of the 220,000 target the Home Builder's Federation says are needed to keep up with demand. In turn, the shortage is then driving up house prices, being cited as one of the many factors contributed to the rising costs.

The CITB estimate that around 390,000 workers left the construction industry during the recession, and since 2008 fewer apprentices have joined the sector. This has resulted in an aging workforce, with a further 410,000 estimated to retire in the next five years.

Speaking to building firms across the UK, Sky News were told that bricklayers and roofers were among the trades the industry is most struggling to get an influx of. One interviewee - Mark Aldcroft, who manages a site near Stockport, also said: "Sometimes we can't get enough of the joinery industry because they're being pulled from pillar to post, various other contractors and house builders."

Mike Bialyj from the CITB said there will "undoubtedly" be an impact on the housing sector, telling Sky: "One in 20 companies were forecasting that their business could be damaged or even irreparably damaged due to the skills shortage, so we really do need to make sure we fill the gap."

With an estimated 80% of properties now unaffordable for the average working family partially because of this, its more important than ever that this skill gap is filled. Construction workers are needed more than ever, and two year-long college courses may not be able to fill them in time. What you need is an intensive training course like the kind we offer here at Access Training. Even though your training will take place in a matter of weeks, these courses don't skip out on any of the quality you'll find elsewhere. You'll learn from experienced tradespeople as you work up from the basics and earn official City & Guilds qualifications along the way. Upon completion you'll have the skills and knowledge of a professional tradesperson and be ready to start a brand new career.

Want to find out more? Get in contact with one of our course advisers by calling 0800 345 7492 or filling in the online form here on our website. They'll be happy to speak to you in more detail, answer any queries and even provide you with a tour of our training facilities. 

The housing may be in trouble, but you could be the one to help save it. If you're tired of your current work and/or are looking for something more active and hands-on - then a construction career could be the opportunity you've been waiting for.

Set up by the Women's Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary, today is National Women in Engineering Day and its aim is to focus attention on the great opportunities available to women in the engineering sector and construction industry as a whole.

The aim is to encourage all groups - from the Government and employers to careers advisers and students, to work together toward creating an environment to encourage and increase the number of women engineers. People are doing their own things across the UK - from college talks to publishing polls of their female workforce in an attempt to highlight potential barriers. Results from construction service WSP proved quite promising, with more than 20% of their engineering workforce female and 43% of these graduate rank or below. The majority of those surveyed also didn't believe that gender hindered their career progression, that there weren't any barriers to them upon entering and that they even had engineering mentioned to them as a career at school. Hopefully these are signs that the number of women entering the industry are indeed increasing.

The gender imbalance in the construction industry is something we feel very strongly about here at Access, and something we want to do our part it down. Recently we were featured on Sky News' piece about the troubles of "White Van Women", where Sky's reporters came down and spoke to our trainees and tutors about their thoughts on women in the industry. We're in agreement that construction isn't at all a man's world, and male dominance has only really come from years of stereotyping and women being guided away from those sort of careers. Notice how a lot of people simply say "tradesman"? Little things like that are enough to simply sway young people away.

This is why for the entire month of July, Access Training will be offering up to 50% off of ALL of our courses to female trainees. In addition to that we'll be spending the month featuring testimonials from some of our female trainees who have either just finished their courses here or have now gone to to bigger and better things with their trade qualifications so you can read all about the life tradespeople lead. So if you're looking to start a career in plumbing, electric, gas, carpentry, plastering, tiling, painting/decorating or even all of the above and just need to find the right training to get those all-important qualifications - keep an eye on Access throughout July. Every little bit of saving helps and upon completion of our training courses you may find yourself well on the way to setting up your own business. 

In the meantime, for more information on our courses give our advice team a call on 0800 345 7492.

Statistics via The Construction Index

Click here for more info on National Women in Engineering Day

It's always been said that plumbers are constantly in demand, but did you know that said demand is so high that many existing plumbers are working well over 48 hours a week? It isn't just the customers that need more fully-trained professional plumbers, it looks like the plumbers themselves could use a bit of help too!

A new survey carried out by plumbing assurance scheme WaterSafe found that over half of UK plumbers are working over the maximum working hours with the Working Time Directive. Along with the 54% working over 48 hours, 26% are working between 40-48 hours - with only 13% working between 35-40 hours. What does this mean? Well, 94% of the plumbers spoken to thought that their long hours are having a negative impact on their family and social life.

So what's causing these unhealthy work shifts? 61% said that they've had to extend their working hours over the last ten years, and when asked 77% thought that the recession had impacted their business. Aditionally, 41% commented that customers think that cost is the most important factor when hiring a plumber, rather than who is suitably qualified for the job.

CIPHE CEO and WaterSafe board member Kevin Wellman said it was "concerning" to see such a large proportion of plumbers having to work such long hours in order to meet consumer demand.

He added: "It's important that the industry steps up to addresses this issue because overworked, tired plumbers could potentially result in unsafe installations and have a negative impact on their home life. Moreover, if we want to encourage young people into the industry we need to ensure hours are realistic and the industry is a well-regulated, safe place to work."

With more work available than what the current load of plumbers to handle, becoming a qualified plumber doesn't sound like a bad idea. And if you choose to take those skills and become self-employed, you'll be able to choose the hours you work. Overwork may be a problem for plumbers, but with self-employment you'll always have that option of stopping when you know you need to stop. Physical, varied, rewarding work with good pay and an opportunity for self-employment. Sounds perfect, but where do you start?

You start at the beginning of course, and that's with an intensive plumbing course with us here at Access Training. Working alongside our professional team of tutors, you'll work your way from a beginner all the way up to a trained professional, not only learning the practical skills needed but also the required theory and qualifications. Despite taking a fraction of the time it takes to complete a plumbing course in college, there's absolutely no skimping on quality as you work alongside tutors who've spent years in the plumbing industry. Not only will they be teaching you the relevant plumbing theory, but also offer their wisdom when it comes to working in the industry.

To find out more about our plumbing courses as well as all the other trades training we supply at Access, give our advice team a call on 0800 3457492 or fill in the online form found here on this website. The team are ready to answer all of your questions and explain things in more detail.

Last week we blogged about how Sky News came down to our centre to looking for women entering trade professions such as plumbing, electrics, painting/decorating, carpentry and more. In the morning they spent filming, Sky not only had a good look around our centre but also spoke to a few of our female trainees - and of course our carpentry tutor!

The filming was for a piece they've titled White Van Woman 'Held Back By Sexism', which suggests that the recent claim that women make up around 6% of all tradespeople might not be as accurate as people are claiming. In fact, they spoke to Women and Manual Trades and found that figure to be more like 1%. Despite trade careers not being pushed hard enough to school leavers, women account for one in ten of those signing up for training here at Access and hopefully that figure will continue to grow as the gender barriers are slowly broken down.

Following an interview with Stopcock's Hattie Hasan, the report takes a look at the training environment we have here at Access and speaks to trainee plumber Mary Henderson. Following that carpentry tutor Gary gives his input on why women should be encouraged more to take up trade careers.

The full video can be viewed below:

Link to full Sky News feature

It seems our Tuesday blog post, entitled "Female Tradespeople on the Rise", was perfectly timed as yesterday Access Training received a visit from none other than Sky News. Working on a piece looking at the growth of females in trade careers such as plumbing, gas, carpentry, painting/decorating and more, Sky had a look around our centre before filming some of our woman trainees hard at work and then briefly interviewing them on their thoughts on women in the trade. Also interviewed as our very own carpentry tutor Gary, giving some of his thoughts on the differences he's seen between men and women working in the trade.

With women tradespeople now reportedly making up nearly 6% of the industry's overall workforce, the media are finally paying more attention to female tradespeople and why they are just as good (if not better) for the job as men are. The Sky News report won't just focus on women training here at Access, but also speak with women who have been working in the business for sometime.

Take a look below to see some of the photos we took from yesterday's filming:

The short piece is set to go out on Sky News sometime this weekend (we'll update you via Twitter and Facebook once it is confirmed) and will likely be shown repeatedly throughout the day. Be sure to watch out for us and if you're thinking of training towards a trade career - give us a call on 0800 345 7492! You'll then be able to get in contact with our course advice team, learn more about the courses we offer and even come visit our training facilities. As well as becoming a professional tradesperson quickly and effectively, who knows - maybe you'll end up on TV too!

Earlier this week the Guardian posted an article titled "The Rise of white van woman". Reading through it you'll see that, while perhaps not the best written article around, it does reveal one very important point - more and more women are now taking up trades such as plumbing, electrics, carpentry, bricklaying and more.

According to a study of 10,000 tradespeople across the UK from IronmongeryDirect (reported in Professional Builder magazine), women now represent 5.7% of all working tradespeople - dispelling notions by coming in higher than the proportion of migrant workers in the UK (4.6%). In the grand scheme of things this might still seem like a small figure, but is still a big leap forward that lead to further gender equality in the trades.

The Guardian's article also notes that between 2011 and 2012, B&Q reported a 400% increase in the number of women enrolling in its skills workshops. During this time Britain was also going through its economic recession, and so many women who were losing their jobs were going on to set up their own businesses. The appeal of a more physical and rewarding trade career has caught on, with more and more women starting their own businesses and groups/magazines such as Women In Trade. WIC Wales and Stopcocks forming to give support. The supposed gender barriers are breaking down at long last, and this is nothing but a good thing.

And it seems customers have no qualms with female tradespeople either, making the noticeable gender segregation in the trades even more outdated and antiquated. At Access Training we welcome female tradespeople just as we do male, which is why our doors are open to people of all ages, background and gender. These things should make no difference in a person's drive to become a qualified tradesperson, and this is reflected in the training we offer. Each week we see more and more female trainers come through our doors, all of which go on to have successful businesses in their respective trades. For example - Sarah Chandler from Cardiff was working as an administrator before she decided to change her career into something more practical. After completing both a plumbing and multi-skills construction course with us, she has now set up her own business, SLC Home Improvements, and is never short of work.

Are you looking to start a brand new career as a qualified tradesperson? Covering plumbing, electrics, gas engineering, carpentry, bricklaying, plastering, tiling and painting/decorating, Access Training offers a wide range of expertise taught under one roof by an experienced teaching staff. To find out more about our courses and to book your place, please give our advice team a call on 0800 345 7492.