With the construction trade experiencing significant growth over the last financial quarter, economists are forecasting a huge boom for the industry over the next four years. Obviously that makes it the perfect time to locate a suitable construction training course, get qualified and start a new career ready for this influx of work. But is this recession-worn Britain ready for the boom? Do we have enough quality construction training courses ready, or even enough interest generated for new recruits?

The construction industry has only just gotten itself out of a worker shortage, and the plastering and bricklaying trades are still struggling with recruitment. This also ties in with another problem the industry have, which is that a majority of the construction workforce is due to retire within the next 5-10 years. So we have a forecasted growth in output, a bulk of the workforce set to retire and trouble with recruiting new workers...no wonder the situation has been referred to as a "ticking time bomb" by some!

The first thing the UK needs to do is generate interest amongst young people. We've all heard the stories about university degrees not getting people very far in life so maybe it's time to give construction training a chance. Younger people need to be encouraged to take up a more physical career in the industry, and sold upon its strong points rather than put off by some of the stereotypes that go with it. Better pushing of the skills you learn, the variety of work and the rewards that come with it are sure to interest people, beginning them on their new career path and solving the problem of the retiring workforce.

That's the time bomb problem solved in the long run, but the industry is also working to a pretty strict deadline. People are retiring every day and construction demand is continuously rising - so we need skilled workers fast. There's plenty of construction training offered by college courses across the country, but two to three years is a long time to wait and their facilities are often lacking because resources are spread thinly across so many different areas. Intensive construction courses are the answer to this problem, offering the same level of skill and expertise (if not better), in only a fraction of the time. With centres entirely dedicated to construction training, students will also know that the focus is always on exactly what they're getting.

Take Access Training for example. Bricklaying, plastering, tiling, carpentry and painting/decorating all under one roof, with each one taught by an experienced professional. You can train in one trade, or even try your hand at them all with our tailor-made multiskills courses. And if you get the qualifications in your chosen trade and want to come back for more, we make it simply to continue on your training experience and build up your skillset even further.

So there we have it, some very crucial problems the construction industry faces before its big boom can get going properly, and some very obvious solutions to them. To find out more about Access' range of construction training and to book your place, please get in contact with one of our course advisers on 0800 345 7492 today.

As a former All Black and Cardiff Blues rugby team captain, 36-year old Xavier Rush is someone sports fans have probably heard of. But after a successful sporting career at both domestic and international levels he’s finally hanging his boots up and moving on to the next stage of his life. Choosing to retrain to become a fully-fledged property developer, he approached Access Training Academies and recently completed our kitchen fitting course. Now he’s moving on toward even more qualifications to expand his trade resume and take on even more work.

We sat down with his to discuss his plans for the future and how he’s finding the change from a ball to a toolkit...

Now that you’ve retired, what’s next for Xavier Rush?

Now that I’ve finished my rugby career I knew I obviously needed to retrain in something. I’ve always enjoyed properties and doing them up so I’ve come here to get as many strings to my bow as possible. The more I can do the less people I’d need to get in for jobs and the less I’d need to pay out.

I first did carpentry when I was 18 and had just left school, but it’s great to have a facility so close to me and the speed at which you can build your skills up. I originally came to do kitchen fitting which I’ve completed, but there’s the Part P electrical component to it too which I’m doing now for the next two and a half weeks. After that I plan to crack on and do six weeks of plumbing as well!

How has the course been so far?

I’ve been really enjoying it and the tutors have been excellent. There’s always some things that you’re better at than others – some of the bends in the plumbing took some time to get my head around. But the more practice you have the better you get at it. You aren’t going to sail through every day – some days are worse than others but you often find once you’ve slept on it, you come back the next day and get it. It’s great to be learning new skills and really refreshing to have a change of career. A lot of people get a bit scared but I’m really looking forward to it – it’s life after rugby for me.

Will you miss the rugby life?

Of course there’s always aspects you will miss – the getting up for a big game like a Heineken Cup match, playing in front of a big crowd. I’ll miss those moments but there’s enough of them in the memory bank to call on every now and then. It’s nice to be on the other side of it now and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my career. I feel quite fortunate – it was a fairly long career and now I’m more excited about getting things started with my own business. It’s just time to move forward with life.

Look forward to more updates from Xavier Rush, who will be sharing his training experiences with us each week as he works towards his new qualifications. In the meantime if you have any questions you'd like to ask him about turning towards a brand new career, let us know on Twitter or Facebook and we'll pass the best ones onto him.

TrustMark, the government-endorsed quality mark for tradesmen, have issued guidance for homeowners who are keen to take advantage of new Green Deal upgrades.

The new guidance has been issued amidst fears that an increasing number of Green Deal cowboys are in operation, who are quick to fleece householders for any other work which arises out of the Green Deal work.

The work carried out under the Green Deal is regulated by certain controls which have been put in place. However, as TrustMark chairman Liz Male explains, it is the supplementary work which does not fall under the bracket of the Green Deal which is the route of the problem.

“We want to give the Green Deal every chance of becoming a roaring success, boosting the energy efficiency and comfort of homes across the UK. However, with the oldest housing stock in Europe, we are also well aware that many homes will require essential repair and maintenance work before they are in a position where solid wall insulation, new heating systems and other upgrades can be installed. Much of this work will not be covered by the Green Deal and therefore the consumer protection safeguards we have put in place will not apply. In this instance householders should turn to TrustMark registered tradesmen to complete the work.

“Having lobbied hard for a code of practice, we will not allow the Green Deal to be used by rogue traders as a method of deceiving or conning the public. The guidance we have set out includes clear advice to Green Deal providers that they must ensure any ‘ancillary works’ are completed properly by vetted and insured tradesmen who work under the TrustMark banner”.

The advice being given to householders wishing to be a part of the Green Deal scheme is not to be tempted to ask an installer to carry out any repair work as they are already in your home. You should always insist on using a TrustMark registered tradesmen, even if you are offered the repair, maintenance or improvement work there and then.

The leaflet is free to download at www.trustmark.org.uk/green-deal/.      

It will come as news to some of you that there is such a thing as a Considerate Contractors Scheme (CCS) in existence, which is due to publish its new code of practice in the new year, with the aim of making considerate contractors of us all.

The new regulations, which have been in development for the past three years, take the form of a five-point code. All CCS-registered sites and companies will be assessed against this code by scheme monitors, who will be charged with checking all registered sites and companies, as well as reporting and scoring the visit.

The new code, due to be implemented as of 1 January 2013, will replace the eight-point code which has remained largely unchanged for the past 15 years. However, with the expected standards having changed over the years, it is time raise the bar, with so many sites easily meeting the requirements of the code.

So, as of the new year, the five sections of the code will include:

•    Enhancing the appearance
•    Respecting the community
•    Protecting the environment
•    Securing safety
•    Caring for the workforce

To give contractors a thorough understanding of the new code, each section will be accompanied by an aspirational statement, along with four bullet points which list the areas the scheme considers within that section.

The latest incarnation of the Considerate Contractors Scheme is to introduce a scoring system, which scores each section out of a maximum 10 points. 5 points for each section signifies compliance, whilst a score of 10 signifies that registered sites or companies have introduced innovative practices or thinking that goes far beyond the expectations of the scheme, working to advance the standards by which the industry is judged.

Scheme chief executive Edward Hardy said: “After three years in development, the scheme is pleased to publish the new code and supporting documents. Working with a number of contractors and clients throughout the review process, the scheme is confident that the new code remains in keeping with the industry’s values, presenting an exciting challenge for registered sites and companies in raising the benchmark of considerate construction.”

Historically, property has yielded better returns than any other investment vehicle; an added benefit is that a piece of land never goes to zero value like equities and the likes.  Then, there is the regular income in the form of rent and the perks of living in a well made home to consider. However, are these benefits enough to justify the cost of enrolling in a property development course?

When should you consider property developer training?

If you have discretionary income or enough savings to invest in property, it would be best to jump into the sector well prepared. After all, a shoddily constructed house in a remote area will not fetch you the expected returns. This is where all the homework you put into buying a piece of land will come in handy.

Because property purchases involve a significant amount of money, it would certainly be prudent to consider taking a property development course before you embark on this rewarding pursuit on a business or professional level.

What can you expect from property developer training programmes?

Although a property development course offered by a reputable establishment will set you back by at least a few thousand pounds, the knowledge and experience that it provides will be invaluable when you wade out into the world of property dealings.

These training programs are designed to offer in depth information on every aspect of property development from choosing the right location to construction minutiae like interiors, tiling, plumbing, electrical systems, structural concepts and more. All in all, by the time you complete the training programme, you will be well versed with every facet of property development  

Choosing the best property development course for you

You will need to start looking for programs with a clear idea of how you intend to use this education. For instance, you can find both commercial as well residential property developer courses in the market. 

Also consider the precise area of property development that interests you; for instance, apart from the 360 degree courses that cover all aspects of property development, you can also find specific training programs that only deal with property law, or architecture and designing  or even with market analysis and more.

Once you know your requirements, look for information on establishments that offer property development courses. The internet is by far the most exhaustive source of data on colleges and other learning centres that offer vocational education.

In London alone, there are almost 40 colleges that offer training on property development; apart from this, you can also find numerous private establishments that offer formal courses on the subject.

Finally, always choose a program that will earn you a formal certification, preferably one that is accredited under the NCFE 2 Q license.

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