How many jobs do you feel capable of doing around your home? Can you bleed a radiator? Do you know how to hang a door?

Well, if you're a young adult and your answer to these questions is yes then you are part of the minority! A third of young people (37%) said they could confidently change a shower head, and even fewer (31%) said they knew how to bleed a radiator. When the same questions were asked of over 55 year olds, 65% said they could change a shower head, and a staggering 79% knew how to bleed a radiator!

So the question is, does experience come with age, or are we living with a generation of young people who aren't confident in picking up their tools and giving DIY a go?

Part of the problem is that young people, more often than not, live in rented properties rather than their own homes. This means they rely heavily on their landlords to pay for and solve any problems that may occur in the home. More often than not, young people are left for days, if not weeks, with an unfixed problem in their home while waiting for their landlords to organise a solution. 

We want to inspire young people to give DIY tasks a go, but one thing to be wary of is that there are some jobs you can do with the help of a YouTube video... but there are some jobs that should not be attempted without proper training (that's where we come in).

Improving Your DIY Skills

Besides offering some excellent Electrical, Gas and Plumbing Courses, we also offer a range of construction courses such as:

These courses will teach you skills that will prove very useful if you want to try your hand at DIY tasks around your home. Better still, you could use your trade to help complete jobs for friends, family or even start your own business and make a profit on your new DIY skills!

If you want to enquire about one of our courses, don't hesitate to get in touch - you can call us on 0800 345 7492 or click the button below to fill in an enquiry form today!

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Whether you’re starting your journey in the working world, looking to gain some additional skills or retraining as part of a career change, becoming a fully qualified professional in your chosen field can be an exciting endeavour.

For many, this can also present the opportunity to truly branch out on your own as a solo act. Running your own business can be a natural progression, particularly when it comes to those who have successfully completed electrical courses and plumbing courses.

That being said, having your own business is no small feat and can pose its own set of challenges. Nevertheless, working for yourself obviously has its fair share of perks too – but is the fruit worth the labour?

Let’s find out as we weigh up the pros and cons of having your own business.

 

pros and cons of having your own business,running your own business

 

Disadvantages of Running Your Own Business

While the benefits of running your own business can be huge, for every pro there is an opposing con to level the playing field. After all, if it were that easy, everyone would do it – so to think it’s all plain sailing would be naïve.

Before we get into the upside of running your own business, let’s take a look at the downside.

 

Start-Up Costs

Creating your own business from scratch naturally requires a lot of investment, particularly in the early stages when you’re getting your company off the ground. From equipment to registration fees, the overall sum can amount to a hefty chunk of change.

As such, starting a business can become a bit of a “chicken and egg” scenario. You need funds to make it happen and you can’t get funds without work, which often makes business loans (and the interest attached) a necessary evil.

In addition to financial demands, it also applies to time demands. Which leads us nicely to…

 

Longer Hours

On the other side of the coin, running your own business can also translate into long working hours, weekend projects and unsociable shifts. If a job needs to be completed and runs over, it’s on your head.

While it does present the opportunity to work when you want to, if you want to make your business a success, there will be periods when you have to put the work in.

 

Uncertainty

When you work for yourself, there is a definite element of uncertainty when it comes to income and workload, particularly in the early days while you are still yet to become an established name.

This can make it hard to plan financially as well as socially. Meanwhile, the market can change depending on the financial climate of the country, while undercutting and volume of local competition from rival firms can also influence your income.

 

Distractions

Running your own business can be great when it comes to freedom; however, it also can be a bit of a curse when it comes to outside demands. Distraction can come in many forms, particularly if you work from home.

What’s more, when you have no-one to answer to, friends and family can take that as an open invitation to lead you astray. As such, keeping your mind on the task at hand can be a lesson in discipline and self-control.

 

 

Advantages of Running Your Own Business

Now that the negatives have been covered, let’s take a walk on the positive side.

While there are reservations to be had when it comes to working for yourself, there are a long list of benefits that could potentially outweigh the negatives substantially – particularly if you have the drive and determination to succeed.

 

Be Your Own Boss

When you run your own business, you effectively answer to no-one…except the customer, course. Nobody can tell you what to do, no-one will grill you for missing your alarm and, perhaps best of all, nobody can fire or replace you.

Being your own boss also means you are in charge of your own destiny. All the important decision-making is left up to you and your fate really does lie in the palm of your own hands.

 

Creativity

Part of the appeal of running your own business is the unrivalled sense of creative autonomy that comes with it. The freedom to take your business in your own direction provides a sense of creativity that is rarely duplicated in an employed environment.

From the business name to company logo, your input is a vital part of the process and your ideas shape the outcome. Right down to the pricing of your services, you can set the bar at a level that you desire.

 

Sink or Swim

Running a business will expand your skills beyond the task itself and see you learn more about a variety of aspects: from marketing tactics to accounting. You will naturally learn what works and what doesn’t – which in itself can be a growing experience of maturation.

The personal satisfaction of growing your business yourself can create a proud achievement.

 

Flexibility

Perhaps the biggest bonus of running your own business is the genuine flexibility that comes with it. If you don’t want to work Mondays, don’t take that Monday morning booking; if you want to take the week off to take the kids away for half term, nobody can tell you otherwise.

When you steer the ship, you get out what you put in and – provided the demand is there – you can work as much or as little as you can afford to. Your workload rests almost entirely on your own work ethic.

 

Financial Windfall

Why should someone else reap the rewards of your hard work? When you work for yourself, the income generated goes directly into your proverbial pocket.

While you may have to pay out for X or Y along the way, the cash you’ve earned is yours to do with as you please, without someone else taking the lion’s share of the pie beforehand.

What’s more, you may also benefit from business expenses and tax exemptions, such as travel costs, office setup, etc.

 

So, there you have it, a balanced, Ying-Yang overview of self-employment. For more information on starting your own business or details on our wide variety of skills courses available to help start you on your journey, call now on 0800 345 7492 or get in touch using the button below.

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Whether it's laziness, a lack of training or cashflow issues, there are a number of reasons that may be used when discussing a career change with your teenager. It can be scary after all. But, if you’re a parent to a teenager who is looking for their first ever job, then we bet you’ve heard them every excuse in the book. 

It can be frustrating for you as you want your child to do their best, have aspirations and do well for themselves. Then on the flipside, they probably call you a nag and tell you to “just chill out”. We’ve all been there… or at least know someone who has. 

That’s why our team here at Access Training aim to make starting a career in trade as easy as it can possibly be. More...



Making the decision to drop out of university requires a lot of courage and maturity, but mostly it requires preparation and planning. 

It’s perfectly natural to decide that your course wasn’t what you expected it would be, or to find it too expensive, or to simply not enjoy the university lifestyle. There is nothing undignified about changing your mind once you’re there. In fact, more than 26,000 students dropped out of university in 2013/14.

Whatever the reason, it isn’t the end of the world. University is not the only path to a successful life and career. However, before making the decision it is highly useful to know what you’d like to do instead.

With so much pressure from schools and parents put on students to attend university, it might become hard to consider the many other career routes there are, which can provide you with just as prosperous a future.

If you are one of the thousands who discovered that university doesn’t necessarily give you ‘the best three years of your life’ and are searching for a new direction to go in, then read on - there is something better suited for you out there somewhere. More...




We're well over the halfway point of 2014 and even now the construction industry's huge growth spurt still shows no signs of slowing down. There have been so many pieces of news coming out lately that doing a blog post for every one of them would have taken ages! So here we've put together some of the latest headlines to have hit trade and construction news websites to show why it is a better time than ever for Britons to consider a career in the construction industry;

That's quite a few stories, all of which are pointing to the same two conclusions - construction growrth is at an all-time high, and skilled workers are going to be desperately in need to make sure this growth continues. Whether you're a school leaver or someone looking for a fresh start in a brand new job, Access Training Academies can help make that career in the construction industry happen. We specialise in all forms of construction training, including carpentry, plastering, tiling, bricklaying and painting/decorating - all of which have been specially designed to train you to the level of professional in a short and effective time frame. Along the way you'll earn the proper qualifications needed to start your new career, learning from tutors who've spent years' working in the industry. Despite the short timeframe, there's no quality skimped on our courses and you'll also have the additional benefit of learning trade secrets from those who know the ins and outs of the business.

For more information on our range of construction courses, give Access a call on 0800 345 7492 today and we'll find the perfect construction course for you.

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.

Government-endorsed quality mark Trustmark are now helping tradespeople comply with new changes to home improvement and repair contracts, following the introduction of the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.

These new regulations have introduced major changes to consumer projection law, applying to contracts made in stores, online and in-home. Failure to comply to these regs may lead to prosecution or fine, so it's important that all qualified tradespeople know exactly what they need to do.

Among the major changes are:

  • Consumers are to be given far more information prior to signing a contract. This includes everything from information about the trader and goods to cancellation rights and any applicable charges.
  • Traders need the active consent of the consumer for all payments. Methods such as pre-ticked boxes for additional payments are no longer acceptable.
  • Consumers are not liable for costs they've not been told about in advance
  • The cooling-off period for goods and services sold by distance or off-premises selling will be now be14 days from date of delivery of the products across the EU. Formerly this was seven days from date of contract.
  • Where the consumer has the right to cancel a contract, they must be provided with a model cancellation form by the trader
  • The cancellation period is extended to, broadly, 12 months if the trader fails to provide certain pre-contract information. The trader could also be liable to a fine of up to £5,000.
  • There are some exemptions in regards to cancellation rights, one of which is for products "made to the consumer's specification" – this will include such products as made-to-measure windows made to a consumer's specific requirements; another is for urgent repairs and maintenance when a consumer invites a trader to their home.

TrustMark chairman Liz Male said these changes are "a big step forward" in helping both consumers and traders enjoy a clear and positive relationship. She added: "What matters now is that all TrustMark-registered firms get the detailed guidance they need in order to ensure they are fully compliant. I’m delighted our approved scheme operators in this sector, including NICEIC and NAPIT are already busy providing this support to their registered firms."

More information and further developments can be found at TrustMark's website.

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.

BBC Wales Cymru have unveiled plans to move to a brand new purpose-build broadcast centre in the centre of Cardiff, prompting hundreds of new construction-based jobs in Wales.

After options to upgrade the current BBC Wales centre in Llandaff were ruled out for being costlier, disruptive and more time consuming, the decision was made to relocate to Cardiff's capital square - currently the site of its Central rail and bus stations. The BBC have said that the new centre will be roughly half the size of the current premises, making it less expensive to run.

This project is also expected to kick off "one of the capital's biggest urban regeneration projects in recent decades", with a new masterplan in the works for the north and south sides to the railway station. This, along with Cardiff's Queen Street station, are already undergoing massive rennovation work.

Cardiff City Council leader, Phil Bale, said: "This is very exciting news for the city and will fast-track our plans for the area. Currently this part of Cardiff city centre doesn't give the best impression and our aim is create a place that the people of Cardiff are proud of and one that leaves a lasting impression for visitors.

"This type of investment comes around once in a generation. It boosts Cardiff’s emergence as a leading centre for creative industries in Europe. The new gateway will show Cardiff in its true light, a modern fast growing vibrant capital city which has so much to offer for business and those who choose to live here."

Hundreds of new jobs means hundreds of new opportunities for both beginner and existing tradespeople. So if you want to gain the skills and qualifications to work in the construction industry professionally or simply need a top-up of your existing toolkit, Access Training can help you. Offering courses suitable to trainees coming from a variety of background and skill level, these courses offer the same level of quality you'd find in a college course in a fraction of the time. To find out more you can get in contact with one of our course advisers on 0800 345 7492.

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.