The four month ‘tax amnesty’ that was set up by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), where Electricians in the UK owed tax at a greatly reduced rate closed on August 14th.

Under the Electricians Tax Safe Plan which was launched on February 14th, HMRC permitted a reduced penalty charge of just 10% to electricians who had failed to pay the current levels of tax. The amnesty was for electricians who have been trained on an electrician course while other tradesmen in the UK such as plumbers and decorators still had to face penalties of up to 100%, with criminal investigation possible in the most extreme cases.

The HMRC campaign was for anyone who installs, maintains and tests electrical equipment, systems and appliances and covers all tax owed.

Marian Wilson, head of HMRC Campaigns, said: "Electricians who think they owe tax should get in touch today and get their tax affairs in order, easily and on the best terms.

"If you cannot afford to pay what you owe all at once, don't worry. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to spread the payments. Once the disclosure closes on 14th August, electricians who have not come forward but are found to have unpaid tax liabilities will face higher penalties, rising to 100% of the tax evaded, or possibly even criminal prosecution.”

The Electricians Tax Safe Plan is the second campaign aimed at tradespeople; the first targeted plumbers and heating engineers and raised an estimated £510m for HMRC.

Considering a change of career? Access will help train you in a variety of trades, with an electrician course that can give you an interesting, competitive job. For a range of flexible thorough trade training courses across the UK contact Access today on 0800 345 7492.

Electrician courses and a toolbag are not all it takes to be an electrician. You need to have the drive and the determination to succeed in the industry, alongside a passion for learning and understanding. If you’re considering becoming an electrician, but you’re not sure whether the career is for you, check out our quick guide to the skills and traits which stand prospective electrical students in good stead.

Genuine interest
This is the only characteristic which really matters – the rest are just bonuses. You can overcome any problem or weak spot if you genuinely care about the area and truly want to learn and improve. The very best electricians are those who love what they do and haven’t simply ‘hopped on the bandwagon’ as the profession is stable and lucrative. Taking joy in technology, problem solving and working with electrics will ensure you pass electrician courses with flying colours and go on to have a promising career as a spark.

Eye for detail
An eye for detail is a real asset when undertaking electrical work. Being able to spot small issues within a big picture can be a big advantage.

In terms of actual eyesight, the work can be very precise and delicate which means that good vision is very useful indeed. If you haven’t had your eyes tested for a while, ensuring you have the correct prescription is a good idea.

Colour blindness is one area which many prospective sparks worry about. The Equality Act (2010-11) means that you cannot be discriminated against for a disability so there is no cause for concern. Very few varieties of colour blindness cause problems for sparks. Monochrome or red-green colour blindness can be problematic but they can be worked around if you have the patience, dedication and drive.

Hand-eye coordination
Electrical work will find you up ladders, in tiny corners, scrambling in attics –being relatively agile will help with the demands of the job. Equally, close electrical work with small implements can be very fiddly and painstaking, making good hand-eye coordination a good asset to have.

Problem solving abilities

Electrical work can sometimes be a bit like a great big sodoku. If you relish getting to grips with a problem and using logic and practical know-how to solve it, you should start hunting for electrician courses today!

Here at Access Training we offer electrician courses for all levels of ability, whatever your background and whatever your goals. To learn more about our flexible electrician courses, please explore the rest of the Access site or speak to one of our friendly advisors today on 0800 345 7492.

paying tradesmen cash in hand

Paying tradesmen cash in hand is a common, convenient, and long-standing form of working. However, the government loses an estimated £2bn every year to this practice. Is it as bad a practice as it's being painted? Read on to find out.

Cash In Hand Payments

Paying tradesmen cash in hand means paying for a completed job without calculating tax. For example, if you install a new tap in someone’s bathroom, they could pay you £100 cash in hand, and you would go home with that amount in your pocket. A parent company might also do this, classifying its employees as freelancers and leaving them to sort out tax on their income alone.

This can easily lead to abuses of the system. It is much simpler, and illegal, to pocket the payments and therefore avoid taxation. Fortunately, not every graduate from plumbing courses or electrician courses works in this way. A great number of those who accept cash in hand payments are scrupulous and honest about their earnings.

However, there are tradesmen who offer ‘discounts’ for cash in hand payments, and they are an area of concern for the government. Paying tradesmen cash in hand has also been a legal method of payment for a long time now, particularly for freelance tradesmen who aren’t employed by a parent company. It is therefore difficult to police this particular issue.

For those tradespeople who manage payment in this way, the arrangement is beneficial both for themselves and for their clients. The taxpayer’s money it would take to tackle the minority who operate in this way would far exceed the gains to be made by ensuring every single transaction is fairly taxed.

Corporate tax evasion is also, arguably, a far greater issue facing the UK’s economy. No corporations have been punished for tax evasion by HMRC since the Corporate Criminal Offence was introduced nearly six years ago. A corporation is likely to owe a lot more in tax than a single freelance tradesperson or construction company that may only owe a few thousand pounds.


Are you a graduate from our plumbing courses, electricians’ courses or other types of trades training? What’s your preferred form of payment? Do you accept cash in hand? We’d love to hear from you on this subject.

If you are considering enrolling on plumbing courses or electrician courses, Access will help train you in all areas of your trade. From hands-on technical work, to running your business and working out tax - for flexible, thorough trades training courses, across the UK, contact Access today on 0800 345 7492.


Colleges and further education establishments have been criticised for providing training in areas which have very few real life job prospects. Meanwhile, with an excess of electrician and engineer positions available, colleges have not been encouraging enough students to enrol on electrician courses and their ilk.

This year it has emerged that 94,000 hair and beauty students completed training only to find that there were just 18,000 new jobs available in the sector. Media professionals and personal trainers are facing an identical problem – with thousands of new trainees every year and too few positions available to allow them to begin careers.

Electrician courses undersubscribed

Meanwhile, there are distinct gaps in the types of training which are being taken up. In areas where more newly qualified professionals are required, there simply are not enough students interested to fill the labour gap. Electrician courses, plumbing courses, engineering training and training for environmental work are all undersubscribed. An astonishing 40,000 students trained to fill 72,000 new positions in engineering and building. In the world of construction, 123,000 newly trained alumni had the pick of 275,000 positions.

Further educational focus is misplaced

The LGA (Local Government Association) is furious that educational establishments have not yet managed to find the correct balance to address this issue – especially at a time of high unemployment. According to one spokesman, the problem lies in colleges focussing on exam results and pass rates instead of ultimate job prospects. The drive to attain the best pass rates and secure the highest level of funding can lead colleges to encourage students to undertake easier ‘popular’ courses, like hair and beauty.

Alongside the surplus beauticians and joblessness there is another problem. In an economy where unemployment is rife at least 17% of job vacancies are attributed to skills shortages.

There are so many opportunities for fresh trainees in the trades sector currently, with an estimated 2 jobs available per student. If you’re interested in job security and excellent prospects, talk to Access about enrolling on plumbing, gas and electrician courses today on 0800 345 7492.

You might be a whizz at rewiring but if your electrician courses didn’t teach you to handle your finances correctly, you now have less than a week to sign up to repay any undisclosed tax to HM Revenue and Customs if you want to avoid huge fines and even criminal charges in the worst cases.

This window of opportunity was created after the government decided to get tough on tax. With high levels of tax evasion (intentional or accidental) present in industries where self-employment is common, HMRC decided to look into professions like plumbing and electrical work. They have given electricians a time frame in which to register to pay any undisclosed tax to encourage responsibility before taking tough action on tax evaders.

By Tuesday 15th May, any electricians who discover that they have not paid the full amount of tax will be required to have registered to pay back any unpaid amounts. If they submit their unpaid taxes by this time, they will receive radically reduced penalties of just 10-20%. If, however, they fail to register any unpaid tax, they will face up to 100% of penalties and could even be confronted by criminal charges in extreme cases.

Once owed tax has been registered, the electrician in question will have until 14th August 2012 to repay the full amount and any reduced penalties incurred. The overall scheme is being called the Electricians’ Tax Safe Plan, and is a vital lifeline for those with outstanding tax accrued either accidentally or intentionally.

Outside of the Electricians’ Tax Safe Plan, HMRC have developed tools to help them track down tax dodgers. Using trade directories, trade suppliers, professional electrical safety certificates and tax records, the HMRC have the resources to track down those who have failed to pay the correct tax. All the more reason to get your house in order before the ‘tax amnesty’ elapses.

Good electrician courses are designed to equip future sparks for work in the real world, and organising finances properly is a key part of life as a successful, thriving electrician.  If you’d like to learn more about electrician courses that will help you develop your real life skills, Access can help. With dozens of flexible, City & Guilds accredited electrician courses available, Access can set you on the right track to a bright electrical future. Call our friendly team today on 0800 345 7492 today.

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.

Renewable energy is proving to be a great direction for many of our graduates here at Access Training. Whether you have completed electrician courses or plumbing courses, your skills are needed in the renewable energy sector, where going Green is now big business. With great government schemes in place and renewable energy targets to meet, increasing numbers of projects involving solar panels, wind turbines and alternative renewable energy sources are springing up across England and Wales.

As fantastic as this is for local economies and our electrician courses graduates, renewable energy projects are not without contention. As popular as they are with environmentalists and those looking to boost local jobs, wind turbine projects are loathed by locals who believe that such projects will tarnish and ruin natural landscapes.

This year more than 100 wind turbines are set to be built across North Wales, with a substantial number planned for Anglesey. The 40 planned wind turbines on the island are proving particularly contentious, especially since many of these turbines will be over 330ft high. Those who oppose these plans are concerned that their erection will mar the landscape, industrialising Anglesey’s natural landscape and reducing revenue from tourism.

This is not a dispute which is likely to be solved easily. There are many strong arguments from both sides of the fence, yet more wind turbines means more apprenticeships, work and a bright future for those with excellent trade skills after completing training on electrician courses and gaining expert trade skills in a range of areas. This is especially important in a period of recession and high levels of unemployment. For those with an environmental conscience, these turbines will make a vital contribution to Wale’s plans to become self-sufficient on renewable energy by 2050.

If you’d like to learn more about how to use Access electrician courses, plumbing courses and many forward-thinking modules to get into the booming renewable energy sector, call our experienced team today on 0800 345 7492 for top advice from the training experts.

On Thursday the 1st March 2012, Cardiff City Stadium will be hosting an exciting free seminar that will introduce lots of businesses and tradespeople to the Government’s ‘Green Deal’ initiative. This initiative is set to bring a whole host of ecological, environmental and cost benefits to a wide range of tradespeople, including those who have qualified on plumber courses, electrician courses and many more vocational courses.

The Green Deal is likely to bring many fantastic schemes and opportunities to businesses and tradespeople who are prepared to ‘Go Green’.  The overall aim of the initiative is to improve energy efficiency and boost savings. From plumber courses to electrician courses, all manner of vocational courses now teach their students to install energy and water saving equipment and how to ensure all work done is performed in an environmentally friendly way. The Green Deal aims to take advantage of these skills which are out there in the workplace in order to save people money and improve the UK’s carbon footprint.

The seminar, which begins at 9am on Thursday and will last for around 3 and a half hours, aims to introduce businesses and tradespeople to the opportunities out there which the Green Deal will open up. Attending will allow those who have taken plumber courses and electrician courses to discover the new directions in which their industries are heading. Attendees will also learn about the possibilities which are likely to open up under the Green Deal initiative as well as the advice, training, support and information out there waiting to be taken advantage of.

The speakers will include spokespeople from companies already involved in the Green sector in a wide range of capacities. If you are looking to discover where your trade fits into a Green future, this is the perfect learning opportunity.

In the meantime, if you are looking for plumber courses or electrical courses which will equip you for the future of your chosen industry, Access Training offer City & Guilds accredited plumber and electrical courses which are both flexible and forward thinking. Call 0800 345 7492 today to speak to one of our friendly advisers.

Any spark qualifying on electrician courses over the next few months could find their finances under the close scrutiny of HMRC. In fact, contract electricians of all levels of experience could find their work and their income monitored very closely by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs over the coming year.

The ‘big push’ by HMRC has been taking place across the trades which are considered high risk industries for tax avoidance. This wave of intense scrutiny and bureaucracy is part of the government’s overall goal which is to cut back on benefit fraud, tax evasion and other ‘low-level’ financial crimes which cost the taxpayer millions of pounds every year.

Looking at the bigger picture, this move to closely monitor the earnings of those who have qualified on electrician courses is part of the country-wide austerity drive, aimed at reducing our deficit and minimising the need for cuts in essential areas such as health care and education.

Alongside tackling those qualified on electrician courses, HMRC have also been closely monitoring self-employed plumbers and other sole traders. According to those leading the campaign, the investigations will look closely at anyone who installs, maintains and tests electrical appliances and equipment.

The reason people will be monitored so closely after completing electrical courses is that electrical contractors working as sole traders are traditionally a little ‘foggy’ when it comes to income, figures and tax. Whether this is the result of dodgy accounting or simple forgetfulness is not clear – it may well be that qualified sparks who have taken all the requisite electrician courses have simply earned an unfair reputation.

Hopefully the ‘crackdown’ on those who have found work as self-employed sparks following electrician courses will show that the majority of those in the business are above board and legitimate.

If you would like to enjoy the freedom and lucrative wages of life as a self-employed electrician, speak to Access Training. We offer flexible, City & Guilds accredited electrician courses which will prepare you for life as an exceptional, passionate spark. Get in touch today on 0800 345 7492.

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