UK weather isn't always the kindest of things and, after some especially bad wind and rain earlier this year, it seems Spring is finally settling in nicely. This good turn in the weather seems to be especially good for skilled tradespeople, with their demand reaching record numbers as homeowners use this time to repair, maintain and even improve their properties.

This information comes from Trustmark, the Government-endorsed quality mark and online search database for qualified plumbers, electricians, carpenters, plasterers and more. In just the last four months, the number of searches across all trades has increased by 79% compared to that of last year - putting the total figure for the year on track to double that of 2013.

Among the trades which saw the highest improvements were ones that would be needed to fix properties after the Winter's spell of bad weather, including expert roofers (up an incredible 915%), flood recovery specialists (198%), garden landscapers (94%) and tree surgeons (91%). While this seems like a huge proportion of the searches, it was in fact only around 24% for these months as homeowners were on the lookout for many other handymen and women to improve their homes. Here are just a few of the trades that have seen a sharp rise in searches this year, many of which we teach here at Access:

  • Plasterers and renderers (88%)
  • Plumbing and heating engineers (83%)
  • Air conditioning specialists (79%)
  • Painters and decorators (77%)
  • Handymen (77%)
  • Electricians (52%)

So if you've ever wondered how "in demand" these trades are, the figures should speak for themselves. If you've been considering a change of a career and qualifying in a construction trade then now is the perfect time to do so. And you can forget about college courses and apprenticeships that would take up to three years to complete - at Access Training we can get you fully trained and qualified to a professional standard in a matter of weeks.

And to make this idea all the more enticing, we're holding a special offer on all of our courses throughout May in celebration of our birthday. We're offering up to 50% off of all of our courses this month when the deposit is paid in full, however the course itself does not have to be sat in May - you can complete and complete it when you're ready to! For more information and to speak to one of our course advice team, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.

Every year the Gas Safe Register holds a 'Gas Safety Week' to promote proper safety when it comes to gas installations and appliances and what signs to look for if you suspect a gas leak. Last year 2700 different industries (ourselves included!) pledged their support and got involved distributing leaflets, holding promotions or simply spreading the word about gas safety in any way that they could. However this year (taking place the 15th-21st September), they're calling on your to share your stories about being a Gas Safe Hero.

Russell Kramer, chief executive of the Gas Safe Register, explained that for 2014 the register's aim is to highlight the work registered engineers have done and how they've gone "above and beyond". This could be anything from simply holding neighbourhood events to raise awareness to fixing dodgy gas work or even evacuating a home in the event of a leak.

Engineers are able to share their stories by visiting GasSafeRegister.co.uk/hero, which will then go on to appear on the Gas Safety week website as well as potentially be shared with the media. In addition to this, the Register is also looking for Heroes to talk to the media about their experiences and help spread the word of Gas Safety. Those interested in nominating themselves as a spokesperson can also do so at the aforementioned link.

Mr Kramer concludes with these words;

"Gas Safety Week is about bringing gas safety to the forefront of people's minds. So this year, I'm urging the nation's engineers to join in – tell us your story, nominate yourself to be a spokesperson or pledge your support. It's only through the whole industry uniting that we can hope to reach the 23 million UK gas consumers - encouraging them to always use registered engineers, to get appliances checked regularly and to sign up to the free annual gas safety check reminder service at www.staygassafe.co.uk"

Are you on your way to becoming a Gas Safe Hero? Any budding engineer knows that in order to become a professional gas engineer, one must first pass their ACS assessments and sign on to the register - a legal requirement of ANYONE working on gas installations and appliances. But before any of this can happen, you first need a high quality gas training course and a proper work placement to put together a portfolio of your work. And where can you get all of these things? Here at Access Training of course!

At our state-of-the-art training centre, you'll learn all the theory and practical skills you need from our experienced team of tutors before moving out on a guaranteed work placement. Following completion of your portfolio you'll be able to come back and sit your ACS assessment, bringing you to the level of a fully qualified gas engineer. To find out more about the course give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

The amount of news there's been over the past few months concerning the construction industry's boom has been wonderful, and it's great to see that there's still no signs of it slowing down! In fact, leading job recruitment service Reed recently revealed that the number of new jobs in their construction and property section has gone up by an incredible 81% in the last year.

This comes according to the monthly figures for Feb 2014 released by the website, also revealing that this number means three times more vacancies are being posted in this section - totalling in over 10,700 new jobs. Among the most popular are quantity surveyors (1,180 new jobs), site managers (712) and project managers (706).

James Reed, chairman of reed.co.uk, said: "Returning consumer confidence, low interest rates and government-backed initiatives have all helped to invigorate the sector. Related industries, which service and supply Construction are also benefiting. And rising property sales across much of the UK are prompting record job growth in the Estate Agency sector." That said, he also warned of growth being focused on too much of a narrow part of the econmony, cautioning that it could result in a "bursting property bubble".

Still, this fantastic news just proves yet again how much opportunity there is in the construction industry, and why there's no better time than now to take up a career as a bricklayer, carpenter, plasterer or tiler! And the fastest, most effective way to make that goal happen is with an intensive training course from Access Training. At our state-of-the-art training centre, you'll earn the knowledge and skills from experienced teaching staff with a wealth of industry knowledge.

To find out more just give our course advice team a call on 0800 345 7492.

Dangerous gas appliances

The Gas Safe Register, the UK's gas safety authority which all gas installers are legally required to join upon completion of their ACS assesments, is urging members of the public to get the safety of their gas appliances checked after their latest research revealed that 9 out of 10 Britons could not identify gas appliances that were deadly or potentially life-threatening.

1,200 consumers were shown 10 images of gas appliances, eight of which were dangerous and only two of which were completely safe to use. The results were particularly startling, with nearly everyone (95% to be precise) thinking at least one of the deadly appliances were safe. 6% of them even thought that all eight of them were safe! Only one person of the entire 1,200 was able to correctly identify all 10 - and that is definitely cause for concern.

Six of these eight dangerous gas appliances could have resulted in a gas leak, fire, explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning, but were thankfully from homes checked before anyone got hurt. The other two appliances shown, however, were ones that had only been discovered after the damage had been done - one tragically killing the homeowner and the other hospitalising a family. In the case of the appliance that resulted in a fatality, half of respondents thought it looked safe when shown the photograph.

Stakeholder manager for Gas Safe Sarah Hill had this to say about the findings:

"Our research backs up what we, as the UK gas authority, already know - people cannot spot a deadly gas appliance as often there are no obvious signs. That’s why it’s vital to get your gas appliances safety checked regularly by a registered engineer, who has the skills and the know-how to spot the dangers. Sadly, we also know that the consequences if you don’t can be serious, especially when CO is involved as you can’t see it, taste it or smell it."

Would you be able to spot an unsafe gas appliance? If you think you could just look at the pictures and spot it, have you considered a career as a gas installer? Gas can be an extremely useful source of energy when installed properly but if anything goes wrong the results can prove fatal. Installers are required to have passed their ACS assessments and join the Gas Safe Register before they are legally allowed to start work, and here at Access Training we can provide you with all the training needed to work safely with gas appliances.

To find out more about our professional gas courses, please contact us on 0800 345 7492.

Charlie Mullins, head of arguably Britain's biggest plumbing firm - Plimco Plumbers, has taken a stand to highlight a serious loophole in current gas regulations. 

While it is common knowledge that gas engineers need to become Gas Safe registered once qualified in order to legally install and maintain gas appliances, the same does not apply when it comes to the purchasing of boilers and other gas-related equipment. Although some builders' merchants will check their customers registration before letting them buy such things, an increase in internet-based suppliers is making this something harder and harder to police.

Because of this, rogue engineers can find it far easier to trick customers into believing that they are Gas Safe registered. Not only them, but also unqualified indviduals such as homeowners who may not know the rules and believe they could have a go at it themselves. Should a mistake be made by either of these parties, the results can be fatal and potentially cost people their lives.

Therefor Mr Mullins believes that the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) needs to clamp down on this huge flaw in the system, extending its regulation of the gas market to the purchase of equipment - something that can only be done by altering the law.

The Plimco Plumbers CEO considers it "ludicrous" that buying boilers/gas equipment is as simple as walking into a shop or clicking your mouse. He added that gas "in the wrong hands is a lethal weapon and used incorrectly people will end up dead".

He went on to talk about how once a "cowboy gas fitter or over enthusiastic amatuer" is in possession of these things, the law is powerless to save lives despite it being illegal for them to install it. Certainly prosecutions can follow should that person be found out, but in most of these cases prosecutions only happen after a life-taking tragedy has already happened.

Charlie suggests:"The truth of the matter is there’s only one opportunity to protect people from this dangerous legal anomaly and that’s to make it illegal to buy gas equipment without a Gas Safe ticket. We have built ourselves a pretty decent safety system to protect people from monoxide poisoning, so why do we insist on retaining a great big hole in the net? The law needs to be changed because this is something that will save lives."

What are your thoughts on the matter? Certainly the thought of non-qualified people being able to go into their local branch of B&Q and purchase gas equipment should be alarming to all the Gas Safe registered installers out there, after all the training you have gone through to get where you are today. To become a fully qualified gas engineer, candidates need to go through a rigorous training course - at the end of which they will be able to build up their gas portfolio and pass the required ACS assessments. Only then will you be able to join the Gas Safe register and be legally permitted to work on gas installations and appliances.

To find out more about what it takes to become a Gas Safe engineer and Access Training's range of intensive gas courses, give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

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