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.

We've said before that there's never been a better time to start a career in the construction industry. With Britain having climbed out of the financial recession, construction has gone from strength to strength - creating thousands of new jobs in order to keep up with housing and public works building projects across the country. This year has already brought forward many opportunities for those looking to get trained and start a new career, and even at the halfway point seems to be showing no signs of slowing down as a total of 180,000 new jobs and 120,000 new apprenticeships are expected to be created over the next five years.

This comes just as the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) expects to see more demand between now and 2018 for site project managers, civil engineers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers and even painters/decorators. Many of these we offer courses for here at Access Training, where you can receive professional training to earn the qualifications required to join the industry. Doing so will give you a huge boost and advantage over many others competing for the job.

This recovery in the sector also means that ambitious workers can now climb the career ladder even faster. An article in this weekend's Daily Mail looked at Patrick Tighe, who has worked in construction for 20 years. However since the upturn (and a change in ownership) the 37 year-old Rotherham man has not only received a promotion but is also now starting a degree which will allow him to qualify as a quarry manager.

Closing the article, CITB director of employer services Mike Bialiylj says: "People starting out now will be placed to take new opportunities. Those who are determined and work hard will get the opportunity to climb the career ladder." True words that are worth thinking about. There are many reasons why you might be looking towards construction training and a future career in the industry. Perhaps your job has no prospects or has you stuck behind a desk working from nine to five. Alternatively you might be fresh out of school and looking for an alternative to a university degree and the jobs which follow. Any of these are a perfectly good reason to consider learning a trade, and in doing that you may find exactly what you were looking for.

You will be faced with an exciting and varied career which features both physical activities and mental challenges, complete with plenty of opportunities for career progression and enviable wages. Should you choose to take your skills and start your own business as a self-employed tradesperson, you'll also be free control the hours you want to work. If you don't want to work evenings or Saturdays, then you don't have to - simple as that! And even then you'll still be able to take advantage of the job opportunities mentioned here as construction companies subcontract to other experienced tradespeople.

If this sounds like the kind of direction you'd like your life to head in then there's no time for delay! Start with an intensive trades training course from Access Training and you'll learn from experienced tradespeople in a state-of-the-art facility, taking you all the way from the level of a beginner to that of an industry professional. Plumbing, gas engineering, electrics, carpentry plastering, tiling, bricklaying, painting/decorating....whatever you're looking for in a trades training course, Access can help. Just call 0800 345 7492 to speak to one of our course advisers and find out more.

With all the reports about cowboy builders doing shoddy maintenance work and unregistered gas engineers making potentially fatal mistakes, is it any surprise that finding a trusted tradesperson is becoming a major problem across the UK? In fact, a recent survey from the HomeOwners Alliance and TrustMark has found over half of Britons are hesitant to do maintenance work on their homes because they have difficulty finding someone they feel they can trust.

This result then has a knock-on effect as to what said homeowners then do. While the 2014 Homeowner Survey found 12% won't do the work at all and 26% simply delay the project, a significant 40% then choose to do their own repairs/DIY. When it comes to certain trades, this could easily end up in injury or worse. Other statistics found were that 27% will only do essential works, while if forced 28% will use tradespeople they are uncertain about.

Only earlier this week Heating & Plumbing Monthly reported a plumber in Kidderminister is behind bars for 16 months after overcharging elderly and vulnerable customers up to 800% more for simple jobs. Among Mr Steven Greenaway's misdeeds were:

  • Charging one elderly woman in Cradley Heath £1527 to repair a leak on her toilet and replace the cistern - a job averaging around £200 to do
  • Charging a Dudley pensioner £500 to unblock a toilet, then proceeding a charge her a further £780 after claiming the kitchen tap needed work
  • Charging a mother and daughter £1000 to repair a dripping tap - money that they had been saving for a holiday
  • Charging a Worcester couple £1,200 to repair a leak on a radiator valve - leaving them feeling "like they had been mugged"
  • Charging another Worcester couple more than £800 for work to repair a stop tap that should have only cost around £120
  • And as a final insult, he even advertised DISCOUNT rates for pensioners in Yellow Pages adverts

This piece isn't just meant to point the finger at these frauds who give a bad name to tradespeople everywhere, its also to show trainees how much better they can be. You don't need to con the elderly to make a healthy wage nor do you have to pretend to have qualifications - all you need is proper training and not only will you actually have the qualifications to your name, you'll also be able to make the money honestly. And as positive word of mouth about your business grows, so will those interested.

It all starts with getting the right training, and no matter which trade you're planning to persue a career in Access Training can help. From plumbing and gas to electrical, carpentry, plastering and more, our state-of-the-art centre and experienced tutors will take you from the level of absolute beginner all the way up to becoming a fully trained professional. To find out more about the courses we offer here at Access and how you can change your life with a brand new career, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 or by filling in the enquiry form found on this website. One of our course advice team will soon be in touch.

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.

Construction expansion continues as new surveys show house building activity remained close to a 10-year high last month, moving the industry into its 12th consecutive month of growth.

Housing starts have grown to a rate of around 15,000 a month, with house prices increasing because supply is unable to meet demand. The Bank of England's deputy governor, Jon Cunliffe, has warned that it would be "dangerous to ignore the momentum that has built up in the UK housing market". A report from Legal & General has also revealed the extent of Britain's "national obsession" with house prices - values have shot up by 4,300pc over the past 40 years, and it also warned that a lack of supply could lead to housing becoming the biggest driver of UK inequality. 

The Government has been doing its best to combat this, introducing numerous schemes to increase the number of new houses across the UK. In Wales specifically Cardiff, Newport and Bridgend are just a few of the places with areas of land prepped for new builds. But while the building of new houses might solve the problem of demand, it in itself brings along another issue - does Britain have enough skilled construction labourers to make it happen? Cardiff, Newport and Bridgend were mentioned earlier as examples because these three places are facing that very problem and are in desperate need of teams of qualified bricklayers to help continue the work planned there.

The economic recession was a very difficult time for the construction industry, so seeing it recover in the way it has is a tremendous achievement. But it can only continue with your help. If you've ever considered changing careers to become a professional construction worker, whether it be as a bricklayer, carpenter, plasterer, tiler or decorator - now is the time to do it. Demand is at a high, which will not only secure you plenty of work but also an enviable wage. But first you'll need the qualifications employers will be looking for - something we can help you with here at Access Training.

We offer intensive training courses in all the aforementioned construction trades, each of which are fully accredited by City & Guilds. In a fraction of the time you'd spend on a college course, you'll learn all the skills and techniques needed to complete a professional job. From basic 1-week courses all the way to full NVQ portfolios, Access Training can help you get trained up to the standard you need. To find out more from one of our course advisers and arrange a tour of training facilities, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.

With a distinct shortage of skilled bricklayers during a big construction boom, naturally the wages are just as high as the demand. But only this month has it been revealed just how high these wages can go, as some bricklayers are found to be earning six-figure salaries in certain parts of the UK.

Speaking to the Sun newspaper, property consultant Mark Famer explained that because of the shortage builders could command such high salaries. In London he said day rates are anywhere between £150 and £200, with more experienced bricklayers able to "earn the equivalent of £100,000 a year". This is quite a turn from the time during the recession, where rates fell by 50% due to the lack of work.

While London might be the centre of attention in all of this, that doesn't mean the same wage rises don't apply elsewhere! There are new build projects starting across the UK, especially in the housing sector thanks to Government plans to build over 200,000 new homes. These houses are going to not only need bricklayers, but also qualified carpenters, plasterers. tilers and decorators to get the job finished - all of which are currently in demand by the industry. 

But before you can take advantage of the demand and start a brand new career in the construction industry, you'll need to earn the qualifications employers look for. At Access Training, we make sure that our trades training courses give you exactly what you need for a long and successful career - not just in terms of qualifications, but also skills that will remain with you for the rest of your life. No matter which path you plan to take, Access specialises in all the different trade types to ensure you get the best possible training.

Want to find out more? Give our course advise team a call on 0800 345 7492. They'll be happy to answer any questions you may have, and you can also arrange a tour of our training centre to find out first hand how we do things here. And who knows, maybe you'll be earning that six figure salary one day!

Via International Business Times

It's more good news for the construction industry as the Government begins to move forward with £36 billion of planned infracture investment between 2014 and 2015 - potentially supporting over 150,000 jobs.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osbourne paid a joint visit to a Skansa site yesterday to promote the measure, which will see 200 projects rail, road, local transport, flood defences, broadband, airport infrastructure and waste management start construction. In addition to this, nearly 200 infrastructure projects will see completion this year. The £36bn investment consists of £5bn public money, £21bn in private cash and £10bn in joint investment.

A full list of the projects can be found here.

Cameron said: "Ensuring Britain has first class infrastructure is a crucial part of our long term economic plan: supporting business, creating jobs and providing a better future for hardworking people.

"As a crucial part of our long-term economic plan, this government is backing business with better infrastructure so that more jobs and opportunities are created for hardworking people, meaning more financial security and peace of mind for families.

Osborne added: "Because of the tough decisions we have taken in day to day spending, we can prioritise public investment where it is most needed and create the right conditions for private investment in infrastructure where it brings value for the taxpayer.

“So this year over 200 new projects worth an estimated £36 billion are due to start, creating thousands of jobs, securing future growth and delivering the world class infrastructure Britain deserves."

More jobs means more opportunity, and more opportunity means an even better reason why now is the time to re-train and take up a career in the construction industry. With on ongoing economic boom raising the demand for qualified bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, tilers and more, wages have also reached an all-time high. Some areas in the UK even reported bricklayers earning upwards of £100,000 a year! If you've been looking to for a more challenging and active career, now is the time to take the bull by the horns.

But first you'll need the proper skills and qualifications for the job, something we can help you with here at Access Training. Offering intensive training courses in all of the popular trades, our expertise will guide you through everything you need to know for your brand new career. To find out more and speak to a member of our course advice team please give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.

Via Construction Enquirer

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