With the UK becoming more and more aware of dodgy tradespeople thanks to the horror stories reported all over the media (and often on this very blog too!), more has to be done for consumers to be reassured that the people are hiring are honest and fully qualified. The gas industry has the Gas Safe Register, and electricians have any number of competent person schemes - what is there for plumbers?

In previous blog posts last year we introduced WaterSafe - the first plumbing body of its kind. Set up back in October 2013, this national assurance scheme is designed to recognise competent plumbers as well as protect homeowners and plumbing businesses alike. WaterSafe has the backing of all UK water suppliers and water quality regulators, having been developed by all seven existing Approved Contractors' Schemes. Although it hasn't been around long WaterSafe seems to be making a huge impression on the plumbing world, exceeding expectations and targets when it comes to membership figures.

Now WaterSafe have teamed up with BPEC to create a course that ensures plumbers receive all the qualifications required to join the scheme. The specially designed qualification is equivalent to the NVQ Level 2 and Water Regulations certificates - both of which are qualifications we offer here at Access Training Academies. So while the specialised course itself is still rolling out across the country (to date only three training centres in the UK have been given the go-ahead to run it), aspiring plumbers elsewhere should know that we can still offer them the means to eventually become part of this great (and FREE) scheme. 

To find out more about our intensive plumbing courses and the qualifications you'll need to be viewed as an experienced, competent and QUALIFIED plumber, give our course advice team a call on 0800 345 7492. Stamping out rouge tradespeople is something we all need to be a part of, and the first step toward doing that is properly setting them apart from the honest ones in the country such as yourself.

 

National Apprenticeship Week is fast approaching, and the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) is just one of the many groups drawing attention to just how important that are to the trade industry.

With university degrees proving to be less helpful in the job market, its not surprising that so many young people are turning towards different career paths when leaving school. Stable jobs are getting tougher and tougher to get into as Britain slowly climbs out of the recession, and when an employer has to make cuts new graduates are usually the ones that suffer. By learning a trade such as plumbing, electrics or any sub-sector of the construction industry, young people are providing themselves with skills for life that are often in demand for more than the skills most degrees yield.

According to the Office of National Statistics, over a quarter of university graduates are earning less than school leavers on apprenticeships. Not only this, but a survey by BAE Systems and the Royal Academy of Engineering also highlighted just how beneficial trades training courses can be. Almost a third of respondants (29%) said that they now see training schemes as a viable option for their children. They also admitted that five years ago it was something they would have never even considered.

CIPHE CEO Kevin Wellmen stressed just how important apprenticeships, specifically calling them the "lifeblood of the industry" and saying that they should be given the respect they deserve. He added: "For too long they have been seen as a second-class route to a career. I believe that attitude is now changing."

However, he also commented that the plumbing and heating industry needs its apprentices to be of the highest standard, which they should aim toward by achieving an NVQ diploma. This will "ensure they have the right skills to tackle the challenges they will meet in the workplace".

And where can you achieve an NVQ qualification? Access Training Academies of course! Our intensive training courses provide all the skill and quality you'd find in a college course, but in a fraction of that time. The tutors are all experiences tradesmen themselves, all with a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with you in classes of no more than eight students to a tutor. With accredititation from the likes of City & Guilds, Logic, BPEC, NICEIC, the Gas Safe Register and more, you can rest assured that we put nothing short of 100% quality into all of our trade courses. To find out more, give our team a call on 0800 345 7492.

National Apprentice Week 2014 will take place from the 3rd to the 7th March. Stay tuned to this blog for more stories during that time!

As we've previously mentioned, Access Training have made a few changes to the way we run the Unvented Cylinders plumbing course recently. With the new City & Guilds syllabus our course follows, students are now required physically commission and maintain a cylinder in order to achieve the qualification. This is important as it will make sure candidates are physically familiar with unvented cylinders rather than just having a theoretical knowledge of how to handle them. Knowing in theory is all well and good, but this is one area inparticularly that can go wrong without the right skills and know-how.

An Unvented Cylinder is a hot water storage system that relies on storage cylinders fed directly from cold water mains and do not incorporate a vent pipe to relieve excess build-up pressure to atmosphere. The pressure for the hot water system is then derived from the mains pressure supply rather than a cold water storage tank. The advantages of using such a system include:

  • Balanced pressure in both hot and cold taps for showers
  • Higher water pressures available for hot taps
  • No storage cistern, eliminating any risk of contamination
  • Can be fitted anywhere in the house, making them suitable for one-storey dwellings
  • Quicker to install with less pipework and no cold storage tanks needed in the loft
  • Can possibly be used with smaller diameter pipework
  • Gives architects and service designers greater flexibility of design

Unvented cylinders are also the only systems currently used with renewable energy supplies such as ground & air heat pumps and underfloor heating, due to their nature of being almost 100% energy efficient. This makes them even more of an important thing as households strive to become greener and save energy (as well as money!).

However despite these numerous advantages installers should still show great caution and care when dealing with unvented cylinders, as failing to properly install them is extremely dangerous. Unvented hot water systems usually operate above atmospheric pressure and unless the right measures are taken to prevent overheating, the results can be quite explosive to say the least. Just have a look at this video of what can happen if adequate checks and protection haven't been made:

VIEW ON YOUTUBE

But don't let this video put you off them. As long as they are installed correctly with all of the proper safety precautions in place unvented cylinders are perfectly safe. All plumbers handling unvented cylinders are required to be qualified in accordance with Part G of the Building Regulations, which can be achieved through the Access Training Academies Unvented Hot Water Cylinders course.

For more information on our Unvented course or our wider range of intensive plumbing courses, please take a look at the plumbing section linked on the left hand side of the page. Alternatively, you can speak to our course advice team to have any questions you may have answered personally - simply call 0800 345 7492 or fill in the information form provided on this website.

2014 is already shaping up to be a big year for Access Training Academies, and today (the 13th January) marks the first steps we'll be taking to make your training experience here even better. This year ACS gas assessments will be returning to our Cardiff training centre.

Now students that complete their gas training at Access will be able to complete their Logic ACS (Accredited Certification Scheme) gas assessments here. ACS is the industry recognised and accepted route for students to enter into the gas industry, earning their gas certificate which is needed to become a member of the Gas Safe Register. This itself is a legal requirement to be able to work on all gas installations and appliances in the UK. These assessments will not only be available to those who have completed an extensive gas course here, but is also open to others who may have completed a gas course elsewhere.

Students will be able to complete both the written and practical assessments required to qualify, covering the CCN1 Core Domestic Gas Safety module and then any of the additional appliance assessments relevant to your area of work. This includes the CENWAT (Central Heating Boilers & Water Heaters) qualification, CKR1 (Cookers), HTR1 (Gas Fires) and more. For a full list of what we can offer you here at Access, please get in contact.

To find out more about ACS gas assessments, our plumbing training or any of the many other trades training courses we provide here at Access please get in contact with our course advice team on 0800 345 7492 or via the form provided on this website. They'll be more than happy to answer any further questions you might have, as well as arrange of a tour of our facilities so you can get a first-hand look at what we do.

Yesterday we wrote about research suggesting how much work plumbers stand to potentially lose from missed calls. However today pluming suppliers Plumbfix revealed that they are predicting a "social revolution" within the trade.

Tradespeople in general, not just plumbers and heating engineers, are all beginning to see social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as a valuable and most importantly FREE way to advertise and create brand awareness. 8 out of 10 tradespeople are already using it as a way to reach more customers and two fifths believe having a page on a social media site will make them look more established. They don't even just use it for reaching customers, as a third of tradesmen even admitted to use it to check on their competitors and what services/prices they are offering.

Plumbfix's research revealed that almost half of tradespeople (48%) are already winning new business through Twitter and the like, and a larger proportion (68%) say their social media activity has increased since this time last year. 

Sandra Everett, the senior marketing manager at Plumbfix, stressed the importance of small businesses getting to grips with social media as members of the public are more likely than ever to go online in search of a tradesperson."As plumbers increase the amount of business tasks and transactions they undertake online, social media should be seriously considered as a cost-effective way to market themselves to more and more customers."

It isn't just tradespeople that are hitting up social media either - trading bodies and contractors are also extending their Twitter and Facebook presence. Even Access Training Academies have Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts where any queries concerning our courses can be answered.

Via Installer Online

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