Last month not-for-profit training charity JTL launched a new initiative aimed at encouraging more women into trade (particularly electric and plumbing) apprenticeships. Its launch was marked by a parliamentary reception and is back by a number of MPs, including Labour Party leader Ed Miliband.

Currently, women make up just 2% of apprentices in the construction sector, and around 1% of apprentices within the electrotechnical industry. To help try and raise these numbers, JTL have appointed 10 inaugural apprentice ambassadors (all of which are former JTL apprentices) - chosen for their personal success and passion when it comes to promoting apprenticeships. These people will then travel across England and Wales, speaking at schools and local events in an attempt to encourage more young women to sign up. The apprentice ambassadors will also act as mentors to any girl who signs up for a JTL apprenticeship, with the charity also hoping to appoint more ambassadors next year as the scheme grows.

JTL chairman Dr Ian Livsey said: “We wanted to bring the ambassadors to Westminster to highlight the issues which prevent women from entering these apprenticeships. We have helped more than 40,000 apprentices train over the last 24 years, but only a small percentage have been female. This has been because women don’t see building services as something that they can do. This perception is something we need to change. Hopefully, by hearing the stories from the ambassadors and by seeing that employers are willing to support female apprentices, more young women will want to take up apprenticeships in the electrical, plumbing and heating and ventilating sectors, and make that first step to a skilled career.”

Now in their 23rd year, JTL was originally established by the Electrical Contractors Association and Unite the Union to manage training in the electrical sector. The company works with more than 120 colleges/private training centres, to which they sub-contract the knowledge syllabus elements of the NVQ Diploma.

While good practical training may be the most vital quality to have in a plumber, it's important that they also have a good grasp of the common terminology they may come across while on the job. So, Access Training have put together a very basic glossary of various plumbing terminology, which will hopefully be of benefit to some of you.

Actual capacity: The amount of water contained in a cistern or other container when it is full to its practical working level.

Air-lock: Air trapped in pipes, causing a reduction or complete stop in the flow of liquid.

Back-siphon: A condition where the flow of liquid is reversed and siphons back towards the source, which can lead to contamination.

Bar: The unit that water pressure is measured in.

Bleed valve: A valve that releases air from the central heating system.

Cistern: A contained used for holding water at atmospheric pressure.

Flow rate: The volume of water that is delivered to a tap, recorded in litres per minute (l/m) or litres per second (l/s).

Grey water: Waste water from domestic processes.

Hard water: Water which contains a higher level of calcium salts, making it an alkaline. When heated it deposits the salts on various components in a system, causing "furring up".

Main water valve: The main water shutoff that prevents any water from going into any of the pipes or plumbing. Plumbers may refer to it as the main shutoff valve.

Nominal capacity: The amount of water contained in a cistern or other container when it is full to the top edge.

Soft water: Rain water that falls on peaty, moorland and sandstone areas and is acidic. Soft water is better for washing, but can lead to many corrosion problems.

Stopcock: A hand operated on/off valve permitting water flow in one direction. The house stopcock is located where the supply enters the property, and can be used to shutoff water to all fixtures in the house.

Storage cistern: A specific type of cistern used for storing water to be used, such as delivering hot and cold water through pipework.

Supply pipe: A pipe that carries mains cold water around the home.

Tank: A container that is not open to atmosphere, usually a non-cylindrical closed vessel.

Vent pipe: Pipe that allows the release of air or water from a hot water system.

Of course this is only a very brief glossary, and missing many of the things you'll need to know as a professional plumber. If you would like to learn more and perhaps even gain the qualifications needed to become a plumber, an Access Training plumbing course could be exactly what you're looking for. To find out more please visit the courses section of our website or give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

New research conducted by Pink Plumbers, a national brand delivering female plumbers, has found that more women have the desire to become their own boss in the workplace then men.

The research, which was carried out last May, had a sample of 2000 adults from across the UK. It found that almost two out of three people (63%) wanted to take the steps toward self-employment. A total of 66% women wanted to be their own boss, narrowing out the males asked who came in at 60%.

Pink Plumbers was set up by single mother and entrepreneur Jo Lawrence, who created the franchise to make it easier for women wanting to join the plumbing trade by offering support and confidence. There is a clear gap in the market for female plumbers, with her research also noting that 86% of women think there should be more women working as plumbers. 69% of men also agreed.

Apart from setting up her Pink Plumbers franchise, Lawrence has also been proactive in organising a series of college roadshows across the UK, speaking to students about her own experiences as a plumber. She will also be publishing a book titled Hints and Tips for the Practical Plumber, which is due for release in September. It is designed to provide business and plumbing tips to help plumbers navigate through the difficulty of setting themselves up. 

Encouraging trainee plumbers to take the steps to become self-employed is also something we encourage here at Access Training. As well as providing you with vital qualifications through our range of bespoke plumbing courses, our teaching staff will also guide you on how to set up your own plumbing business. If you would like to find out more about what Access can offer you, please contact us on 0800 345 7492.

Via HVP Magazine

Gas Safe has proved time and time again to be an effective method in separating genuine gas engineers from cowboy traders, so that the general public know that when they hire a tradesman he or she is legitimate. But despite this, this sort of system is currently only available for gas engineers - so Joe Bloggs may not have the same level of certainty when hiring a plumber for wet work.

Until now that is. Or more precisely, October 8th 2013.

WaterSafe has been put together to provide a search facility of all Approved plimbers working in the UK, thanks to a partnership between UK water suppliers and the seven Approved Contractors' Schemes working across the UK. It will promote compliance with the Water Supply Regulations 1999 and Scottish Water Byelaws in order to protect the public and make it even more difficult for unqualified dishonest plumbers to get work. Unlike the Gas Safe register this isn't a legal requirement, but will publically show plumbers are both fully qualified and competent in their trade. So arguably its something that's probably in your best interest to do.

WaterSafe's website isn't open just yet, however it can be found at www.watersafe.org.uk where you can find all the relevant contact details to find out more about the scheme. Keep checking back to this blog, as we're sure to be covering more of this brilliant new scheme closer to its official launch.

In the meantime - if you have any outstanding plumbing qualifications or are looking to become a professional plumber yourself, have you considered a comprehensive plumbing course from Access Training? Our courses are suitable for both newcomers and experienced plumbers alike, so give us a call on 0800 345 7492 or check out the courses section of the site to find out more.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are currently consulting recently published plans to simplify the way self-employed people pay National Insurance Contributions.

It has been put forward whether it might be less hassle to collect contributions alongside Class 4 NICs and Income Tax through the Self-Assessment Process. This would mean self-employed people would only need to fill in an annual SA return to have these NICs collected. The aim is reduce the administrative burden on self-employed people, which is the main area many express difficulty in when taking the steps to become self-employed.

HRMC are also encouraging representatives of the self-employed to respond to the consultation before the final review. The closing date for this is the 9th October 2013. More information can be found on the HMRC website.

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The financial aspect of going self-employed with your trade can be offputting to many skilled tradesmen, but here at Access Training we make sure our students are fully prepared to take that next step in their career. As well as all the relevant qualifications in electric, gas, plumbing and various construction trades, help is on hand to give you the basic knowledge you'll need to handle the technical side of self-employed life. After that you'll be free to enjoy working flexible hours while being your own boss. For more information on our training courses and what is needed to become self employed contact us via email or telephone 0800 345 7492.

what do a gas engineers do

It can be difficult deciding which path to take in life. You’ve made the bold decision to retrain, but how do you decide where to go from there?

Currently the UK is experiencing a shortage of ‘Gas Safe’ installers, which means if you do plan on taking the plunge, now is a particularly good time to do so. Skilled workers are in demand by both domestic and commercial customers, so at least you know the work is out there. By choosing the right trades training course you will ensure you are in a strong position to land the jobs in your area.

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The recent, tragic death of two-year-old Kristiana Logina after she was scalded by a too-hot shower has prompted calls across the plumbing industry to ensure plumber courses teach students to properly recommend and fit TMVs (Thermostatic Mixing Valves). Many people believe that refresher plumber courses should be given to ensure those who enrolled on plumber courses many years ago have up-to-date knowledge to help them regulate bath and shower temperatures using current equipment.

According to statistics, more than 50 UK citizens have been killed by scalding in the past 5 years. Sadly, the victims of these terrible events tend to be the most vulnerable: the young, the elderly and the disabled. Figures show that, in the same time frame, 800 others have been severely injured and scarred by scalding.

These numbers make upsetting reading, especially since these accidents are all too avoidable in this day and age. Anyone who has recently taken plumber courses ought to know how to regulate water temperature using TMVs and all plumber courses should now be advising the installation of TMVs to all clients in line with the new Bathroom Academy guidelines. Anyone embarking on plumber courses will now be made aware that 2010 Building Regulations Approved Document G requires the installation of a TMV in all new bath installations.

Unfortunately these recent rules do not require TMV installations for showers and many industry experts believe that this needs to change and become law too.

If you want to learn more about TMV installation, or want to refresh your plumbing skillset, Access Training offer thorough plumber courses which make sure their students have all the up-to-date-industry knowledge to ensure the safety of their future clients.

According to Yvonne Orgill, Chief Executive of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association: “There is no excuse” for such tragic and avoidable accidents to occur. So ensure you have all the necessary plumber courses under your belt to work safely and to the best of your abilities.

This week the news that 1 in 10 students are reconsidering going into higher education thanks to uncapped and unaffordable tuition fees has thrown light on vocational choices like plumbing courses. A stunning two thirds of students who are considering going to university would now also consider doing vocational courses, such as plumbing courses, instead!

This shouldn’t really be news, yet people still seem to be shocked by it. Plumbing courses are looking like an increasingly smart option to youngsters thanks to a combination of excellent prospects, unaffordable student loans, high graduate unemployment and a general sense of dissatisfaction with the state of academia in the UK.

Plumbing courses give young people real prospects and the ability to start earning a very good wage, in a very good job, very quickly. The alternative is three years of (sometimes sub-par) teaching, a piece of paper, a lot of debt and no promise of prospects.

It used to be thought that anyone who wanted to get into a good, satisfying and well-paid profession would need a university degree. But, as graduate unemployment starts to look like a real problem, the smart money is now in plumbing courses. The UK has a huge number of highly academically educated youngsters but alarmingly few young people educated in skilled labour. Plumbing courses are now seeking to readdress this balance.

If you are interested in the money and job satisfaction that plumbing courses could set you up for, get in touch with us here at access. Every day new students, young and old, experienced and completely new, sign up for our plumbing courses to start their journey to a brighter future in plumbing! Call our friendly team on 0800 345 7492 now for more information and advice about how to get where you want to go with plumbing courses!

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