Monthly Archives: February 2011

Stephen’s back with his latest blog about his Train4TradeSkills Plumbing Course

Stephen Marlor is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills and every week tells us what’s going on with his plumbing course. In his last blog, Stephen was talking about campaigning for Wales and all the plumbing experience he was arranging. Here’s Stephen’s latest blog:

Hello, things are not too bad over this way. Nothing much has been happening though besides concentrating on my modules. I’ve spoken to my Tutor today about one of them and he said to keep focussed and keep going – which sounds positive.

I have finished the leafleting for the Yes for Wales campaign and we got rid of 8,000 leaflets. Next Thursday is the voting and on Friday I will be at the counting.

I haven’t heard anything from Careers for Wales yet and I’m just going to let them be for a while to see if they get back to me. If I don’t hear anything in the next few weeks then I will contact them.

Just to let you all know that the jobs for my friend went well, we put some new radiators in which was not too bad.

No big plans for this weekend, but I’ve just bought a new bed so will be relaxing. I have to find a storage place for the old bed now, so just in the process of sorting that out.

You can read more posts from Stephen at or follow him on Twitter at 


Huge £100m deal to install solar panels in thousands of UK homes

Kinetics have signed a huge £100m deal to supply solar panels on thousands of UK homes, which could potentially create thousands of new jobs.

Building report that repair and maintenance experts Kinetics, have teamed up with Sovereign Capital to build 20,000 solar panels on the roofs of thousands of homes around the country.

The purpose of this deal is to supply cheap power and electricity for these homes, which will make them in line with the Government’s Green Deal and save homeowners money on their energy bills.

The coalition government has recently introduced a feed-in tariff, which reportedly will not affect these plans. The Chief Executive of Kinetics, Chris Cheshire, said in a statement that, “we’ll be able to supply social housing tenants with cheap power, saving them about £300 a year per home. Then any surplus is sold to the grid.”

No housing contractor or council have signed up to the scheme so far, but this scheme will create plenty of jobs for electrical contractors around the country.

What do you think about these plans? Let us know and join in the debate on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Train4TradeSkills Weekend Catch-Up: 21-27 February

In case you missed what’s going on during the week, Train4TradeSkills introduces the Weekly Round-Up, which will have all of the best stories from our blogs (and a few others) and the latest plumbing, electrician and gas industry news from the last week.

1) The Best of our Student Blogs:

 MONDAY: Stephen talks campaigning for Wales, installing radiators and his plumbing course –

TUESDAY: Nick’s back with his latest blog about his electrical course –

THURSDAY: Amanda talks electrical experience and leaping into the electrical industry –

2) Another student joins the Train4TradeSkills Blog Network – introducing Cliff!

FRIDAY: Cliff release his first ever blog about his plumbing course with Train4TradeSkills –


 3) Surprise guest at the Shard

FRIDAY: The Shard, which is the UK’s tallest tower, had a surprise resident after a fox called “Romeo” was found living there, eating the builders’ leftovers (BBC News) –


T4TS Radio Jonathan4) The best bits from Train4TradeSkills Radio

TUESDAY: Jonathan Adams talks to Train4TradeSkills Radio about studying to become an electrician –



 Train4TradeSkills News5) A few more construction stories and the odd plumbing “emergency”

FRIDAY: GMI Construction to build £20 million Rotherham stadium (Construction Enquirer) –

THURSDAY: St Modwen want to get their hands on £1 billion Newport regeneration scheme (Sage Construction) –

TUESDAY: Ex-NFL star’s wife flushes $10k wedding ring down the toilet – so plumber saves the day (Train4TradeSkills Blog) –



That’s it for this week. You can follow and interact with Train4TradeSkills all over these social media sites.

Become a fan of Train4TradeSkills on Facebook


Follow us on Twitter


Listen to T4TS Radio


Look at our photos on Flickr

Train4TradeSkills introduce our latest student blogger Cliff

We’ve set up a network of student bloggers here on the Train4TradeSkills Blog and I would like to introduce to you our latest blogger, Clifford Raw.

Cliff is training to be a plumber with Train4TradeSkills and now joins fellow plumbing student Stephen, and electrical students Amanda, Nick and Daniel as Train4TradeSkills Student Bloggers. You can have a look at Clifford’s plumbing blog and you can follow him on Twitter at

Hello and welcome to my blog as this is my first post.

I better start by introducing myself. my name is Clifford, though all my friends call me Cliff. I am 43 years young and am a male joiner who has been re-training as a plumber with Train4TradeSkills since October 2010.

I am currently on section 2 module 16 and have completed scenarios 1 to 6 as well as the first 4 online training ie; Introduction, Health & Safety, Soft Soldering and Copper Tube Bending.

It has been a very challenging to return to education but also very rewarding, and though I struggled at first I am now getting used to the workload.

Unfortunately I was made redundant in December which was a great worry as the job market is very depressing and the prospects of finding another job were slim. I contacted the team at T4TS who were very helpful, they sent me a redundancy claim pack and I was about to claim, but I found part-time employment so I never posted the claim form back.

This has been both a blessing and a curse as the extra time to spend studying is great but the obvious drop in income has put extra stress on the family.

Well that’s all for now. Cliff

Train4TradeSkills are on the lookout for student bloggers. If you would like to share what is going on with your T4TS course and how you are progressing, comment on the blog or go to the Train4TradeSkills Facebook and Twitter pages.

Robin Hood to be reborn with new housing plans in London

Train4TradeSkills Blog Robin Hood NewThe Robin Hood estate in London is set to benefit from a major regeneration scheme, which promises to create new construction jobs in the city.

Construction Enquirer reports that developers Countryside and Swan Housing have been accepted to redevelop the Robin Hood Estate, which was built in the 1970’s and has been described as an “eyesore” by some groups.

Under the plans, the Robin Hood estate will be demolished and replaced by 1,621 new homes. The plans for the area will form as part of the larger £500 million Blackwall Reach regeneration scheme.

This scheme has attracted its fair share of controversy in the past, as there have been campaigns to get the Robin Hood Gardens listed as a historical landmark. This failed and plans went ahead to regenerate the area.

A survey among local residents in 2009 found that over 75% of them wanted the area knocked down and replaced, so there is support for the scheme now.

Train4TradeSkills Blog Robin Hood Old

What the Robin Hood currently looks like

The planning application for the project is expected to be submitted in the next few months and this project is likely to create new construction jobs for plumbing, electrical and gas contractors in the area, as thousands of new homes will need to be built.

What do you think about the plans for the Robin Hood Estate? Let us know and join in the debate on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook and Twitter pages.

Balfour Beatty launch construction apprenticeship scheme in Hertfordshire

One of the UK’s largest construction firms are offering apprenticeships for people looking to get experience in the construction industry.

Balfour Beatty are offering apprenticeship places in Hertfordshire as part of a school-building scheme, where local people will carry out construction work on two secondary schools in Stevenage.

This is part of an £80 million contract Balfour Beatty has with Hertfordshire County Council, which seeks to maximise opportunities for young people in the area.

In partnership with North Hertfordshire College and the North West Apprenticeship Company, locals will get the opportunity to work on the Stevenage-based schools and learn valuable construction skills and experience.

Balfour Beatty is one of the UK’s most esteemed construction companies, having built things like the Docklands Light Railway and University College London Hospital in its 102-year history.

This is a great thing that Balfour Beatty are doing to give local people the chance to gain construction experience and provide work for local plumbers, electricians and gas engineers.

And it’s not just Balfour Beatty that have stepped up their training targets, as BAM recently announced that it would be providing apprenticeships in construction jobs for 30 students aged 16-18 at Coventry City College over the next two years.

What do you think about Balfour Beatty’s plans in Hertfordshire? Do any of you live there? Let us know and join in the debate on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook and Twitter pages.

Train4TradeSkills Bright Sparks: Amanda talks electrical experience, CV’s and leaping into the electrical industry in her latest blog

It’s been a while since my last blog, so I thought I’d better do a quick post on how I’m getting along. Things have been a little slow recently due to a few obstacles, from problems with noisy neighbours making concentrating on study quite difficult, to taking some time out to look after my Dad who had been taken ill.

Study-wise, I have completed module 07 and am now studying for module 08. This is an introduction to inspection and testing. I have also completed the third scenario on the virtual reality software, which involved identifying and fixing incorrect wiring of a lighting circuit. I hope to get some hands on at this when my practice boards are up and running. One of the guys from the forum has kindly sent me a Consumer unit for the boards, and I’m looking forward to getting the practice at getting my terminations to it nice and tidy. I look forward to getting as much hands on experience as I can on the boards.

Just before my Dad was taken ill, I had the opportunity to tag along with a local Electrician to observe the re-wire of a shower circuit as the existing cable was the incorrect size and the insulation was showing signs of breaking down. Also an isolator switch was added to the bathroom extractor fan, and a cracked faceplate on a double socket was replaced. This was really great experience for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity. Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to go along on a PIR as this was the day after my Dad took ill. That would have been a great chance to learn a lot and would have fallen in nicely with the module I am currently studying! I hope the chance comes along again soon.

I have recently drafted a rough copy of my CV and another friend from the forum has Kindly gone through it and set it out in a much more presentable way for me. A copy of this has now been forwarded to a few people in the industry, who have kindly agreed to take a look at it and give me an honest evaluation of it. I am looking to see if, with the CV in front of them, would they invite that candidate for an interview. The feedback from this will then be of great benefit to me when the time comes to approach potential employers.

All in all, though there has been a few minor problems that have hindered my study a little, I’m still feeling quite confident that I’m on track. The support from my T4TS tutor and friends I am making on the forum and networking sites is invaluable, along with the opportunity given to me by the local Sparky to tag along. I’m really enjoying learning, and it’s also given me more confidence to meet new people.

It’s great to have something to aim for and to feel so positive about the future. It’s even more rewarding in that I’m also making so many new friends along the way. It’s really nice to wake up in a morning and to feel like I’m doing something constructive with my time. Since starting the course my outlook has just become so much more positive and focused and I find that I’m feeling a lot happier. The social aspect of talking to others in the industry and other students has resulted in me making new friends, both in and out of the Electrical industry. So as a bonus, it’s increased my confidence interacting with people. Not something I would have associated as a result of studying from home!

For anyone out there reading this who is debating with themselves whether or not they should take the plunge into studying for a new career, my advice is this: Don’t give yourself the chance to talk yourself out of it. If you get the opportunity to do it, go for it! Take the plunge. I was absolutely petrified of doing anything like this. I’ve talked myself out of things in the past. This time I knew I had to just dive in eyes wide shut and not allow myself to ponder the list of what ifs and buts.

As a result, the past 5 months has been the most positive I have felt in the past 17 years. I am doing something that for all those years I didn’t believe I could, and the boost to my self esteem and confidence has been immeasurable. In years to come when I look back, maybe the most important choice I ever made with regards to having enjoyed my career, will have been the decision to set out on this course. If there’s something you’d love to get into, take the leap of faith and enjoy!

You can follow Amanda’s progress through her electrical course with Train4TradeSkills on her blog “My Journey to becoming an electrician” or follow her on Twitter at

Is cutting VAT the way to salvage the government’s Green Deal?

The UK’s leading building organisation has labelled the government’s green homes policy as “inadequate” and more energy incentives and VAT cuts are needed.

The Federation of Master Builders have declared that the coalition government’s plans to offer loans to support green homes are “inadequate” and cutting VAT to 5% would achieve this and create new jobs in the construction industry.

Brian Berry, the director of external affairs at the FMB, said in a statement that reducing VAT would boost the job market and create more jobs from the government’s Green Deal.

Mr Berry said that “a reduced rate of VAT to 5 per cent for all energy efficiency improvement projects would provide a boost as well as create much needed jobs in the building industry.”

On the subject of the Green Deal, Mr Berry said:

“The government has promised thousands upon thousands of new construction jobs as a result of the Green Deal, but unless homeowners are given the best possible deal on their improvements this flagship policy risks falling at the first hurdle.”

Train4TradeSkills spoke to Brian Berry last November about this issue, when the Federation of Master Builders were launching their “Cut the VAT” campaign. Mr Berry told us back then that by cutting the rate of VAT 24,000 extra construction jobs would be created in 2011 and a further 34,000 construction jobs by 2019.

These changes proposed by the FMB would create additional jobs for electrical, plumbing and gas contractors but, to be honest, I cannot see the government backing down and cutting the rate of VAT to 5% any time soon, until we get out of this current financial crisis. I do agree that incentives need to be offered to fully capitalise on the Green Deal to create potentially millions of construction jobs.

What do you think? Is it likely that the government will cut VAT for the Green Deal? Let us know on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook and Twitter pages.

Train4TradeSkills Radio: Jonathan talks about how his electrical course with us is going

Jonathan Adams is training to become an electrician with Train4TradeSkills. T4TS Radio caught up with Jonathan on his practical training and talked about how his electrical course is going. You can download the interview with Jonathan via Scribd.

You can listen to Jonathan’s interview with Train4TradeSkills Radio on our Facebook Page, via the Train4TradeSkills live audio stream or on

Train4TradeSkills Bright Sparks: Nick’s back with his latest electrical blog

Train4TradeSkills Nick ElectricianNick Sims is training to become an electrician with Train4TradeSkills. Nick blogs about how he is finding his electrical course and all the practical experience he is undertaking.

In his last electrical blog, Nick was talking about the electrical experience he was getting working on his parents’ house. Here’s Nick’s latest Bright Sparks Blog:

Hello again, I have been a bit busy lately so sorry for the delay in the blog update.

I’ve been reading up on the 2391 Inspections and Testing book. I acquired this through The IET library, it’s a bit early to read at the moment but I wanted to know what is ahead.

I’ve nearly finished module 13, I’ve completed all the progress checks successfully, 11 of them. There’s a 60 question TMA to do, and I’m a just few questions away from completing that also. It’s reasonably difficult as I am finding that I’m sifting through the BS7671 manual, bit by bit.

It’s a little frustrating, as you really need to use the question to find the title, to find the section to get to the answer. This was similar to when I did my week 2 practical training; we had a 60 question paper to complete and that was all about BS7671 and Inspection and Testing, with a couple of calculations to do thrown in.

I’ve enclosed a few pictures of when I did my week one training, which involved creating lighting circuits, one-way, two-way, down lighter and intermediate.

Nick getting electrical trainingIn the next couple of weeks or so, I’m going to make another rig, this time I’m making the central heating system. I’ve got some old parts, like the valve and PCB that I think work, and I need a new room thermostat, so I’ll replace my old one with the new, so watch his space as hopefully as I progress with it.

Till next time.


You can read all of Nick’s posts on the Train4TradeSkills Bright Sparks Blog, and you can follow Nick on Twitter at