Cliff’s Diary of Practical Training – Part 2

Last week, plumbing trainee and student blogger Cliff Raw wrote a diary detailing his first week of practical training for his Train4TradeSkills course.

Here’s Cliff’s second diary. Read the rest of Cliff’s diary and look at his photos of practical training on his blog at

Well having got through week 1 successfully and having had a nice relaxing weekend, it’s time to do week 2, the week is set out differently from week 1 as we are given the task of fitting a bathroom suite and radiator from scratch as well as two theory assessments and our BPEC (WRAS) exam, so let’s start at the beginning.

Day 1:

The task for this week is a bathroom suite fitting from scratch, so the morning is spent measuring up and estimating materials and fittings required, this has to be correct as we are to be issued with the materials we request and nothing more. After a lot of deliberation I hand in my requisition form just before lunch and am issued with 18m of copper tubing, various fittings and fixings.

During lunch I discover what everyone else has requested, this makes me feel confident that my calculations are correct. So having eaten I set to work marking out and notching joists where necessary positioning my pipe fixings as I see fit. We are receiving no help with this task but Neil (the tutor) is observing the progress and answers any questions asked. By the end of the day I have installed and pressure tested the radiator and first fixed the hand basin.

Day 2:

I am straight into my bay to make as much progress as possible as we know we are to be broken off at some point to sit theory assessment in Key Plumbing Principles and Common Plumbing Processes, both are computer based multiple choice assessments of about 1 hour each. I have revised these over the weekend and am confident that I will pass without any difficulty which turns out to be the case as we get our results straight after lunch.

Not everyone has passed and some will have to re-sit their assessments on Friday. I am feeling great at this point as my bathroom fit is going well, the afternoon flies by, but we all know that tomorrow is the big one as we have our water regs exam and everyone is nervous about it.

Day 3:

The morning is classroom based with Neil giving a presentation on the water regs. Everyone is putting notes into our water regs manual as the exam is open book so we can take the manual into the exam, even with taken into consideration the whole of the group are stressed, we need 80% to pass but if anyone gets less than 70% then you cannot resit in the same week.

The exam is at 1.30pm and no one feels much like eating so lunch passes slowly. The exam itself is 2 papers again multiple choice, we have approximately 2 hours to complete it, the questions are worded in such a way as to make it a very difficult exam and is marked immediately to allow anyone that got between 70% & 80% to resit immediately and I have to admit that I was one of the people who needed the re-sit, having done the re-sit i came away with a 90% pass mark, much to my relief, I needed a very long afternoon break to recover before carrying on with my bathroom fitting

Day 4:

Today everyone is much more relaxed and cheerful knowing that the week’s exams are behind us, so we can enjoy the experience of the fitting. I have finished my first fix and have my hand basin, WC and bath in position and second fixed by lunch, just another hour and I have my waste pipe work finished.

We are given maintenance tasks to complete ie; re-seating taps changing diaphrams on float valves before decommissioning and as I have finished this by 2pm we are asked to do a permanent 4 person hand wash trough for the centre students to fill in time. It’s nice to know that it will be there for all to use for years to come.

Day 5:

The week has been a roller coaster ride but we are on the last day and it’s all maintenance tasks today and bringing paper work up to date and signed off, we are given several tasks in fault finding to complete all to be done live at working pressure so remembering to use isolation valves was paramount if you didn’t want a soaking.

You can see the group is looking tired but there is plenty of good humoured banter going on, everyone is keen to be off home as some people had a long journey home so after exchanging email addresses and phone numbers we are ready for off.

You can email Cliff and ask him about his Train4TradeSkills course and look at photos of his practical training on his blog at


About Train4tradeSkills

Train4TradeSkills offer the only trade training skills courses that combine three great ways to learn, through a unique blend of book based theory, practical workshops and virtual reality PC based training, to help you qualify you as a plumber, electrician or gas engineer. No other learning provider offers our unique way to study, with full tutor support, easy to follow, step by step modules. Once you complete one part of the course and return your work for marking, the next stage of the course automatically follows. It’s as easy as that. It’s fun, it’s easy to follow... and it can be fitted around your existing work and family commitments!

Posted on May 17, 2011, in plumbing, plumbing courses, plumbing jobs, Plumbing News, train4tradeskills and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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