Monthly Archives: June 2011

T4TS Radio: Russell tells us how his plumbing course is going

Russell James is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. T4TS Radio spoke to Russell to see how he was getting on with his course.

You can listen to Russell’s story on Train4TradeSkills Radio at and download to iTunes and your smartphone at


Train4TradeSkills Bright Sparks: Nick talks Learning Lounge, TMA’s and poker in latest blog

Train4TradeSkills Nick ElectricianIf you are a regular reader of Nick’s blog, you will know that he is training to become an electrician with Train4TradeSkills. You can read all of Nick’s previous blogs on Train4TradeSkills News, and follow him on Twitter at as well.


Well it’s been busy again, no rest for the wicked. I seem to flip from looking at a business plan, and what’s involved there, to a lot of studying.


I’m currently on the last module of my workbook which is TMA18, my last TMA result was another good one so I’m pleased with that, I think if I were to go back over the workbook as I did the TMA, I would probably get an even better result, but what I do is by memory, which I think proves how much I’ve read has sunk into my little head.


I’ve started a new kind of hobby in tracing my birth parents, I’m finding that very time consuming and spend many hours at the library using they’re ‘find my past’ site, which is free at the library but is around £80 a year to any other.


I’ve been speaking to the other student bloggers on Facebook and it is a good medium to try and get some hints and tips with the courses that we are doing. Cliff has got me hooked into Texas Hold’em poker which is very addictive, luckily it’s not real money otherwise I’d be broke! Well I did help him out of a glitch with scenarios so I guess that makes us even, LOL.


I’ve been logged into the learning lounge non stop, there is so much to learn, and it’s so easy to understand as they, Dave Austin and Tony Cable, demonstrate real life situations and explain in real plain English. I’ve managed to download a couple of the videos to my phone and they play amazingly well so I can look at that them anytime, which is really helpful.


Till next time.



UK firm wins work for US Army in Middle East

UK construction firm Atkins has been selected to compete for $4 billion worth of work for the US Army in the Middle East.

Building News report that Atkins, who are working with Innovative Technical Solutions, are one of the 14 teams who will have to compete for the work for the Middle East District of the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The US military have several bases across the Middle East, with bases in 20 countries. They want to spend $4 billion on infrastructure over the next five years and have handpicked Atkins, as well as a number of other firms, to carry out the work.

Under the MATOC (Multiple Award Task Order Contract), for any contracts won by Innovative Technical Solutions, Atkins will provide construction and architecture advice and support.

Atkins have previously worked with the US Air Force around the world, and helped provide architecture and engineering services.

This latest news shows that UK firms are having a bigger influence abroad and are starting to win more construction projects overseas.


T4TS Radio: Danny talks about his plumbing course

Danny Wicks is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. Tom Jinks from Train4TradeSkills Radio spoke to Danny to see how he was getting on.

You can listen to Danny’s story from Train4TradeSkills Radio at and download to iTunes via the AudioBoo app at

Here’s the interview in full, which you can read and download from Scribd:

Westfield to expand with £1bn proposals to regenerate White City

Westfield, not content with being one of the largest shopping centres in the UK, is set to undergo a big expansion, according to new plans.

Plans will go into consultation this month to transform the surrounding White City area of London and completely regenerate it, at a cost of £1 billion.

Think another Westfield shopping centre about 5 minutes away and you get the gist of the plans. If the plans are approved, it would see 1,700 new homes and about 500,000 sq ft of retail space built in the White City area, which is close to Shepherd’s Bush in London.

The work is still in the planning stages, but is already being hyped up by Westfield’s Duncan Bower, who said in a statement:

“This project will form a pivotal link between White City and Shepherd’s Bush while creating over 2,500 jobs for local people.”

In other London news, Hammerson are set to build two new buildings in London’s Square Mile, after being granted planning permission by the City of London. The £350 million London Wall scheme will include 500,000 sq ft of offices in London.

What do you think about the plans for Westfield and White City? Let us know by commenting below…


Trade deal could mean opportunities for UK contractors in China

David Cameron has today announced a “huge opportunity” for British businesses as the UK sign a £1.4 billion trade agreement with China.

The Prime Minister met Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at Downing Street for talks and the UK have now signed bilateral trade agreements worth £1.4 billion with the Chinese.

It’s all to improve the relationship between UK and China, and it is being reported that the amount of two-way trade could double by 2015.

Mr Cameron said: “Trade with China is a huge opportunity for the UK but we have a lot to offer China as well. Building on this trade and investment will mean jobs, growth and prosperity for all of us.”

What does this mean for construction then? Only good things, as China are the world leader in construction activity and their economy is growing at an extremely fast rate.

The situation in China is the complete opposite to the UK. While the UK economy is in crisis, with the cost of living up and spending down, China is fastly growing into a major player on the world stage and is line to become a superpower in a few years.

Recent research shows that China is in the midst of a huge construction boom. The 2011 China Skyscraper City list found that a new skyscraper is being started every three days in China, and this will continue for the next years, which will result in hundreds of new skyscrapers in the country.

To illustrate how much of a force in the construction sector China is becoming, 2000 skyscrapers (that’s buildings over 500ft) are being built or are in the pipeline – that’s the equivalent of all the skyscrapers in the USA. That’s impressive.

If the UK can try and get involved with China’s construction activity through this trade deal, then it could give the UK construction industry a huge boost and create jobs for UK contractors to go abroad and win work.

Even if it leads to a better relationship between the UK and China and cheaper materials, this new trade deal has its benefits, as the UK is getting on the right side of the world’s fastest growing superpower.

What do you think – can this new trade deal between Cameron and China benefit the construction industry? Let us know what you think on here or on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook and Twitter pages.


Apprentice chooses plumbing over football and the SPL

A Scottish footballer has chosen to focus on his plumbing career and rejected the advances of several SPL sides.

A month ago, Train4TradeSkills News wrote about Rory McAllister, the 24 year old Brechin City striker who was torn between continuing his plumbing apprenticeship and going full-time as a professional footballer. And against all the odds, plumbing won.

McAllister has scored 63 goals for Brechin in the last two seasons, and his performances saw SPL sides St Johnstone, Hibs, Aberdeen and clubs south of the border like Charlton and Port Vale were interested in securing his services.

But McAllister has opted for plumbing instead, and joined Peterhead, who are in the league below Brechin after getting relegated last season and dropping down to the fourth tier of Scottish Football, the Scottish Third Division.

McAllister said in a statement, “Full-time football may come in the future but once I decided to stay part-time I wanted to join Peterhead.”

What do you think? Would you have chosen plumbing over a career in football and the SPL?

 Like this story? Read our original post on Rory McAllister and his plumbing/football dilemma

Stephen’s Train4TradeSkills Blog: 27 June

Everything’s going well with the course, I’m still working on Unit 25 at the moment and progressing with it.

I’ve been looking at Public Liability insurance this week. My tutor Richard said I should look into it and get some quotes. This would insure me to work in people’s homes, in case any damage occurred while I was working.

I’m also thinking of getting a CSCS card (Construction Skills Certification Scheme), which would allow me to do plumbing work on building sites in the future. It’s expensive though, and would cost £47 for the card, £43 for the exam and £17 for the study materials – but I think it will be worth it.

I’m also starting a new project. It’s making quilts, which is something I like doing. I’ve drawn up a template, but it’s just going to be a hobby and something I do in my spare time.

I’m enjoying the course and things are going well for me at the moment. I’ll be back next week with my next blog.

 To read other posts by Stephen, just go to his blog at and follow him on Twitter at

The Best Bits from Train4TradeSkills Daily: 25 June

In addition to the Train4TradeSkills Weekend Catch Up (which is released every Sunday and includes the best bits from our blog over the last week), we now have our online newspaper – the Train4TradeSkills Daily.

Featuring the best bits and all the latest news from our Twitter pages, the Train4TradeSkills Daily has all the latest news, analysis and job news for plumbers, electricians and anyone in the construction industry.

If you are on Twitter, you can follow Train4TradeSkills on and see the daily paper at

Here’s the latest edition of Train4TradeSkills Daily:

Plans for old MG Rover plant in Birmingham to go ahead

Birmingham City Council are set to allow the £70 million plans for Longbridge town centre to go ahead after giving their seal of approval for the plans.

Work on the Longbridge scheme is expected to start by the end of the year and will take place in three different phases. The plans are part of the larger £1 billion of the former MG Rover site in the area, which closed after the car manufacturer went into administration in 2005.

The plans involve building a new Sainsbury’s superstore in the town centre, along with a car park, an 80-bedroom hotel, 40 apartments and additional retail space in Longbridge. Work on 115 homes at Park View, which is near to the site, has already begun.

St. Modwen and its partner Advantage West Midlands will now deliver the scheme in three phases with construction to start by the end of the year.

As well as completely regenerating the area, this project is likely to create construction jobs in the area. This was confirmed by Birmingham Council’s Timothy Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Transportation and Regeneration, who said: “The development will provide an important economic boost to the area and create a diverse range of employment opportunities, potentially creating over 1,000 jobs.”

What do you think about the plans for the old MG Rover site? Do you live in Birmingham – do you like the plans? Let us know and comment on here or on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook and Twitter pages.