Monthly Archives: June 2011

MyHammer crowns its Tradesperson of the Year for 2011

A tradesman from Lancashire has been named by 2011 Tradesperson of the Year by comparison site MyHammer and HSS Hire in new competition.

Sonny Tatlock, 32, has won the national competition and beat 66 other tradesmen to win this year’s competition. Sonny received the highest amounts of votes in the competition and wowed the judging panel, which was led by John Russell, the construction expert from Channel 5’s Cowboy Builders.

According to Sonny, “Winning this competition means a great deal to me – it’s nice to feel appreciated. I now get about 50-60% of my work from MyHammer. Physical feedback is really important – people need workmen they can trust and it’s easy for someone to recommend you, but to have more than 20 people all recommending you is priceless”.

John Russell spoke after the announcement, saying that despite the recession, now is a good a time as any to start up your own business as a tradesman. The leading judge on the panel said:

“It is a time of great opportunity for tradesmen and women. The property market is in freefall and so people look to improve rather than move. Sonny is a great example of what’s possible for hard working, competent trades people – there’s nothing more powerful that word of mouth recommendations. His customers are using MyHammer to tell others what a great job he did. This award gives Sonny another quality mark for future customers.”

As a result of winning the competition, Sonny wins a host of prizes, including £1000 to spend in HSS Hire, a year’s membership to MyHammer, a year’s supply of Gorilla Glue and Gorilla Tape, a fishing weekend at The Beachbrow Hotel, a Veebeam (PC to TV streaming gadget), Kärcher DIY Multi-Purpose Vac, plus the ‘Tradesperson of the Year 2011’ logo to use on all promotional material.

For those of you who don’t know what MyHammer is, it’s the number 1 website in the UK for finding tradesmen in your area. And if you have a good reputation with positive reviews on MyHammer and similar sites, then you are more likely to win more work for yourself as a self-employed plumber, electrician or builder.


T4TS Radio: Daniel speaks about his plumbing training

Daniel Hughes is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. T4TS Radio spoke to Daniel to see how he was getting on with his course, his job in computer-aided design and plans for the future.

You can listen to Daniel’s story at or download to iTunes or your smartphone via AudioBoo at

Here’s the interview from the Train4TradeSkills Scribd page:

Cliff talks about his upcoming practical training in latest blog

Well after a week of struggling with electrical scenarios I have finally completed all the scenario’s the fifth one being particularly hard since it has a glitch which means you have to give it incorrect information to complete it, Thanks Nick (@FlyingSparkie) for that info – It saved my sanity.

So along with module 27 Showers which I completed last Friday, I am well on track even exceeding my own expectations of where I would be in my plumbing course.


I am at present working on module 28 Environmental Awareness which I am giving particular attention as I have my BPEC Energy Efficiency exam next week, when I attend Featherstone training centre for weeks 3 & 4 which i am very excited about, as I can’t wait to get my hands dirty again.

I will be writing a diary for the practical training weeks of which you can expect the first instalment around the 3rd of July, my last diary for weeks 1 & 2 were very well received and I had lots of positive feedback so I look forward to see how the next set will be received.


The majority of this week will be taken up with revision on domestic hot and cold water system, as I also have assessments on these subjects next week. I am feeling quietly confident about my practical training weeks, unlike my first 2 weeks when I was extremely nervous. This time I go knowing the staff that I will be working with and the experience from last time on how well the students work together to achieve the best results possible from the time spent at the centre. So I am going to leave you with a quote from my favourite author:


To realize one’s own destiny is a person’s only real obligation. All things are One. “and, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. Paulo Coelho.

We’ll have another diary from Cliff on Week 3 of his practical training next week. In the meantime, you can read Cliff’s diaries about his practical training, which is a great read if you want to know what the practical training part of the Train4TradeSkills course is like.


T4TS Radio: Andrew talks about his plumbing course

Andrew Beasley is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. The former lab technician tells T4TS Radio about how his course is going and what he wants to do when he finishes his training.

You can listen to Andrew’s interview at or download to iTunes via AudioBoo at

Is FirstBuy the answer to the housing industry’s problems?

The government want more people to build their own homes, there’s no doubting that. Grant Shapps seems to have made it his mission to get self-builds to prosper in the housing market. And now a pilot scheme could help Shapps with his plans for self-build domination…

The Government’s FirstBuy scheme has launched, which allocates funding for housing projects all over the UK for first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder.

10,500 new homes will be built in the first phase of the FirstBuy scheme, with the first of them expected to be completed as soon as September.

The Homes and Communities Agency will play a vital part of FirstBuy, and have already given £180 million for housing projects, which will provide equity loans for first-time buyers, to get a deposit so they can buy a house.

The common problem at the moment is, because of the recession, young people, who are mostly riddled with debt or unable to afford the cash for a deposit, have to rent because they cannot afford to buy home. The government hopes that by removing the deposit obstacle it will encourage more people to buy instead of rent.

Pat Ritchie, chief executive of the HCA, said in a statement: “Thanks to FirstBuy nearly 10,500 first time buyers will be able to realise the dream of owning their home….And when the homes are resold by the initial purchaser in the future, and the loan is repaid, the return can be available for reinvestment in more new affordable homes.”

Over a hundred builders and contractors will be taking part in the scheme, which will take place all over the country. Big companies are getting involved, with the likes of Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey, Bellway and Kier building all over the UK.

What do you think – can FirstBuy solve the housing crisis? Let us know and comment below, or on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook and Twitter pages.


It’s VQ Day 2011 – celebrating Vocational Qualifications

Today is VQ Day, celebrating Vocational Qualifications, young entrepreneurs and it aims to get more people into vocational courses and training.

Here’s the story in full from the Train4TradeSkills Scribd page:

Chelsea Barracks plans set to finally go ahead

It’s taken five years, but Westminster Council has finally approved plans worthy enough to develop the controversial Chelsea Barracks site.

Westminster Council released their requirements for the site in 2006 but a series of planning arguments, bickering between parties, new owners and royal interventions led to the plans being heavily delayed.

Dixon Jones and Squire and Partners are the architects behind the plans for Chelsea Barracks, which will see the 5 hectare property turned into 448 houses, flats, shops, a sports and health centre. Work can begin on the site as soon as the Mayor of London Boris Johnson gives his seal of approval to the plans.

The plans were originally submitted in June 2009, where developers the Qatari Diar group’s idea for Chelsea Barracks were rejected by Prince Charles, who reportedly hated their designs and said his “heart sank” when he saw them.

Two years of delays and arguments followed and eventually all sides agreed and as soon as Boris Johnson signs off the plans, the work can go ahead. The project for Chelsea Barracks will likely create new construction jobs in the area.


Train4TradeSkills Bright Sparks: Daniel talks studying tips and how his course is going in latest blog

Daniel Miller is training to be an electrician with Train4TradeSkills and is one of our Bright Sparks bloggers. Here’s Daniel’s latest blog:

It’s been a while since my last post, it’s very frustrating sometimes as I work fulltime and studying as well, trying to fit it in around my work schedule, but perseverance is needed.

I’ve been reading my fellow students blogs as well and this helps and inspires. I can certainly appreciate where amanda’s coming from when she says you need to give yourself a kick up the rear!


Its been a few crazy weeks, what with my boss being off at work and then one of my close friends coming over from America, my studying as suffered.

I got my module 10 result back which was 100% , which I’m pleased about, just wish I could get some hands on experience as well but I know my practical’s are very near, so I’m looking forward to that. I just need to figure out how I’m going to finance them .

I have post it notes all round the house with bullet points on to help with my studies, and this seems to be helping as well – my wife is very understanding lol.

Just got plenty of reading and tests on the learning lounge to do, which reinforces my understanding.


Arsenal to get some company at Emirates after new plans approved

Barratt Developments have signed a new deal to surround Arsenal’s Emirates stadium with hundreds of new homes.

Three £60 million residential towers will be built around the 60,000-seater stadium in Islington, North London, which is the final part of the Emirates construction scheme.

375 new homes will be built close to the stadium in a joint project between Barratt and L&Q. Construction work on the new homes is expected to begin in January 2012.

This is the final piece of a nine-year project, which began in 2002 when Premier League side Arsenal were looking for a new stadium, after deciding to leave the iconic Highbury. The Emirates opened for the start of the 2006/07 Premiership season and took 18 months to build, at an estimated cost of £390 million.

A total of 2,500 new homes have been built in the area since 2005, and the project has created an estimated of 2,500 construction jobs over this time. The total will now increase as contractors will be needed to complete the remaining homes.

Arsenal FC director Ken Friar said in a statement: “This is the last piece of the jigsaw in our new stadium project which has delivered huge regeneration to the Borough of Islington.”

Barratt London regional managing director Alastair Baird expects these homes to be sought after and in-demand, telling the Financial Times: “The homes will be situated literally yards from the stadium and we expect them to become as sought after by Gunners fans as the properties at Chelsea Village are by Chelsea supporters.”

What do you think of the plans around the Emirates? Let us know what you think by commenting below…


Stephen’s Train4TradeSkills Blog: 20 June

If you are a regular reader of Stephen’s blog, you will know all about his plumbing training and that he blogs every week about his course.


You can read Stephen’s blog at  and follow him on Twitter at


Here’s Stephen’s latest blog:

I’m working through Unit 25 of my modules and am expecting to complete it soon. I was going to wait until I had finished my next batch of practical training before completing the other units, but I’ve decided to carry on with the next few assignments for the time being.


My new website is going well, the foundations of it are there and I am planning to link it in with my blog.

It should go live sometime in August or September, but I need to pass my driving test before it goes live, as I will need to travel to do work for customers when I start my plumbing business.


Good news on the work experience front. I’ve contacted a company called IRJ Plumbing in Prestatyn and I am just waiting to hear back from them. I’ll let you know what happened on my blog for next week.


Stephen appeared on T4TS Radio last week to talk about his course. You can listen to Stephen’s interview via AudioBoo at