Monthly Archives: August 2011

Train4TradeSkills Students give you advice on how to get jobs and work placements – Part 4

Are you training to be a plumber or electrician with Train4TradeSkills and want to get some practical experience outside of your course? Train4TradeSkills Radio has spoken to a number of students who are working in the industry alongside their training and gaining valuable experience.

These students offer their advice and tips of how they managed to get work placements and jobs, so you can follow in their footsteps.

Here are the students and the excerpts from their T4TS Radio interviews. All of the interviews are available to listen to at  and you can read and download the stories via Scribd at

Joe Barker-Platt

“Yeah, around two years ago I had a year’s experience as a plumbers mate. It was a great experience when coming onto the course after. I was completing small jobs for another qualified plumber. He was showing me the ropes and we worked on a lot of commercial sites, so it was a lot of lead steel and stuff, and he allowed me to do some small copper work.”

Can you tell us how you arranged your job as a plumber’s mate?

“Well luckily through my uncle. It’s always best to talk to people you know and see if they know anyone else. I think that’s the best way of doing it. It’s helped me because when you read the books it all made sense as you’ve got the experience, I had acted out what they said in the books. With the practical’s I’d already worked on a lot of LCS stuff so when it came to doing the practical I was really good at it.”

Steve Hills

“I’ve been doing private work to try and get some hands-on experience. I’ve got my own website which I’ve set up, business cards. I’m just doing little bits here and there to get my hands in.

I’m working on my own, doing full bathroom installations, radiators, toilets, kitchen sinks, and general maintenance I suppose. My girlfriend’s dad is a plumber, so he helps me out if I need assistance.”

You can visit Steve’s website at

Stuart Bagnall

“I’m training with a plumber once a week for experience. He came round my house to fix the boiler one day and I asked him if he wouldn’t mind someone come around once a week and he said “Yes, sure.” He said he couldn’t pay me or nothing, but he’d love the help.

It’s a bit of everything to be fair. We’ve fitted radiators and done boilers (I’ve not fitted them myself, just watched them), drain systems, first fix, installation work, repair work – a bit of everything really, what a plumber would do.”

 Sam O’Hemeng

“I’ve done stuff at home, that’s how the interest started and I’ve done bits for other people that have problems with such and such, I’ve had a look and managed to do it and it’s kind of escalated from there. At the moment as I’m self-employed I can take on jobs here and there and do work using the skills that I know.

I’ve done a full bathroom suite change and generally lots of the jobs I do and fixing toilets, sinks and baths – little bits and pieces.”

Megan Morphew

“It’s in my family that we’ve all been builders, so it’s been around since I was little and I’ve always had an interest in working outside and do a trade. I’ve been doing small extensions, redoing kitchens, bathrooms and I’ve managed to help out with the plumbing on those to get bearings on everything.

You mentioned you’ve been working with your dad outside of the course. What does he think of the course then?

“He thinks it’s a really good idea, because he doesn’t have any qualifications of his own and now it’s quite important to have qualifications. So he thinks it’s an ideal way for me to work, earn money, see it practically and learn at the same time.

Well it’s in my family that we’ve all been builders, so it’s been around since I was little and I’ve always had an interest in working outside and do a trade.”

 Grant Van Djk

“I’ve just finished a bathroom suite for a friend and other jobs, just on weekends really. I’m starting with a company on Monday – Sanctuary Housing. So I’ll be doing plumbing for them too.

I think is one of the biggest in England and I knew a few people that worked for them, so I sent my CV through and they came back to me and said you need some sort of British qualification. I told them I was studying through Train4TradeSkills for an NVQ Level 2, sent my CV through again, and had my interview last Monday.”

You can listen all the full interviews from Joe, Steve, Stuart, Sam, Megan and Grant at – where you can download to iTunes and your smartphones (iPhone and Android) if you have one.


Train4TradeSkills Radio: Heten talks about his plumbing course with T4TS

Heten Bara is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. Tom Jinks from T4TS Radio spoke to Heten to find out how he was getting on with his training:

You can listen to Heten’s  interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at

Train4TradeSkills News: Oikodomophobia – The Phobia that is gripping the nation

There are plenty of different phobias: from the usual (heights, spiders, snakes) to the downright weird – like Triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13), Nomophobia (fear of being without your mobile phone) and Papaphobia (fear of the Pope). Now another phobia is apparently gripping a large part of the notion.

Oikodomophobia is a fear of tradesmen, and apparently 5 million British men are now petrified about negotiating with builders, plumbers and electricians working in their homes.

According to new “research”, 30% of the men asked said they felt intimidated and confused when dealing tradesmen, all because they had a lack of knowledge and didn’t know how to negotiate with them.

Apparently the symptoms of oikodomophobia include sweaty palms, cold sweats and difficulty breathing. Men who work in advertising and banking (so office jobs) are most likely to suffer from this phobia.

This all probably comes down to the fact that we as a nation are hopeless at DIY. While the popularity of DIY has increased and stores like B&Q have flourished, many people are so bad at DIY that they cannot change a lightbulb or even paint a wall. A study by the Daily Mail last year found:

– 15% of men (2.1 million people) shy away from replacing a light bulb

– 26% would struggle rewiring a plug

– 16% would not be able to hang a picture up

– 14% would not be able to paint a wall

– 55% would be unable to install a kitchen

No wonder why oikodomophobia is apparently gripping the nation…

What do you think about this new phobia of tradesmen? Let us know and comment below or let us know what you think on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook and Twitter pages.

Gurkha Soldier retrains with Train4TradeSkills

Dev Pun is retraining to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. The ex-Gurkha soldier, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is embarking on a plumbing career after leaving the Army.

Train4TradeSkills Radio spoke to Dev to see how he was getting on with his training.

You can listen to Dev’s interview on our Train4TradeSkills Radio blog at or via AudioBoo at

Train4TradeSkills Radio: Grant talks about his plumbing training with T4TS

Grant Van Djk is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. Tom Jinks from T4TS Radio spoke to Grant to find out how he was getting on with his training:

You can listen to Grant’s  interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at

Train4TradeSkills News: A power boost for jobs

Energy giant Scottish Power is to create 1,500 jobs.

The company is upgrading its electricity network over the next ten years and is spending £3 billion in the same period as it looks to increase its use of renewable-energy sources.

The project includes the upgrade of almost 500 miles of overhead lines. Scottish Power will also improve almost a fifth of its substation equipment. The major goal for the company is to connect around 11GW of new renewable-energy projects to the grid across Scotland.

The size of the project means that more workers are needed and Scottish Power said that they hope to replace a lot of their aging workforce.

Chief executive, Frank Mitchell, said that the massive investment is needed to ensure that Scotland’s electricity network is up to the demands of modern life.

Mr. Mitchell said it is time to bring in a new generation of energy workers.



Train4TradeSkills News: Electrician shows spark of heroism

AN electrician who joined the Army reserves has saved four soldiers in a fierce firefight with the Taliban.

Self-employed sparky George Moffitt, 35, who is attached to 2 Para, was on patrol when his unit came under heavy attack in Afghanistan.

George ended up not only rescuing four fellow troops, but also civilian cameraman John Conroy who was filming him for a TV documentary on the Territorial Army.

George said: “There was a compound 200 metres away with massive rusting metal gates and all of a sudden we saw women, children and cattle leaving. We knew something was up.

“There was a burst of fire. It was constant. I was in a ditch and there were another five there too. All got hit – one in the arm, one had a bullet ricochet through both legs, one in his armour, and another straight in and out of the helmet. The cameraman was hit twice in the leg.”

George said: “I realised there was a hole in the gates and they’d stuck a machine gun there. The rounds were still coming in so I just got up, fired a few rounds and grenades back into the compound which quietened them down. “

A lull in fighting gave George, from The Wirral, Merseyside, a chance to help his mates. The injured were then airlifted out. Of the 9,500 UK troops in Afghanistan, 500 are from the TA.


Train4TradeSkills News: HMRC get their hands on tax-dodging plumbers

Train4TradeSkills News can reveal that five plumbers have been arrested in a series of investigations by HM Revenue and Customs.

The arrests in London, Hampshire, Surrey, Middlesex and West Bromwich follow more than 500 swoops across the country.

The tax offices originally wrote to 50,000 trades people in the plumbing industry, warning them to pay any tax they owed or face big fines. ‘Moonlighting’ is seen as a major problem in the industry. Those who paid up before the May deadline were subject to fines of up to 20 per cent of the tax owed.

Now the taxman is hunting those who did not come forward. It’s believed that some investigations involve up to £150,000.

“These raids and arrests of ‘ghosts’ – people who have not declared income from the work they do – are the culmination of months of work by HMRC,” said John Pointing, of HMRC.

He said further raids were expected in the next few weeks across in Yorkshire, Kent, Cambridgeshire, Tyne and Wear, the Midlands and South Wales.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation previously said that a lack of clear advertising to plumbers had left some in the trade unaware of the campaign, but now HMRC has stepped up the pressure.

“HMRC has had limited success with the numbers coming forward in the recent disclosure opportunities, so they are getting tough with those who did not register or disclose,” said Gary Ashford, of the CIOT.

“People should not underestimate the amount of data that HMRC is holding. What we are now seeing is HMRC starting to use that information. The net is tightening on those who break the law.”

According to the Government, £45bn is lost each year through unpaid taxes in the UK. A budget of £917m has been made available to HMRC to tackle evasion and avoidance.

Previous disclosure campaigns have been targeted at doctors, dentists and, more recently, restaurant owners and staff.


Train4TradeSkills student Martin Gillman from Burton On Trent talks to Tom Jinks

Train4TradeSkills student Martin Gillman from Burton On Trent talks to Tom Jinks

Train4TradeSkills Student Radio talks to Grant Van Dijk


Train4TradeSkills student Grant Van Dijk from Kingston Upon Hull talks to Tom Jinks