Monthly Archives: September 2011

Train4TradeSkills News: Renewable Energy use hits all-time high

The amount of renewable energy projects has hit an all-time high and is contributing more than ever before to the UK’s electricity supply.

New statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change have revealed that green energy has seen a 50% rise in the last year.

Wind energy has seen the biggest rise, increasing by 120% in the last year due to the rise in the number of offshore wind farms and biomass power plants.

This was followed by hydroelectricity, which grew by 75% and then nuclear energy, which grew by 38%.

This all means that renewable electricity makes up 9.6% of the UK’s grid mix, the highest it has ever been.

It all means that plumbers and electricians who want to take advantage of the popularity of renewable energy and work on renewable, and solar projects, need to be properly qualified.

That’s why Plumbers’ merchant Plumb Center have urged plumbers to get their MCS (Mircrogeneration Certification Scheme) accreditation if they want to work on renewable projects and solar panels.

We have also launched a brand new renewable energy course, so you can get MCS-accredited and train to be a renewable energy installer.

For more information head on over to  and watch the video below:



Train4TradeSkills News: The Case of the Exploding Toilets

A government building in Washington has been bombarded by exploding toilets, leaving two people injured.

The building housing the General Services Administration (GSA) in Washington D.C, has seen two toilets literally explode and injure two people nearby. You certainly don’t expect that when you use a toilet!

Describing what happened, GSA spokesperson Emily Barocas told the media that the tank’s control system malfunctioned, plunging the water level below normal and allowing air to seep into the pipes, where it shouldn’t be because it gets compressed. The air then hit the toilet bowls when they were flushed.

Ms. Barocas said the result was “You get a geyser, which is a recipe for disaster.”

Rarely do you hear of toilets completely exploding, but it seems to be the older the toilet, the higher the risk that it could ever happen.

Plumbers: what do you think about this? Have you ever seen or heard of a toilet exploding? Let us know and comment below or on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook page.


Train4TradeSkills Radio, the student radio service from Train4TradeSkills for trainee plumbers and electricians


Train4TradeSkills Students: Want to get involved with tCn?

Train4TradeSkills News has teamed up with tCn – The Construction Network, to offer our students access to all the benefits that tCn has to offer.

Speak and network with like-minded people and business from the plumbing, electrical and construction industry and make some great industry contacts that could be vital when you finish the course.

tCn are offering Train4TradeSkills students an invitational code, so you can experience all that tCn has to offer for a limited time.

If you want the invitational code, you need to email  , comment on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook page or tweet us at

Read the full story: “Train4TradeSkills joins the Construction Network” on the tCn website here


Train4TradeSkills Joins tCn – The Construction Network

Train4TradeSkills, the leading UK training provider that trains future plumbers, electricians, gas engineers and renewable engineers with a unique combination of blended learning, are the latest organisation to collaborate with the tCn team to help professionals in the UK Built Environment view, share and publish industry specific content.

Founded in 2006, Train4TradeSkills has trained thousands of people through the blended learning programme of e-learning, virtual reality and hands-on practical workshops, enabling people of all ages and occupations to change their career path or launch into their first job.

Train4TradeSkills has fully embraced social media with Train4TradeSkills News, the blog specialising in all things construction, plumbing and electrical and Train4TradeSkills Radio, the online radio station for trainee plumbers and electricians; all edited by Tom Jinks.

Mike Head from Train4TradeSkills said: “We remain at the cutting edge of trades related training and continue to invest heavily in making the learning experience as enjoyable and as productive as possible.

That’s why we are delighted to be working with tCn to help share information about Training for Trades in the UK Built Environment and give students access to like-minded people within their industry once they qualify.”

For more information about tCn go to


Train4TradeSkills Radio: Rich talks about his T4TS plumbing course and how to set up a business

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

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

Cliff’s Train4TradeSkills Practical Training Diary – Week 6


Well it’s Week 6 and the beginning of the end of level 2 this morning. There’s another group of students arriving for their practical, whether it be plumbing or electrics, week one or eleven all are mingling around the canteen chatting about their journeys, meeting new people or even some familiar faces met on previous visits.

I already know what I have in-store for me this week it’s my bathroom install assessment, and I am looking forward to getting on with it. The ATL centre is still down one tutor due to sickness so Robert is going to have to spread his time between two groups again, which is not a problem as we are supposed to do the install without any help from the tutors.

Nevertheless he spends twenty minutes with us explaining the requirements of the task, which include designing the layout, a full materials list, a written summary description and photographic evidence. So a good part of the morning is spent planning and setting out, we are to use plastic pipe and John Guest Speedfit® fittings below floor level and copper above floor level so it is going to be quite a quick install and I have almost finished the first fix by 4.30pm so I call it a day.


Not feeling so good this morning as I am aching all over and have the sniffles first signs of man flu -just what I need this week! I get down to work regardless and soon complete the first fix and notching of the floor boards and proceed to pressure test the first fix.

Out in the real world this would be no problem as all my fitting would be new but here in the centre we re-use old fittings, so after changing several faulty service valves I manage to complete a successful pressure test and with the help of another student take the first of my photographic evidence photo’s.

I have been trying since I arrived yesterday to get Robert to read my updated summary description from last week so that I can sign the work off in my portfolio, but he is hard to pin down for long and I have to literally stand in front of him with my work and a pen to get him to check it and even then he only has time to scan it briefly before we are informed that we have exams in five minutes, Ouch wasn’t expecting that Wednesday is the usual day for exams but due to the amount of exams to get through this week they had decided to start earlier in the week.

So I have two exams Environmental Awareness In Plumbing and Effective Working Relationships In The Plumbing Industry, It feels very thrust upon us and my head is banging with the onset of flu, I Have a real problem keeping focused in the exam and am not happy when I leave the examination room and with good reason as it turned out.

I flunked the environmental awareness exam which surprises me as it’s a bit of a pet subject for me, re-sits Thursday before I can sit the end GOLA exam. So a bit disconsolate I return to my bay to continue with my bathroom install, “at least that is going well” Robert has spotted that I am not at my best and comes and spends a bit of time with me going over the environmental awareness with me, I really like Robert and his teaching methods and I am feeling much better when I leave for home.


The Flu has really got me now and I am avoiding contact with rest of the group to avoid passing it on, fortunately I am working in a bay on my own so they should be OK as long as they keep their distance.

I get my head straight to finishing my installation and have it completed by lunchtime with no problems at all and took the other photo for the supplementary evidence and had Robert in to check and appraise the installation. I am not the first to finish this week but I am very happy with the finished job.

The sun is out today and I enjoy lunch sitting out in the fresh air and it makes my flu feel not so bad. The afternoon was spent methodically decommissioning the bathroom, counting and listing all the fixtures, fittings and pipe work used in the bathroom as I can use it to make a the accurate material’s list needed for supplementary evidence. It takes the whole afternoon to strip out, recycle and return the bay back to the blank canvas it was to begin with, I would of liked to get away early today to revise but it 5pm by the time I leave the centre tiered but satisfied that I only have my write-up left to do.


Big day today as its re-sit and my GOLA Assessment End Test, and there is no waiting around were straight into the exam room at 9.30am I have fully prepared myself with max strength flu capsules this morning and am feeling much clearer in the head the re-sit is easy and I have no problem with 18 questions then its straight on with the GOLAHOO!!! Lots of good vibes going around everyone’s done really well nobody needs to re-sit.

So congratulations to all my fellow students who completed their Level 2 plumbing. I can now look forward to starting my level 3 course work and I will be back soon with a week 7 training diary many thanks also to my friends and family for all your support, especially my partner Carmen without you none of this would have happened.

Read the rest of Cliff’s practical training diaries on his plumbing blog at

Train4TradeSkills News: Donald Trump vs. Alex Salmond: The Battle of the Wind Farm

Billionaire Business mogul Donald Trump has hit out at Scottish minister Alex Salmond over plans to build an offshore windfarm next to his luxury golf resort in Scotland.

The American tycoon, who is estimated to be worth $2.7 billion, owns a luxury golf resort in Aberdeen and has described the new wind turbines that are set to be built near his resort as “big” and “ugly”.

The plans to build an 11-turbine windfarm off Aberdeen Bay was submitted last month and is a £150 million project to create electricity from renewable sources.

But in a second letter to Scottish Minister Alex Salmond, Donald Trump said the turbines would have a negative impact on Scottish tourism, would be “disastrous and environmentally irresponsible”, as well as leaving an “ugly cloud hanging over the future of the great Scottish coastline.”

The US businessman’s £750 million golf resort on the Menie estate is nearing completion, and Trump is obviously wary of the “damage” that nearby wind turbines could do to his resort and people may be put off from visiting the resort.

What do you think – has Trump got a point or is renewable energy and the offshore windfarm more important? Let us know what you think and comment below or on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook page.


Train4TradeSkills working with Armed Forces Personnel

Train4TradeSkills are a big supporter of the armed forces and are keen to promote the good work our soldiers are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We are also keen to help servicemen and ex-servicemen make the transition from the armed forces back into civilian life and have a number of students who served in the armed forces and are now training as plumbers and electricians.

Train4TradeSkills Radio has spoken to a number of servicemen and soldiers who are preparing for life after the army by training as plumbers and electricians. These are Dev Pun, Daniel Terblanche and Darryl Johnson.

Dev Pun

Dev is a Gurkha who has spent 11 years in the army as an engineer. Dev has served with the Gurkhas, who are part of the British Army, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dev turned to plumbing because he was recommended to take it up by a friend who is a plumber, and he said he wants to learn new skills and have a trade under his belt.

Dev says about the practical training part of the course:

“The practical training is quite challenging and demanding because I’m learning new things every week. The teachers are helping me, and I’m learning new things on practicals.”

Daniel Terblanche

Daniel has spent 7 years in the army, working as a tank commander. Dan describes his job as “I basically drive, load , shoot, gun and sometimes command tanks.” Based at RAF Honington, Daniel took leave to attend his practical training and is training as an electrician.

Daniel told Train4TradeSkills Radio how he went about doing the course as well as serving in the army and his plans for the future:

“I basically just went through the chain of command. I went to my boss and spoke to him about it, saying this is what I’m doing and I’m paying for it out of my own pocket. At the end of the course the army has a scheme called Enhanced Learning Credits – if you can pay for a course with those learning credits then the army is obliged to let you go. Once I’ve finished the course I will put my application for enhanced learning credits in and they will give me some money back. I can then go back to army and say this is what I’ve done, I’ve passed a course and you’re letting me go for a few weeks at a time when it’s justified

At this stage of the game I think it will take me quite a while to finish the course and I’m in no rush at all at this stage. Once I’ve finished the course I’ll probably see if I can get permission At the end I would possibly like to be self-employed, yeah, but initially I need to get a whole lot more experience before I do that, so I would probably look to work for a big company or something along those lines.”

Darryl Johnson

Darryl is a soldier and is in the 2nd Royal Welsh Battalion. He has served a tour of Afghanistan and is set to leave the army in the next month and will instead focus on plumbing.

Darryl told Train4TradeSkills Radio about how he arranged to do the practical training and his plumbing plans for when he’s left the army.

“At the moment I’m on leave so it was quite easy for me to come down here for this second week that I’m on now. When I was on week 1 I was still in my working hours so because I was leaving my platoon commander was kind enough to give me the time off because he knew I was already signed off and my contract was going to end. He was happy to give me the time off and let me complete my week 1.

With me coming out of the army this month, I’m hoping to finish my Level 2 by the end of the year. Once I’ve done that I’d like to get in with a plumber, get employed and gain some experience.

The benefit with Train4TradeSkills is that you can do it at your own pace, in the evenings or in your spare time.”

You can listen to Dev, Darryl and Daniel’s stories from Train4TradeSkills Radio at

Train4TradeSkills is a big supporter of the Armed forces and particularly Holidays4Heroes, a charity that gives holidays to servicemen and women who have sustained injuries whilst on duty. To find out more about Holidays4Heroes go to

Train4TradeSkills News: Are there set to be jobs for UK contractors to rebuild Libya?

UK construction firms travel to Libya to help rebuild war-torn country.

A collection of UK construction firms have travelled to Libya to discuss rebuilding the country’s infrastructure and economy, which has been damaged or destroyed by months of civil war in the country.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green went to the Libyan capital Tripoli, along with construction firms Arup, AMEC, Mott Macdonald, as well as oil giants BP and Shell, to meet with the National Transitional Council (NTC), to discuss the rebuilding of Libya.

Prime Minister David Cameron, along with the President of France Nicolas Sarkozy, visited Tripoli two weeks ago and this visit is an extension of that, and to try and get work for UK contractors to help rebuild the country.

Lord Green has said: “When the Prime Minister travelled to Libya earlier this month, he made clear the UK’s commitment to helping the National Transitional Council, and any future government in Libya, rebuild their country.

“The international community, including British businesses, can play a role in Libya’s reconstruction and my visit today is a chance to discuss with the NTC their priorities for the coming days and months.”

Nothing is likely to happen in Libya yet, at least until the NTC has full control of the country and/or Colonel Gaddafi has been found.

But it’s looking good for the UK’s chances of gaining work in Libya as Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the NTC leader, has signalled that allies can expect preferential treatment while opponents of Nato’s role, such as Russia, China and Germany, who were slow to reveal their anti-Gaddafi stance, will likely miss out.

Update: After the news last week that Colonel Gaddafi was captured and killed, UK construction firms and the UKTI are travelling to Libya to meet with senior figures in the new Libyan government to discuss whether they can help rebuild the country. We’ll have more news on this as soon as it’s announced.

What do you think of this – are the UK likely to win work in Libya? Let us know and comment below: