Monthly Archives: December 2011

Train4TradeSkills News: High Court Judge Rules solar consultation legally flawed

Both the BBC and BusinessGreen have reported on the findings of a High Court ruling affecting solar tariffs.

Business Green reported:

The High Court has today upheld a legal challenge from Friends of the Earth and two solar firms against the government’s controversial decision to slash feed-in tariff incentives for solar installations, throwing the proposed changes to the subsidy scheme into chaos.

The Judge said the consultation was legally flawed and can be subjected to a judicial review.

The Court ruled the government had breached rules governing consultation exercises, when it announced that proposed cuts to feed-in tariff incentives would impact installations completed before the end of the consultation period.

Mr Justice Mitting said ministers were “proposing to make an unlawful decision” and as a result the court would be “amenable to a judicial review”.

He also noted that the consultation has already had a “significant impact” on the industry in the form of projects being scrapped.

The ruling paves the way for a judicial review that could force the government to relaunch the consultation, significantly delaying when the proposed incentives to cuts will come into effect.

Source and full story at Business Green

What are your views, should we really be helping sustainable energy as much as possible or leaving growth in that sector to develop within normal commercial parameters?

Share your thoughts with us by commenting below:


EU Backs Vocational Training

The European Union (EU) is going to provide more aid for Member States to help unqualified workers and school-leavers to gain new skills and become professionally qualified.

The fresh investment of €4 million will help young people to develop skills relevant to the labour marker; it will provide work experience and training programmes which in turn will help young people find employment.

The European Commission is urging businesses and worker representatives to join forces and take decisive action to tackle youth unemployment and current skills shortage in businesses across countries in the EU.  The new “Youth Opportunities Initiatives”, adopted today, will use €3 million of the European Social Fund Technical Assistance Fund to support Member States in the setting up of support schemes for young business starters and social entrepreneurs.

The actions proposed by the Commission will pave the way for Member States to develop further their workforce under the next generation of European Social Fund programmes and as part of the EU budget 2014-2020.

The new set of measures will include provision of state aid to companies providing “services of general economic interest” and businesses important for economic growth such as labour re-training centres.

President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, said that the programme will show young people across Europe that the EU deeply cares about its young people and is attentive towards their situation.

Mr Barroso said: “We have heard their repeated calls from Madrid to Brussels to take part in European society. This starts with having a job. Long-term reforms of labour markets are clearly needed, but they take time to produce the expected results. With today’s Initiative we are developing more immediate action that will help drive down youth unemployment.”

Train4TradeSkills Radio:Edward Frankish talks about training as an electrician with Train4TradeSkills

Edward Frankish is training to become an electrician with Train4TradeSkills.  Train4TradeSkills Radio interviewed Edward to find out how his course is going.

You can listen to Edward’s Interview from Train4TradeSkills Radio via AudioBoo at

Train4TradeSkills practical training fulfilment centre visited by the BBC

Train4TradeSkills fulfilment centre ATL, Apprenticeship Training Limited, was visited by BBC Hereford and Worcester. Hear the program output; see inside Train4TradeSkills fulfilment centre and what students think of their training.

Young people across Worcestershire are being hired as a result of a national apprenticeship scheme which aims to provide better employment opportunities and tackle youth unemployment.

The number of young people starting apprenticeships in Worcester this year has doubled compared to the same time in 2010 according to government statistics.

Doing an apprenticeship seems to be an increasingly popular choice than going to university for many young people, a recent BBC survey revealed.

With already increased funding from the government the number of people age between 16-21 years old, who are taking apprenticeships, is expected to rise even further from next year.

Apprenticeship Training Limited (ATL) is a leading national training provider in the Building Services Engineering sector with an established network of centres in the UK including Worcestershire.

Its Hartlebury based centre, which was visited by BBC Hereford and Worcester, provides hundreds of apprenticeships to people of all ages across Worcestershire and West Midlands region.

BBC Hereford and Worcester reported that apprentices are given the opportunity to earn as well as learn whilst they are gaining practical experience from the workplace.

Paul Barnes who is 18-years old and from Bromsgrove, studies with ATL in Hartlebury. Paul said to BBC Hereford and Worcester that he is convinced to have made the right decision by taking on an apprenticeship.

Paul, who completed his GCSEs with two A and three B grades, did not choose to go to university because of the huge debt he would have to pay back after graduating.

“I didn’t want to go to university because the fees were very expensive plus I would have to spend two years at college doing A levels. So, I am skipping that and I am getting paid for the time I would be doing A levels at college and the time at university instead of me having to pay them to be learning.”- the ambitious apprentice said.”

Paul added: “I might even come out of this with some savings rather than coming out of with the debt of about £40,000.”

The Government is determined to deepen its funding programme in order to deal with high levels of unemployment and get more people back into work.

In July, it set up a £25m fund to support 10,000 additional apprenticeships for small businesses and similar sectors with skills shortage.

With a record number of youth unemployment in England and university tuition fees of £9,000 from 2012, young people are more likely to choose apprenticeships as a more stable way of developing their careers and pursuing a brighter future.


Raising Standards for the Industry

Environmental knowledge will be added to the current Health and Safety test to increase standards for employees in the building construction industry.

Respiratory hazards, questions on the environment and extended behavioural case studies are amongst the subjects that have been added to the current syllabus of the construction industry’s health and safety test.

The re-named Health, Safety and Environment test will replace the former health and safety test in an attempt by CITB-ConstructionSkills to raise standards and optimise performance.

The test is required for all construction workers seeking to hold a Construction Skills Competency Scheme (CSCS) card or a construction plant competency scheme (CPCS) card; more than half a million people sat the test last year.

The newly improved version of the test will have more robust effect with greater emphasis on safe working practices.

CITB-ConstructionSkills product delivery manager Chris Little said: “Consulting with industry we have refreshed the question bank and the test structure to include new sections and questions addressing the changing needs of the whole construction industry both locally and nationally.”

Mr Little believes that it is important for both employers and employees to have good co-ordination in the vital issues in coherent operation of health and safety standards.

He said: “Getting construction businesses at all levels to engage with Health and Safety is something which CITB-ConstructionSkills is keen to continue by listening to industry and developing its existing products and services to fit sector requirements.”

“CITB-ConstructionSkills in constantly working on behalf of the industry to improve the Test which should be seen as a stepping stone to encourage employers and their workforce to go on and develop their knowledge even further.” added Mr Little.

Do you think the newly introduced measures will improve health and safety regulations in the construction/building industry? Le us know what you think by commenting here: 

The Government’s Green Deal will create new jobs in the renewable sector

Businesses in the building industry will be offered more employment opportunities to deliver work under the Government’s Green Deal funding initiative.

As previously reported on Train4TradeSkills News, the Green Deal is the government’s plan to improve energy efficiency in millions of homes across Britain. The scheme will pump £200 million of new investment into the building industry and give confidence to businesses.

Following the government’s scheme, Britain’s second biggest private building firm, Willmott Dixon has launched a new initiative to benefit from the first energy-efficient projects starting in 2012.

The new business, Willmott Dixon Support Services, aims to bring together landlords, investors and suppliers to develop Green Deal funding streams and deliver the upgrade work on homes and non-domestic properties. It is expected the new venture to become fully operational in the New Year and run towards meeting the Green Deal’s objectives.

Managing director of the programme Rob Lambe said that the government’s commitment of £200 million is a crucial step for the proper implementation of growing strategic plans regarding projects of energy efficiency.

Mr Lambe said: “With the Green Deal launching in 2012, our energy services company will have the scale and knowledge to support our housing customers as they use the Green Deal to take hundreds of thousands of residents out of fuel poverty.

“We also see renewable energy and micro generation systems as an important part of the solution and believe photo-voltaics still provides a viable source of low cost energy despite the recent Government announcement to reduce the feed-in tariff.

“Equally important is the business sector and the growing strategic importance of tackling the impact of energy costs in corporate property.”

Do you think your business could be a fulfilment partner with some of the UK’s first Green Deal pilot projects? Share your thoughts with us by commenting below: 

Train4TradeSkills Radio: Luke Johnson talks about training as an electrician with Train4TradeSkills

Luke Johnson is training to become an electrician with Train4TradeSkills.  Train4TradeSkills Radio interviewed Luke to find out how his course is going.

You can listen to Luke’s Interview from Train4TradeSkills Radio via AudioBoo at

The government is urged to review its laws on metal scrappage

More than 80 operations were cancelled yesterday following a theft of copper cables from Llandough Hospital near Cardiff.

The shocking theft which is the latest in a series of metal raids across the country, especially as there has been a recent rise in copper price, suggest more measures need to be taken to deal with the problem.

A leading copper producer in the North of England has appealed for more regulations on metal scrappage across the county. The call comes as metal theft continues to rise which causes great concerns amongst plumbers and communities across Britain.

In other parts of Europe when people trade in scrap metal they are required to provide full bank and personal details which deters theft and ensures that dealers are accountable for the goods they receive.

Neil Overton, commercial director of Yorkshire Copper Tube, has called for the government to review its laws on metal scrappage to help plumbers across the UK and improve existing regulations.

Mr Overton expressed concerns about the rising prices of copper and other scrapping metals which has been causing disruptions in all sectors of the building industry. Last month, it was reported that thieves had stolen street lightening cables causing blackouts on major roads in England.

Commenting on existing regulations in other European countries Mr Overton said:”They are flabbergasted by how relaxed the laws are in the UK for regulating the sale of scrap metal and we are urging the Government to have a rethink to help small businesses across the UK.

One such business is AT Plumbing in Cheltenham which experienced metal theft at the owner’s home twice in one day in November.

After reading about the company’s plight in the Gloucester Echo, Mr Overton met Owen Thomas, who runs the plumbing business, to present him with £300 worth of copper tube to replace what had been stolen.

“While we are unable replace everyone’s stolen copper we are able to use our position in the industry to call for a change to scrappage laws, which is something we will be focusing on in 2012,” said Mr Overton.

What is your opinion on existing scrapping schemes in Britain? Do regulations in the scrapping business allow thieves to get away with no consequences? 

Twin tower worth £400 million to be built in London

New development worth £400 million will be build close to Vauxhall Square, South West London. The scheme will include two 50-storey residential towers with 513 flats, shopping center, cinema and cafes.

The huge Vauxhall Square redevelopment on the 3-acre site in the Nine Elms area of London will also include 416 student rooms and a large hotel. The new development will create hundreds of jobs in the building industry and benefit the construction sector.

Key developer in the project, CLS, has already submitted plans for the scheme which aim is to start building work in 2014, with phases being completed from 2017 onwards.

Richard Tice, chief executive Officer of CLS Holdings plc, said: “This substantial mixed-use scheme is a key element to the Vauxhall Nine Elms regeneration plans.

“It will create a new vibrant heart for Vauxhall and over 1,000 additional full-time jobs across a broad range of skills, both during and after construction.

“The investment of over £400m will bring substantial benefits to a wide range of stakeholders and is not dependent on the Northern Line extension.”

A survey revealed today by the CBI showed that the outlook for the building, engendering and the construction sector is more positive following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement which gave priority to economic recovery and financial boost for building sector.

What is your reaction on the new development in South West London? Will the fresh investment provide you with better employment opportunities? Share your thoughts with us by commenting below:


Train4TradeSkills Radio: Paul Norton talks about training as an electrician with Train4TradeSkills

Paul Norton is training to become an electrician with Train4TradeSkills.  Train4TradeSkills Radio interviewed Paul to find out how his course is going.

You can listen to Paul’s Interview from Train4TradeSkills Radio via AudioBoo at