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Train4TradeSkills Double GOLD at the E-Learning Awards 2011

Epic, Train4TradeSkills and Information Transfer were among the organisations that triumphed at the E-Learning Awards 2011.  The gala evening was held at the Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square in London’s Mayfair.

Entries were received from nearly 20 countries and nearly 500 people gathered to celebrate the strength and depth of successful e-learning that is taking place across the globe.  16 award categories produced a record 39 winners and showcased the astonishing range and quality of e-learning.

Epic, Brightwave and Train4TradeSkills were both double gold winners with Epic also taking a bronze.  Unicorn Training Group took gold in the much coveted e-learning development company of the year category while Information Transfer scooped gold for a record 4th time in the popular best e-learning project securing widespread adoption category.

The full results of the 2011 E-Learning Awards are:

  • Best use of social media for learning

Winner:             Deutsche Welle German Courses

  • Best use of synchronous e-learning

Winner:             Brightwave

  • Best learning game, simulation or virtual environment

Gold winner:       Train4TradeSkills

Silver winner:          Parliament’s Education Service & Preloaded

Bronze winner:        Caspian Learning/Interplay Energy

  • Best use of rapid e-learning content

Gold winner:       BT Learning & Development – SSV – eLearning & Multimedia

Silver winner:          McDonald’s UK and Kineo

Bronze winner:        Unicorn Training Group

  • Best use of mobile learning

Gold winner:       Epic and Harper Collins

Silver winner:          LINE Communications and the Royal School of Artillery

Silver winner:          Encyclopædia Britannica

  • Most innovative new learning hardware or software product

Gold winner:       Train4TradeSkills

Silver winner:          DH e-Learning for Healthcare: e-Fetal Monitoring

Bronze winner:        Curatr by HT2

Bronze winner:        Fusion Universal

  • Best use of e-learning to ensure compliance with external regulations or internal policies

Gold winner:       CA Technologies

Silver winner:     RBS Group

Bronze winner:   Epic and the BBC

  • Best online distance learning programme

Gold winner:       RM Lightbox/National College for School Leadership

Silver winner:     Workplace Law Environmental

  • Best e-learning project securing widespread adoption

Gold winner:       Information Transfer and Cambian Group

Silver winner:     BP and Kineo

  • Excellence in the production of learning content – not for profit sector

Gold winner:       LINE Communications and AO Foundation

Silver winner:     St George’s, University of London

Bronze winner:   League Football Education, Sportiv8 and Kineo

  • Excellence in the production of learning content – public sector

Gold winner:       Epic and the BBC

Silver winner:     abcenglish, International Learning Centre and Wigan Council

Bronze winner:   NPIA/NCALT: Mental Ill Health and Learning Disability Awareness

  • Excellence in the production of learning content – private sector

Gold winner:       eCom Scotland in partnership with Howden

Silver winner:     Boots in partnership with Mind Click

Silver winner:     Compass Group and Kineo

Bronze winner:   Purple Media

Bronze winner:   essential.genius

  • E-learning industry award for outstanding achievement – individual

Winner:             Mike Booth – Cable & Wireless

  • E-learning industry award for outstanding achievement – corporate

Winner:             Sky in partnership with Brightwave

  • E-learning internal project team of the year

Winner:             Crown Prosecution Service

  • E-learning development company of the year based overseas

Winner:             Michael Management Corporation

  • E-learning development company of the year

Gold winner:       Unicorn Training Group

Silver winner:     Walkgrove

 The full results are at

For more information about Train4TradeSkills


Train4TradeSkills News: New jobs for London contractors as Wilmott Dixon lands £45m Notting Hill deal

Wilmott Dixon have won a £45 million contract to potentially provide repair and maintenance in services in Notting Hill for the next decade.

The Notting Hill Housing Trust has chosen Wilmott Dixon to repair and maintain around 15,000 homes in the area. The contract will start in September and can be extended for up to ten years if it proves to be successful.

This move will create new jobs for plumbing and electrical contractors in London and the Notting Hill area, as well as expanding Wilmott Dixon’s influence in the UK. The company is responsible for repair work on more than 135,000 homes in the UK (the majority of these are in Birmingham), and this helps them get work in the capital, while creating extra jobs.


Boris Johnson plans Olympic Legacy with new homes

The 2012 Olympic Games in London is only 17 months away and decisions are being made surrounding the legacy of the Games, when the tourists disappear and all the furore and commotion in the area has died down.

With the Olympic Stadium issue sorted and West Ham the new owners, The Mayor of London Boris Johnson is looking for developers to deliver 800 new homes on the Olympic Park after the 2012 Games have finished, for the first phase.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company want the area to become a hotbed for families. A total of 8,000 homes will be built across the whole park, 35% of which will be affordable housing.

The plans also include building community buildings, nurseries, a community centre and a new school on the five neighbourhoods.

Four of the areas will be on the north-west of the Olympic Park, whereas the fifth area will be on the north-east, between the velodrome and the Athletes Village.

The work is expected to begin in 2013 and will add to the number of construction jobs that have already been created as a result of the Olympic Games in London.

What do you think about Boris Johnson’s and the OPLC’s post-Olympics legacy? Let us know at all the usual places, on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook and Twitter pages.

New homes for Nottingham as £50m scheme goes full-steam ahead

The £50m Stonebridge Park regeneration scheme is going ahead and will see more homes and more jobs come to Nottingham.

The scheme has finally received the all-clear after a £5.6 million cash injection by the Homes and Communities Agency and has been described as one of Nottingham’s biggest achievements in the last decade by Council leader John Collins.

Stonebridge Park is a rundown area of Nottingham with 500 homes in dire need of repair and bad connectivity. The regeneration scheme will see 258 new homes built, which will all be eco-friendly and meet targets for Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. Work will start immediately on 95 of the homes, which is the first phase of the plans.

Nottingham Council’s Portfolio holder for Housing Delivery Dave Liversidge says that, “the investment will help to renew and reinvigorate the area and will be a hive of activity for some time, creating more choice for residents and a sustainable neighbourhood.

As this scheme involves the construction of hundreds of new homes, this means that new jobs for plumbers, electricians and gas engineers will be created in Nottingham and the surrounding areas. The fact that the Stonebridge Park scheme will rejuvenate a rundown area and build new sustainable and eco-friendly homes is a bonus as well.

What do you think about these plans in Nottingham?

Salad days ahead for construction as Cucumber joins the Gherkin

PLANS for the tallest tower in Westminster have been submitted by a consortium led by two reclusive billionaire brothers.

The Reuben Brothers, David and Simon, who have an estimated fortune of £5 billion, are behind the plans, which is part of the Paddington Basin scheme, where the headquarters of major firms like Marks & Spencer and Orange are based. The building is officially known as 1 Merchant Square and will include 222 flats, a 90-room boutique hotel and a public roof bar.

The 460ft high tower is the vision of British businessmen David and Simon Reubens, who are working alongside the Jarvis Family. The tower will be situated in the Paddington Basin (what is this – three or four word description?), and has already been nicknamed the Cucumber because of its unusual design and the similarities with the vegetable.

Paddington Basin is currently undergoing a series of regeneration project and is currently the home of firms like Marks & Spencer and Orange.

The “Cucumber” tower will be 460ft high and consist of 542 new apartments, 20,000 sq m of office space and a new hotel. The work is expected to be completed by 2015 and would create new construction jobs in the area.

Charles Stuart Smith told Train4TradeSkills on behalf of European Land and stated that the tower will be an “iconic building” that would be a “gateway into London from the west”, as it would be Westminster’s tallest tower and will be a noticeable monument when you enter the west side of the city.

The tower at 1 Merchant Square has been nicknamed the “Cucumber” by the press says Kay Buxton, chief executive of Paddington Waterside Partnership, who are in charge of regenerating the Paddington Basin area. Kay says the nickname is “certainly memorable” and “gets the name of the building out there”, but admits the tower was not intended to look like a cucumber and this is purely coincidental.

The Cucumber will join the Gherkin as an odd looking tower in London. The Gherkin building, which is also known as 30 St Mary Axe, is a skyscraper in the city’s financial district and was built in 2003.

Liverpool companies to get paid by council to take on trades apprentices

Are you studying on a Train4TradeSkills course and live near Liverpool? You could be in luck when you finish your course as Liverpool City council are encouraging local businesses to recruit new trades apprentices by giving new grants. have revealed that the Liverpool Apprenticeship Scheme is looking to create 100 extra apprenticeships across the city and are willing to pay each business a one-off fee of £3000 per student to do so. The scheme, which is being run in partnership with Liverpool City Council, the National Apprenticeship Service, TUC’s union learn and the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, aims for local businesses to recruit Liverpool residents aged 16 plus for a minimum of a year and offer them work in their chosen trade as an apprentice.

These plans come at a great time, especially as the government is slashing funding with its spending cuts and increasing the amount of VAT and taxes everyone pays. Liverpool Councillor Nick Small says:

“At a time when cuts in funding are being made across the board it is even more important that we support our young people in gaining the skills they need to obtain employment. We want to have a highly-skilled and motivated workforce ready to take advantage of any improvement in the economy in future years.

I hope employers of all sizes will take this opportunity to use the support available and increase the number of apprentices in Liverpool.”

What do you think of the plans in Liverpool – should other big cities follow their lead?

The Top 10 Celebrity Apprentices that swapped being tradesmen for Hollywood – Part 2!

Before most celebrities hit the big time and the bright lights of Hollywood and superstardom, they had normal jobs, and many used to work in the trades industry before finding fame. These celebrities used to be plumbers, electricians, builders and carpenters before they hit the headlines and were thrust into the spotlight.

Yesterday I brought you Part 1, now we have the second part, with the top 5. Here are the top 5 celebrities that used to be in the trades industry before striking it big:

5. Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy worked as a plumber for a while after leaving school at 15, before focusing on eating bats, becoming the Prince of Darkness, fronting Black Sabbath and starring in MTV’s “The Osbournes”. Ozzy has sold 32 million albums in his career.

4. Michael Caine

Caine originally worked as a plumber’s apprentice after he left the army, where he had served in Korea. Deciding plumbing wasn’t for him, Caine has become a legend of the big screen, starring in films like Zulu, the Italian job, the new Batman films and he is one of two actors who have been nominated for an Academy Award in every decade since the 1960’s, along with Jack Nicholson.

3. George Harrison

One quarter of the most famous band ever, George Harrison was an apprentice electrician in Liverpool after leaving school at 16. George swapped working with wiring to become the lead guitarist for the Beatles, where he experienced major international success alongside Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr. George also had success as a solo artist before dying of lung cancer in 2001.

2. Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford ranks ahead of the other celebrities as he was actually a working tradesmen before he hit the big time. Ford worked as a carpenter alongside his early film roles and got his big break when he was hired by George Lucas to build cabinets in his home. Lucas then cast Ford in Star Wars as Han Solo, which proved to be Harrison Ford’s breakout role and led to films such as the two Star Wars sequels, the Indiana Jones quadrilogy, and many other films in a four decade career.

1.Elvis Presley

Elvis worked as an electrician’s helper in 1954 at Crown Electric, delivering supplies to job sites and hoped train to be an electrician. Unfortunately for Elvis’ electrical dreams, he launched his career as a singer, where he didn’t do half bad. Elvis became a music legend and known as the “King”, as well as becoming the King of Rock and Roll in a career that spanned over twenty years, before his death in 1977.

Are there any other celebrities that used to work in the trades industry that should make this list?

If you like this story, check out the Top 10 Most Famous Plumbers – EVER! on the Train4TradeSkills Blog –

Cutting climate change budget would be like “cutting the budget for Spitfires in 1939”

A former Tory environment minister has claimed that if the government reduces spending on all the initiatives surrounding energy and low-carbon technology, it would be like “cutting the budget for Spitfires in 1939.”

Tim Yeo, who worked for the Conservative Party under John Major in the 1990’s, is concerned that the government will cut spending on sustainable technology as part of the major spending cuts that it is introducing in the coming months. Chris Huhne, the climate change secretary, has stated “nothing was safe” in his department and that energy initiatives are just as likely to be scrapped as everything else.

Yeo believes that spending cuts could result in funding for clean coal technology being delayed or cut completely, the Carbon Trust and Energy Saving Trust being scrapped and things like funding for feed-in tariffs being reduced. This would result in all the initatives involving hydro-power in Scotland and nuclear power stations around the UK becoming nothing more than a good idea instead of a reality.

What Yeo says makes sense, as the government must be prepared to spend money if they want to fulfill their promise of becoming the greenest government ever. But their needs to be a balance between the climate change sector and the other departments so they all receive equal funding and one department doesn’t suffer.

What do you think – should the government cut spending on climate change or should other areas be cut?

Controversial Chelsea regeneration plans to finally go ahead

Work on a controversial £500 million regeneration scheme in Chelsea is set to go ahead in January 2011 after a four year delay, according to Construction News.

The luxury residential development at Lots Road involves the conversion of a power station on the site, as well as ten new buildings, a 37-storey tower in Hammersmith and a 25-storey tower in Kensington. A public street will be built next to the power station and local shops, food stores and open spaces are to be included in the plans.

The plans in Chelsea hit the headlines in 2006 when then-deputy PM John Prescott overruled a local planning inspector to grant the scheme planning permission. The planning permission was originally denied because there were fears that the towers would be too dominant. Prescott didn’t agree and said the towers would be “attractive landmarks” in an area that was “not one of particular sensitivity to tall buildings.”

Four years later and Prescott is busy appearing in Gavin and Stacey and dreaming about punching civilians, while the plans for Chelsea are going ahead. Also in the plans is the construction of 397 houses in the area, three quarters of which will be affordable homes. This coincides with Boris Johnson’s plans for an extra 1,000 homes in the capital for people living in overcrowded accommodation.

Top 10 Most Famous Plumbers EVER! Part 1

Can you imagine any celebrities fixing a kitchen sink, repairing pipes or doing any plumbing job that they probably have an army of people to do for them? These celebrities would know how to do those things, as they have either worked or trained as a plumber before moving on to other things. We have actors, dancers, video game characters and even mafia bosses in this list of the top 10 most famous plumbers ever.

Today we countdown from 10 to 6. The top 5 will be named on the blog tomorrow.

 10. John Lawrence Sullivan

John Lawrence Sullivan is recognised as the first ever heavyweight champion of gloved boxing, after being crowned champion in 1881. The “Boston Strong Boy” decided to swap bending pipes for knocking out opponents and is recognised as first ever celebrity sportsman.

9. Gabriel Byrne

The Golden Globe-winning actor and film producer originally swapped a life in the clergy to become a plumber’s apprentice, before finding acting. It’s a good job, because apparently Byrne was useless as a plumber. The actor has starred in numerous films, including the Usual Suspects, Stigmata and Miller’s Crossing.


8. Michael Flatley

Flatley, most famous for creating Lord of the Dance and Riverdance, used to be a plumber before moving on to Irish dancing.


7. John Gotti

Probably the most infamous plumbing supply salesman ever, if you believe his close friends at his 1992 trial. Just don’t refuse to buy what he’s selling. In fact, Gotti wasn’t a plumbing salesman like he claimed to be, he was the mafia boss of the Gambino crime family. He was convicted in 1992 of 13 counts of murder, conspiracy and racketeering as well as a host of other crimes before dying in prison in 2002.

6. Luigi

One half of probably the most famous plumbers ever, Luigi is the younger, lankier version of his brother – the one and only Mario and a star of the Mario series. Luigi is a plumber, but is a lot more timid and nervous than his famous sibling.


Check out Part 2 of the Most Famous Plumbers ever on the Train4TradeSkills Blog at