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Train4TradeSkills Students give you advice on how to get jobs and work placements – Part 6

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.

 

Dave Hawke

“I’ve been running my own property maintenance business for the last 5 or 6 years. I’ve just got a contract now to fit a bathroom, kitchen and a toilet as it goes. But I just turn my hand to just about anything and everything.”

Tell us a bit about your business then – how do you get your customers?

“I rely totally on word of mouth, I don’t advertise. I literally go by word of mouth because I find that’s the best way. If you’re recommended, then people will know you’re pretty good.

I’m a member of a church and I’ve built it through the church. I’ve found by doing work for people there, they all know people and I’ve networked from that and spread to other churches.

If you’re setting up your own business you need to be determined, you’ve got to have pretty thick skin and you’ve got to be prepared for knockbacks, putting in long hours and doing quotes and not hearing back. It’s not easy, you don’t just say I’m going to start a business and then off you go, It can be a long hard road but the rewards are great so it’s quite a rewarding career to get into.”

 

Mark Holloway

“I’m doing some plumbing, working for someone. I’ve been doing it for about 3, 4 months. I’ve been doing all sorts of work. The person I work for is not just a plumber, he’s an electrician, he does plastering, all building work – so a bit of everything.

It’s actually my girlfriend’s dad that I work for – It’s paid work as well. The work definitely helps with the practical side as it gives you a lot more experience and makes you quicker at doing everything.”

 

Mark Gilder

“I am working for a plumbing and heating engineer, who has been running a business for 26 years now, so well established. I signed up to study and what I did is to get myself on various building sites just doing labouring work to make contacts and it paid off for me. I got a contact and it resulted in a job.

I’m doing everything from repairing taps and radiators through to new boiler and central heating installations. Some of it he trusts me now to go ahead and do on my own, and the more technical elements of it, the gas and the boilers, he obviously does that side of the work.

I’ve been with my employer for just over a year and through various discussions he’s looking to retire in 4-5 years time and he’s looking for me to take the business forward. So I’ve rather landed on my feet really. I’ll stay with my employer and eventually take over his business. I’ll effectively be self-employed but running an established business.”

 

Sean Whitmore

“I’m a general builder, so I’m in the building industry and I just want to further my career. I’ve run my own business for the last 10-15 years and mainly do extensions. I cover most parts of the building industry – plastering, bricklaying, concreting, tiling – so I cover quite a big range.

I’ve grown my business basically from a base of people who I’ve worked for before. You do a good job at the right price, you’re name gets around and you try and keep up a high standard – word of mouth normally is the best way.”

 

Chris Summerfield

“I’ve got a paid job with a plumbing company, who teach me a bit of everything. They are starting to get me to work on boilers, do a lot of bathrooms. I go to commercial properties and sort out their plumbing problems ie. Their toilet not flushing properly and basic jobs like that. And then you could be on-site for a week and do different bits of plumbing.”

Tell us how you went about getting that job then?

“I just spotted one of the vans driving around and I just rang on the off-chance and they said they would keep my name and number. They called back about a month later and said are you still looking for some plumbing work – so I’m on an initial three-month trial.”

You can listen all the full interviews from Sean, Chris, Mark H, Dave and Mark G at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills  – where you can download to iTunes and your smartphones (iPhone and Android) if you have one.

 

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Train4TradeSkills Students give you advice on how to get jobs and work placements – Part 5

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 www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills  and you can read and download the stories via Scribd at www.scribd.com/train4tradeskills

Rich Boden

Plumbing Course

“I’m a self-employed roofer. I started off working for a firm as a kid getting my experience. And then what I did from working with them I’d do weekend jobs for family and friends and jobs on the side and their friends said “you’ve done a good job, do you want to do this…” and the recommendation side of it.

From that I started to get a bit busier and was trying to squeeze jobs in at the weekends, as I was working full-time for a firm Monday-Friday I didn’t have time. So I started cutting out on them so I could do my own work. It was a bit of a gamble at the start, I cut myself off from them and worked independently.

Then it came to setting up a website for a few hundred pounds, advertise in a local newspaper. Luckily my mum is a local community representative and she put an ad in for the local community voice paper that goes round to all the local houses, so I got quite a bit of work through that as well.”

Neil Pain

Plumbing Course

“I met up with a chap who I’ve known for years and he’s given me a break really. He needed someone to do general labouring and it’s gone from there. I’m doing carpentry, roofing, a bit of everything really.

I’m self-employed already, so initially my plans are to go out and do general plumbing, hopefully pass my solar as well. At the moment because I’ve got a fair bit of building work I might branch out on my own and do extensions and incorporate the plumbing into that.”

James Passas

Plumbing Course

For the last 5 years I started up a handyman company with a friend of mine and we do various types of work. Apart from plumbing, we do bathroom installations, kitchen installations and smaller jobs, from painting and decorating to laying floors, carpentry, tiling – that sort of thing.

For the people who want to go self-employed and start their own business, what ways have you found are the best to get customers?

It starts off as word of mouth really and then setting up the website helped and making sure it was reasonably high up in the Google rankings, advertising. After a few years we’ve found the customers have increased and we’re getting more and more queries from people.

Dan Hardy

Plumbing Course

I’ve been doing some unpaid work experience with a local plumber, so I work with him a couple of times a week or when I can and he teaches me the ropes. The main thing I’m getting out of it is the experience. It’s alright doing this course but being on-site is where it’s at and it prepares you a bit more.

What sort of jobs have you been doing with the plumber then?

PVC plasting piping, fitting in radiators, toilets, done a central heating system and general repairing and replacing taps. It’s been pretty full-on and it’s given me the determination to finish the course and do it for real full-time.

Can you tell us how you went about arranging the plumbing work experience?

I just got the Yellow pages and wrote all the names down and typed up a letter saying what my name is and I’m doing a Level 2 Plumbing Course, is there any chance of any unpaid work experience to help me along. And if they replied that’s a bonus and if not, just keep on trying.

Simon Venable

Plumbing Course

“I run my own business now. It’s plumbing, property and gardening services, which I’ve been doing since February 2011. I’ve been doing bathrooms, wetrooms, kitchen sinks and replacing traps in bathrooms and kitchens, radiators”.

How do you get your business then?

“Word of mouth and business cards. I’ve put one advert when I first started in a local magazine. That cost me £70 to put the advert in, but on the strength of that I got 3 customers, 2 of which came back for extra work – so it more than paid for itself.”

Shaun Burke

Plumbing Course

“I’m now installing solar panels on roofs – doing PV ones at the moment. The company I’m working for now are going to put me on the thermal panel and the hot water side, so I’ll be trained up for them and work there. Once I’m trained up fully, I’ll start installing those as well.

The course will help me out with the job that I’m doing now – I could get on the other side instead of doing the PV panels and do the install of the thermal panels on the roofs, as people are going to push for a big drive for them to be installed on people’s houses.”

You can listen all the full interviews from Neil, Rich, James, Dan, Simon and Shaun at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills – where you can download to iTunes and your smartphones (iPhone and Android) if you have one.

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 www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills  and you can read and download the stories via Scribd at www.scribd.com/train4tradeskills

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 www.stevesplumbingsolutions.co.uk

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 www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills – where you can download to iTunes and your smartphones (iPhone and Android) if you have one.

Train4TradeSkills Radio: Stuart talks about his plumbing course and work experience

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

You can listen to Stuart’s interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at www.train4tradeskills.blogspot.com or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills

 

Train4TradeSkills Radio: Steve talks about his plumbing business

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

You can listen to Steve’s interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at www.train4tradeskills.blogspot.com or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills

Make sure you visit Steve’s plumbing website at www.stevesplumbingsolutions.co.uk

Train4TradeSkills Radio: Phillip talks about his plumbing course

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

You can listen to Phillip’s interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at www.train4tradeskills.blogspot.com or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills

Train4TradeSkills Radio: Joe talks about his plumbing training

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

You can listen to Joe’s interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at www.train4tradeskills.blogspot.com or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills

Train4TradeSkills Radio: Tom talks about his plumbing training

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

You can listen to Tom’s interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at www.train4tradeskills.blogspot.com or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills

Train4TradeSkills Radio: Julian talks about his plumbing course

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

You can listen to Julian interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at www.train4tradeskills.blogspot.com or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills

Train4TradeSkills Students give you advice on how to get jobs and work placements – Part 3

Are you training to be a plumber or electrician with Train4TradeSkills and want to get some practical experience outside of your course? T4TS 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. We’ve already done two of these guides (which you can read here), and here’s Part 3.

Here are the students and the excerpts from their T4TS Radio interviews. All of the interviews are available to listen to at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills  and you can read and download the stories via Scribd at www.scribd.com/train4tradeskills

Dalton Gilbert

I’m a qualified electrician and I work for a previous small contractor firm and some big industrial firm like Sky, EDF and Virgin energy.

Because the industry has grown tremendously bigger than what we anticipated and the 17th edition has become a new certificate that all employers are looking for and it’s very hard without your 17 qualification. As an electrician, I do metering, wiring, I’ve been doing all aspects of electrical industry. But without a recognised qualification then your career stalls.

Craig Holland

I was actually working as an electricians mate, I just didn’t have my qualifications. I was doing all sorts of work really – domestic, commercial, pre-face stuff. I learned the practical OK from that but coming to the training centre it’s helped with the theory side of it.

Can you tell us a bit about how you arranged that experience then?

When I first left school when I was 16, I sent out a CV and a letter to almost everybody within a 20-mile radius of where I live in the Yellow Pages. I didn’t really get much back from that, but then luckily a family friend offered me a job working with them as an electrician’s mate. So I ripped his arm off! (laughs)

Danny Wicks

Since I’ve been doing the course I’ve fitted three bathrooms, one for my mother and I’ve had two private jobs that I’ve done as well.

Did you find that the work helps you understand the course more?

I’d say that doing the course has made me understand the job more, rather than doing the jobs has made me understand the course more.

You mentioned you did 2 private jobs. Can you tell us how you arranged that and how you went about it?

Well it was from a a friend who was working on a customer’s house and he asked me to take a radiator off the wall from him, so he could do some plastering. This led to me being asked to fit a bathroom in the same property.

Lee O’Donnell

I’ve been helping friends out as a sparky’s mate for many, many years on the side, because I’ve always loved electrics and that kind of stuff.

How did you find that helped your course then?

Because I kind of knew on the practical side what cable felt like, I knew what it was like to terminate sockets and cable stripping became second nature, as we do a lot of that in IT as well with catfire cables. You pick up a lot of the practical things you need to do just by being an electricians’ mate.

Andy Knott

I’m working with a plumber now and he took me on, so I’m basically doing an apprenticeship with him, so when I’m not studying or here, I’m working with a plumber on-site and getting all the experience really.

For those people that are listening and want to get work experience, can you tell us how you arranged that?

There was a plumber on-site who said I was a hard worker, and I said I would like to get into plumbing. He said as long as it’s alright with your boss, I’ll take you on. You really just have to get out there, get on-site and once your out there with them, your own your way really.

Have you found that the plumbing work has helped you with your course then?

Most definitely. If there’s stuff in your bookwork that you don’t really understand, I can just go to him and ask him about it, he’ll explain it to me or show me if we’re on a job, on different types of systems and things like that.

You can listen all the full interviews from Dalton, Craig, Danny, Lee and Andy at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills – where you can download to iTunes and your smartphones.