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Funny van pictures from the UK and abroad!

Posted by Kirsten Beckwith on 22nd May 2015

We’d like to thank everyone who sent in their photos of funny vans from around the UK and abroad, please share these on Facebook, Twitter or via email to make your friends, family and colleagues laugh.

Some of these vans are so bad, they’re funny! We certainly wouldn’t advise turning up to work in one of these… but we hope that you find them equally as amusing as we did receiving them. If you see any funny vans while you’re out and about, please share them on our Facebook page.

He wishes!







Is it a bit nipply in here?








Guess the sparkies name… 








We love this!









Pure genius! 









Great advert for Fiat here!









I don’t want to ride on this.









The British are plumbing! 









I wonder if he is still in business?









Great name and great paint job!









A bit cheeky.











Boyhood dream fulfilled. Great strap line.









This is a local one from Brighton!









This article shows what clever marketing can do for your business.










These guys must be real heroes!









If you see any more on your travels please send them in and we will publish them online.





Product Review: Draper Tools Expert Ergo Plus 9 Piece Torque Screwdriver Set

Posted by Kirsten Beckwith on 18th May 2015

Screwdrivers are an essential piece of kit for any electrician, however the type of screwdriver used matters a great deal and electricians generally favour one brand over another and tend to stick to it.

One of the favoured brands out there is Draper Tools who have a dedicated range of scredrivers just for electricians.  Draper screwdrivers have always been top notch (excuse the pun) and their latest screwdriver set is no exception.

Draper Expert Ergo Plus

Coming as a set of 9 screwdrivers, each screwdriver is manufactured and individually certified to EN 60900 and are the latest must have for professional electricians everywhere.

Suffer no more from annoying wrist ache from the repetitive movement of screwing and instead get the job done quicker and easier thanks to the torque controlled tightening of the screws.   Electricians who have used standard screwdrivers will know the frustration of damaged tools, screws, fixings and consumer units.  A torque controlled screwdriver is both an essential and practical requirement.

Not just any old torque screwdriver!

There is torque and there is the expert torque – the Draper Expert features an interchangeable torque screwdriver kit with precision torque control.  Torque settings between 1 and 5 newton metres can be set very easily by releasing the collar, twisting it to the desired setting and then clipping it back into place. When you then use the screwdriver you can feel and hear an audible click once you have reached the torque limit so you know when to stop screwing. This allows you to confidently work on consumer units or switchgear reducing without the risk of damage to the terminals terminals, arcing circuits and hot spotting – scenarios no electricians want to encounter. Perhaps most importantly, by preventing over tightening or under tightening terminal screws you can be assured you are working in compliance with the latest Wiring Regulations.

Quick and easy lock and release

Changing over the screwdriver heads could not be easier.  The set features a simple auto lock and release system that means changing the heads is effortless. Simply pull the yellow grip back and remove or add a new head. Release the grip and the head will be securely locked in place.

Fully insulated

It goes without saying that all tools used by electricians should be insulated and as expected this Draper set does not fall short of expectation.  The torque screwdriver is fully insulated allowing you to carry out work on circuits up to 1000V AC and 1500V DC. There is a very comfortable handle which not only provides great grip it is also resistant to most chemicals, oils and most solvents enabling the screwdriver to be suitable for use even in more harsh conditions.

The full kit explained

The Draper Expert Ergo kit is ready for all professional electricians to get out and about with.  There is no set up and the kit is fully compatible with all other Draper Expert range screwdrivers making the kit even more versatile.  The kit contains:

Torque screwdriver

8 interchangeable blades

Calibration certificate

Storage roll for safe and secure transportation

Fully guaranteed and perfect for electricians who work with precise installations, this is a perfect 'must have' piece of kit.




The Best Electrical & Electrician Jokes Online from TS4U

Posted by Kirsten Beckwith on 15th May 2015

If you’re looking for electrician jokes and funny electrical jokes you’ve certainly come to the right place. We have scoured the internet and quizzed our students and instructors to get a collection of the best ones around. Please feel free to share these entertaining electrician jokes with your family and friends.

Some of these jokes are so bad they are good! We’ve got some great one liners to start with and some story led jokes to finish, there should be something for everyone, and guaranteed to get you a laugh.

Have you got any electrician jokes or electrical jokes you would like to share with us? Please share your own jokes on our Facebook page!

Don’t forget all great comedians have good timing and don’t mess up the punch line, happy joke telling. Please let us know which joke is your favourite and got you the most laughs…

One liner electrician jokes: 

What is an electrician’s favourite ice cream flavour?


What is another name for an electrical apprentice?
Shock absorber

Why are the electricians always up to date?

Because they are “current specialists”.

Why did Mr Ohm marry Mrs. Ohm?

Because he couldn’t resistor!

What kind of car does an electrician drive?

A Volts-wagon

What do you call a bad electrician?

A shock absorber!

The Atom Joke
Two atoms were walking down the street.
Atom One: Oh no - I've lost an electron!
Atom two: Are you sure?
Atom one: Yes… I'm positive.

The guy who got arrested for eating batteries…. He is to be charged in the morning.

Story based electrician jokes! 

An electrician in Heaven
A electrician dies in a fishing accident on his 40th birthday and finds himself greeted at the Pearly Gates by a brass band. Saint Peter runs over, shakes his hand and says “Congratulations!”
“Congratulations for what?” asks the electrician
“Congratulations for what?” says Saint Peter. “We are celebrating the fact that you lived to be 160 years old.”
“But that’s not true,” says the consultant. “I only lived to be forty.”
“That’s impossible,” says Saint Peter, “we added up your time sheets!”

Lost Ear Accident
Two electricians, John and Dave, were working and John up on a scaffold accidently cut off his ear.
He yelled down to Dave…”Hey! look out for my ear I just cut off!”
In a little bit Dave calls up to John, ” is this your ear?”
John looks down and says “Nah! Mine had a pencil behind it!”

Exact Words
The homeowner was delighted with the way the electrician had done all the work on his house. “You did a great job.” he said and handed the man a cheque. “Also, in order to thank-you, here’s an extra £80 to take the missus out to dinner and a movie.” Later that night, the doorbell rang and it was the electrician. Thinking the electrician had forgotten something the man asked, “What’s the matter, did you forget something?” “Nope.” replied the electrician. “I’m just here to take your missus out to dinner and a movie like you asked.”

Her Clean Floor
While electricians were working outside the old house I had just bought, I busied myself with indoor cleaning.
I had just finished washing the floor when one of the workmen asked to use the toilet.
With dismay I looked from his muddy boots to my newly scrubbed floors.
“Just a minute,” I said, thinking of a quick solution.
“I’ll put down newspapers.”
“That’s all right, lady,” he responded. “I’m already trained.”
Construction Workers Understand

Four surgeons are discussing who makes the best type of surgery patient.
The first surgeon says, “I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered.” 
The second responds, “Yeah, but you should try electricians! Everything inside them is colour coded.”
The third surgeon says, “No, I really think librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order.”
The fourth surgeon chimes in: “You know, I like construction workers ~ they seem to understand when you have a few parts left over at the end and when the job takes longer than you said it would.”

Death Row
A chemist, a biologist and an electrician were on death row waiting to go in the electric chair.  The chemist was brought forward first. “Do you have anything you want to say?” asked the executioner, strapping him in ”No,” replied the chemist. The executioner flicked the switch and nothing happened. Under State law, if an execution attempt fails, the prisoner is to be released, so the chemist was released. Then the biologist was brought forward. “Do you have anything you want to say?” “No, just get on with it.” The executioner flicked the switch, and again nothing happened, so the biologist was released. Then the electrician was brought forward. “Do you have anything you want to say?” asked the executioner. “Yes,” replied the engineer. “If you swap the red and the blue wires over, you might make this thing work.”

Strong Man on the Job
The strong young man at the construction site was bragging that he could out do anyone in a feat of strength. He made a special case of making fun of one of the older workmen. After several minutes, the older worker had had enough. “Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is,” he said.
“I will bet a week’s wages that I can haul something in a wheelbarrow over to that outbuilding that you won’t be able to wheel back.” 
“You’re on, old man,” the braggart replied. “Let’s see what you got.”
The old man reached out and grabbed the wheelbarrow by the handles.
Then, nodding to the young man, he said, “All right, Get in.”

Applying In Person
An electrician walks onto a job site of a large company and hands the foreman his application.
The foreman begins to scan the sheet, and notices that the applicant has been fired from every job he has ever held. “I must say,” says the foreman, “your work history is terrible. 
You’ve been fired from every job.” “Yes,” says the sparky. “Well,” continues the foreman,
“there’s not much positive in that.” “Hey!” says the guy as he pokes the application. “At least I’m not a quitter.”

Why not poke fun at your fellow trades, here are some funny plumber jokes: 

Why shouldn't you play poker with a plumber?

A good flush beats a full house everytime. 

Why couldn't the plumber get a date?

Because he was a real drip. 

Why did the plumber fall asleep at work?

Because his job was draining!

What is your favourite electrician joke? Please 'share' these with your friends, and post your favourite joke on our Facebook page. 




A Clear Route To Industry? Domestic Electrician Apprenticeships - Opinions Please

Posted by Carl Bennett on 13th May 2015

Read this blog and give us your opinion to be entered into our win a van competition!

We have many conversations with our thousands of contractor customers when they are here with us attending career development courses. The conversations are generally around the inability of the small contracting company (5 or less employees) being able to support an adult apprenticeship programme.  They tell us they can’t support an adult apprentice for three simple reasons:

Lengthy training programme.

High cost of training and employing  an adult apprentice.

Lack of the range of work required as evidence for the NVQ. (A Particular problem for those working in the domestic sector)

You will notice in the above list, that we are talking about adults, i.e. aged 19 plus, but more likely to be 24 plus. The most commonly offered solution by these contractors,is that the industry needs to offer a career solution that accurately reflects the workplace in 2015, a one size fits all NVQ isn’t what the small employer needs.

A 3-4 year apprenticeship of drip feed training and onsite experience is certainly appropriate for a 16-19 year old, where the general lessons of working life must also be factored into the training of an apprentice.

However for an adult wanting to join the industry, and increasingly many do, the inflexibility of the standard NVQ leads to those people seeking other routes into the industry which often leads to short cuts being taken. We all know that this is not a satisfactory solution when training the future workforce of what is, after all, a vital industry to this country.

Many contractors tell us that if the apprenticeship programme was broken down into bite size chunks, it would make it more cost effective and relevant to employers and employees alike.

The Solution - Stepping Stone Qualifications

The natural bite size chunks to us are obvious. Electricians offer their services generally into three sectors. Domestic, Industrial, Commercial. You’ll see it on the side of virtually every contractors van.

It’s our opinion, as evidenced from our customer’s comments that the NVQ should be broken down likewise. So we would suggest that the training programmes offer an NVQ for a Domestic Electrician, then perhaps if needed, progression to the full electricians to NVQ subject areas specifically covering the Commercial and Industrial sectors.

This proposal would give the flexibility to the small contractor to be able to support an adult apprentice programme, as inevitably it would be shorter (perhaps a year), and the programme would be more relevant to the actual work they do on a day-to-day basis. It is also more beneficial to the adult apprentice who could not commit to a 3-4 year apprenticeship on reduced wages.

Of course the current full NVQ would still be an option and is certainly appropriate for the young person entering the workplace for the first time, but this proposed approach with its greater flexibilitywould provide a much needed realistic training option for the small employer who frankly just wants to get on with the job, get their people trained as efficiently as they can and earn money.

Likewise if the units contained within the Technical Certificate equivalents that apply to domestic  electrical installations could be separated out and taught first, then there can be a simple and clear route into industry for all,with a clear starting point and several stopping off points.

All of this would allow new entrants the ability to qualify as a domestic electrician and then upskill to carry out commercial  and industrial installations at a later date if required.

It seems common sense to adopt this route and the industry has come close in recent times with the introduction of the “Level 3 Certificate In Installing, Testing & Ensuring Compliance of Electrical Installations in Dwellings” qualification. However the problem with this is that you still need to transfer into one of the main courses listed above to qualify as electricians. It would make more sense if everyone studying to be an electrician studied key subjects relating to domestic installations first and then had a choice on whether or not to continue studying or to start work as a domestic electrician. This would lead to much greater harmony and much less confusion both amongst the public and out there in the workplace.

So with that in mind we have decided to undertake a formal consultation process and present our findings to industry andto offer this as a training solution thus perhaps ending the years of fudge that has plagued the domestic sector.

We need your input!

There is still a long way to go, but we believe with your input we can improve this situation for the better. We are looking at this in partnership with Summit Skills and want to hear your thoughts on this. We would love to hear from anyone that has an opinion and you can express your opinions simply by completing the form below. We hope you can help positively and work with us to improve our industry

You will also be entered into our win a van competition if you complete the form below by the 31st May 2015:

If you have any trouble with the above form you can visit: http://form.jotformeu.com/form/51304411575346

We hope you can help positively.


Does a metallic cable tray require earthing or bonding?

Posted by Andy Hay-Ellis on 11th May 2015

A. In short the answer is 'depends' but the answer could be ‘earthing’, ‘bonding’ or ‘neither’ depending on the circumstances. Looking at each of these in turn:

1. If the tray is an exposed conductive part it requires earthing.

2. If the tray is and extraneous conductive part it requires bonding.

3. If the tray is neither of the above it requires neither earthing nor bonding.

So once again the answer comes down to the definition of ‘exposed conductive part’ and ‘extraneous conductive part’

Exposed-Conductive-Part – Conductive part of equipment which can be touched and which is not normally live, but which may become live under fault conditions.

Extraneous-Conductive-Part – A conductive part liable to introduce a potential, generally Earth potential, and not forming part of the electrical installation.

So two further questions now arise:

Q1.  Is a metallic tray an exposed-conductive-part?

Note: It should be remembered that the purpose of earthing is to provide a path for fault current to flow and operate the overcurrent protective device.

A(i).  If the tray is used as a protective conductor as allowed by 543.2.1, then yes it is and it should be earthed.

A(ii). If the tray is used to carry cables and is not used as a protective conductor two scenarios exist:

1. The cable tray carries metallic sheathed cables, such as bare micc. - In the event of a fault on the circuit the fault path will be the metallic sheath of the cable and therefore the tray is not an exposed-conductive-part and does not require earthing. If the tray was to be connected to the MET, under fault conditions the tray would only serve to distribute further any touch voltage.

2. The cable tray carries cables with a non-metallic sheath. -  In this case the cables are deemed to provide the same basic and fault protection as class II equipment (see Regulation 412.2.4.1) and as such, in the event of an insulation fault in the cable a fault current cannot flow in a conductive part and hence the tray does not require earthing.

In either of the scenarios above the tray is not required to be earthed and in some cases earthing could increase the shock risk under fault conditions.

Q2.  Is a metallic tray an extraneous-conductive-part?

Note: It is worth noting that in the definition of an extraneous-conductive-part, the word ‘Earth’ is capitalised as it is a proper-noun and therefore refers to the planet or the ground we stand on.

A. To answer this question one must ask another question; can the tray introduce a potential that does not already exist in the installation? Largely the answer to this question is no and therefore normally there is no need to connect bonding or supplementary bonding to the tray.

If the tray were to carry services into a building from outside of that building and that tray was in contact with Earth potential outside, then this potential could be introduced to the location and yes there would be a need to provide bonding.

The above would also apply to cable basket but not to metallic conduit or trunking which houses insulated cables without a outer sheath.

Further details on the above subject can be found in Section 10.11 of Guidance Note 8 published by the IET.

Published by our Director of Education - Andy Hay-Ellis





Which electrical training subject is the hardest?

Posted by Kirsten Beckwith on 6th May 2015

student studying

We asked 100 students which electrical training subjects they found the hardest when studying to become an electrician with us, please see the published results below:   


So why are these two subjects the hardest?

Being an electrician is one of the most interesting and challenging of the trades. It requires both hands on skill as well as some technical and mathematical aptitude. Many people love to get their hands dirty but sometimes shy away from the more theoretical side of things. However it is this blend of the two skillsets that makes becoming an electrician such an attractive prospect for many. It can challenge your mind and your body at the same time. Don't worry if you are reading this thinking can I do this? The maths and science is not that hard and essentially people just prefer to get stuck in with their hands than with their minds.

As we're the UKs number one training provider for electricians, we've assisted thousands of students gain their certificates and start their career within the electrical industry. Our talented tutors support every student, esperically through these subjects they find more difficult. This is the key to our success ensuring we have excellent pass rates across all subjects. 

We offer a wide range of electrical training courses, if you're looking for electrical courses for beginners  or if your a qualified electricial looking to top up your skills you've come to the right place please visit our course finder page to find out more information on what we can do for you. 


Using Your Enhanced Learning Credits Explained.

Posted by Kirsten Beckwith on 1st May 2015

army silhouette

Most people serving in the armed forces will be aware that The Ministry of Defence offer an Enhanced Learning Credit scheme to promote lifelong learning amongst members. These are very generous allowances to be used on resettlement courses for those who’ve been a member of the armed forces who’s served for four years or more, you can claim Enhanced Learning Credits from the services for up to ten years after leaving. You can only claim once a year and you can save them up for up to three years, which you don’t need to run consecutively. The credits can be used to pay for courses with registered training providers such as Trade Skills 4U but only apply to level 3 courses or above.


Are you eligible for the Enhanced Learning Credits?

Have you accumulated 4 years of service since 1 April 2000? (Entitlement: Lower Tier)

Have you accumulated 8 years of service since 1 April 2000? (Entitlement: Higher Tier)

If you were Wounded, Injured or Sick (WIS) or medical discharged before reaching the four year eligible service then you may still be eligible to claim ELCs.

Don’t worry if you do not qualify for the Enhanced Learning Credit scheme, there are other organisations for example the Royal British Legion which can sometimes help fund retraining.

The Facts

You can claim up to £1,000 (Lower Tier) or £2,000 (Higher Tier) per financial year (31st March – 1st April) towards qualifying courses

Enhanced learning credits can be used for up to 80% of a course; you have to cover the remaining 20% yourself (you can use your Resettlement Grant for this.)

You can claim 3 times (as long as they are in separate financial years.) You can use enhanced learning credits for up to 10 years from your last day of service

Enhanced learning credits can be used towards the costs of tuition fees including VAT

ELCs cannot be used towards travel, subsistence, accommodation, meals, equipment or course materials where additional fees apply.


Before deciding on learning, people should consider:

Is the course relevant to your personal development?

Are you able to complete the course?

Will this disrupt your current service?

Can you travel to the centre, will you require accommodation?

Next steps

Read JSP 898, Part 4, Chapter 3

Register for the scheme in accordance with published guidelines

Check that the course you wish to enrol on is allowable under the rules

Get the necessary approval to enrol

Talk with your line manager and education/learning staff.

students studying

Electrician Courses Part of ELC Scheme

If you’re interested in electrics and see this as a future career path, then why not use your ELC credits for electrical training courses with UKs number one training provider? You can find a full list of eligible courses here:


Here at Trade Skills 4U, the most common resettlement course taken up by ex-service men is Bronze Domestic Installer course. This course can be completed in 18 days, you’ll gain four formal City & Guilds qualifications; Electrical Installation working within a domestic dwelling, Part P Building Regulations, Inspection and Testing and the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations.

Or if you are interested in renewable energy you could take our Green – Solar PV Installer Course which will enable you to work on a real life roof to gain experience working from height. Once you’ve completed this course you will be fully qualified in solar panel installation and if you’re brand new to the industry you can take this course to become a solar panel installer, which is a growing market!

Start learning now, to make the most of your life!!

To Claim

Complete a claim form: (http://www.enhancedlearningcredits.com/Claiming/keydownloads/1%29%20ELC%20Claim%20Form.doc)

If you had a break in service you need to provide a Interrupted Service Supplementary Form

Proof of last day of service

Information about the course and proof that it is NQF or QCF and Level 3 or higher qualification

Photographic ID (passport or driving license)

Proof of home address

A daytime telephone number.

If you are no longer serving, please send your claims to the relevant contact below:

Royal Navy

FLEET FOST TA EL3R RESET SO3C, Floor 3, Leach Building, Whale Island, Portsmouth PO2 8BY

Tel: 02392 625954

Email: fleet-fost-tael3rresetso3c@mod.uk.


ELC Manager, DETS (A), Ramilles Building, Marlborough Lines, Andover, Hampshire SP11 8HJ

Tel: 07770 418788

Email: elc@detsa.co.uk.

Royal Air Force

Learning Credits Administrator, Room 227, Trenchard Hall, RAF Cranwell, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, NG34 8HB

Tel: 01400 268182

Email: 22trggp-tp-accred-so3@mod.uk.

If you are still serving, please consult the staff in your local RN Education Centre, Army Education Centre, or RAF Learning Centre.






TT systems and the driving of earth rods

Posted by Kirsten Beckwith on 27th April 2015

earthing rod

Electrical installations primarily located in rural areas are often protected by a TT system where an earth rod is driven into the ground.  BS7671 lists 5 types of earthing system which are used in differing situations dependant on where the electrical installation is located.

TT systems differ from other forms in that the customer must provide their own connection to earth by installing a suitable earth electrode local to the installation.  Commonly this is known as an earth rod.

Installing earth rods

The installation of earthing rods appears to differ somewhat between electricians with many examples of incorrect or poor quality installations of them easily available on the internet.  However, even amongst electricians, there is wide difference of opinion over earth rod installation.  Particularly hot in debates are the depth at which the rod should be driven in and the weather and earth conditions at the point of installation.

Obtaining reliable protection from an earth rod

Unfortunately earth rods seem to be a fit and then forget 'solution' in many locations.  Problems can range from no earth protection at all to a poorly fitted earth rod which is not giving reliable earth protection to the household.

Once an earth rod has been installed, an appropriate Zs reading needs to be obtained to establish that the earth rod will provide the appropriate earth protection to the property in question.  Using a loop tester, the electrician tests the system loop impedance for the earth rod to obtain the Zs reading.

The current Wiring Regulations state that a reading of up to 200 ohms is acceptable.  If the reading reads above 200 ohms then the installation may be unstable.

How far should the rod be driven in and do weather/earth conditions matter?

Although a reading of up to 200 ohms is deemed acceptable, there is strong debate amongst electricians that such a reading is too high.  Ideally obtaining a reading that is comparable to TNC/TNS systems found in more urban areas is beneficial.

Of course, the lower the reading the better quality the installation, so how can electricians improve a Zs reading?

• Selecting an appropriate earth rod and ground depth

Selecting an earth rod that is too thin and not driving it into the ground to a sufficient depth is one of the common reasons for a poorer reading.  Positioning and installing an earth rod also matters.  If you are too near a building or drive the earth rod in at the wrong angle it can make a significant difference to the Zs reading.  Earth depth should be considered.  If sufficient depth cannot be obtained because of rock below the ground for example, then other methods of installation such as copper earth tapes, pipes or plates may be a suitable addition to improve the Zs reading.

• Weather and earth conditions

Poor earth quality and even dry earth conditions can affect a Zs reading.  In fact installing an earth rod into particularly dry ground will produce the most accurate reading and it is preferable to test an earth electrode in such conditions.  Care should be taken though in the earth where the electrode is being driven into.  They should be driven into undisturbed ground, not soil that has previously been removed or dug up.

Care should also be taken to not drive earth rods too close to metal poles or other metallic objects.  If an earthing fault develops, it could make the metal objects live – definitely a situation that must be avoided.

Obtaining maximum safety

No one can guarantee full earth protection of a TT system.  Problems can arise from the theft of the earth wire or it even becoming disconnected.  Therefore it is good practice to install RCD protection within the property.  Obtaining RCD protection is always a recommended electrical safety feature in any home, where earthing protection is concerned, it is always a good idea to install RCD protection if none exists already, regardless of the quality of the Zs reading.





It’s Our 10th Birthday (Well Almost!) - Find How We Were Founded

Posted by Kirsten Beckwith on 24th April 2015

birthday cake

So here we are 10 years on since Trade Skills 4U were first established. Who would have guessed that in that time we would have become the UK’s no.1 electrical training company training over 2000 students every year delivering courses in Gatwick, London and Warrington. So we thought we would give you some insight into how the company was born and interviewed our founding director Carl Bennett.

The story behind our beginnings is quite an interesting one, Trade Skills 4U nearly didn’t happen at all. 14 years ago our CEO Carl Bennett was recovering from a serious operation and facing a major cross roads in his life. Having spent 22 years in the Met police in London as a Specialist Firearms Officer in Dept SO19, Carl was forced into medical discharge due to an operation to remove a brain tumour. It left him with disabilities that meant he was unable to continue doing the job he had dedicated his life to.

Once over the physical challenges of his recovery Carl now had to overcome the challenge of providing for his family. His career had ended, he couldn’t walk or even sit up in a chair at first, his life was in a crisis and Carl had to consider what he should do about it.

“Actually my first thought was to feel sorry for myself, just curl up and say ‘why me?, I wouldn’t blame anyone who faces difficulties in life to behave that way, if you’re a good bloke and you get dealt a dodgy hand that’s the way you feel. But for my kids and my wife, I had to tell myself to pull myself together. So as is my nature I reasoned it out and sought a solution and considered my options. ”

“So I asked myself what were my best skills and how could I best use them?”.

Whilst a team leader in SO19, (widely considered to one of the best Firearms training departments in the world), Carl learned how to train and develop the skills of his team into becoming an ‘elite’, so he knew about training and he led and organised a team of committed people in a high pressure job, so he knew about leadership and organisation. Whilst a copper, he had built his own house, so he learned about the trades and their skills and the importance of good quality trades people.

So it was obvious to him, combine what he felt confident he knew about with the skills he already had at his disposal and with his small pension lump sum and the help of his also ex-cop wife Tracey, he started Trade Skills 4U.

“We started originally as a sort of school for Grand Designs self-builders in a scruffy little unit on a scruffy little industrial estate teaching all kinds of stuff relevant to self-builders. It was hard, and a massive learning curve.” Carl say’s

carl bennett ceo

“The challenges of owning and running a small business were easily as difficult as undertaking operations against terrorists and armed robbers, at least in SO19  I knew what I was doing!”

“I had many sleepless nights and new business money worries, how am I going to pay the rent? my blokes, myself ? But we got through. One thing I don’t do is give up. We’ve plastered our walls with posters here at Trade Skills 4U, encouraging people who train with us, to work hard, never give up, do your best, if you don’t put effort in here, you won’t get the rewards. That message worked for me, I want it to work for them. We’ve now got the most successful electrical training company in the UK, I want to show people who come to us, many at crossroads like I was, that if you believe in yourself and roll your sleeves up you can turn adversity into achievement. I’m no Alan Sugar, I’m a regular bloke, but as a business owner my thought is this ‘build it and they will come’. Do your best in every way, give the best service for your customers, give them what they need, don’t over promise and under deliver, do the opposite, and they will come, and thankfully they do.”

“Sparkies often say to me. How can you own the most successful electrical training business in the UK, You’re not even a sparky”. Well it’s precisely because I’m not a sparky that I do. You don’t want me as your sparky anyway, I’m not technically smart enough to work in electrics, I’m an organiser, an educator, a facilitator, my tutors are the experts, I’ve built a team of the best that’s available, its taken years to get my team together. Knowledge of electrics is not my job, giving a customer the best service is definitely my job and I think we do it better than anyone else.”

“I would like to thank all our customers and staff for their hard work and support over the years. Without a great team and fantastic customers we could never have done it. That’s why we would like to give something back.”

Huge Van Giveaway!

So here we are, 10 years on and Carl is so happy with how things have gone that he has decided to give away a van to one lucky customer. All customers who book a course between the 1st April and 31st May will be entered into a prize draw to win a brand new Vauxhall Combo Van worth nearly £17,000. At the start of June Trade Skills 4U will draw 3 finalists out of a hat. Those 3 finalists will be invited back to Trade Skills 4U to compete in a game of Giant Buzzwire. Whoever completes the Buzzwire challenge the quickest or gets the furthest will win the Van and the two runners up will also receive prizes for their efforts.

The great thing about the competition is that there is very little for customers to do and the odds on winning this fantastic prize are very good indeed. It is estimated that the customers will have around a 1 in 400 chance of winning this prize.

To enter the competition could not be simpler. All you need to do is book a course between the key dates and you will be in with a chance. It doesn’t matter when you will be taking your course as long as the booking is made by the final deadline of 31st May 2015.





10 Second Survey – Which card do you hold?

Posted by Kirsten Beckwith on 22nd April 2015

ecs card


We’re interested to find out which card most of the electricians who visit our blog hold? Please take a few seconds to let us know which cards you hold: 


Many employers have been asking for ECS cards however more and more they’re asking for CSCS cards. Which card do you hold when working in the industry? We’re very interested to hear from you. 



Categories: survey