Being furloughed can be a frustrating time. You’re out of your usual work routine, and with financial uncertainties, it’s easy to feel lost. But this period can also be a valuable opportunity for personal and professional development. One way to make the most of your furlough is by investing in skills training, particularly for electricians like yourself. This article will explore the ins and outs of training while furloughed in the UK, including VCT training (Virtual Classroom Training) options from Trade Skills 4 U. We’ll also answer key questions for electricians and electrician trainees, such as:

  1. Can I legally train while furloughed?
  2. What types of training are allowed?
  3. What are the restrictions on training while furloughed?
  4. How can Trade Skills 4 U help through VCT training?

By understanding these guidelines, you can leverage your furlough productively by upskilling yourself and staying ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving electrical industry.

The Legality of Training During Furlough

The good news is that, in most cases, yes, you can absolutely train while furloughed in the UK. The government actively encourages furloughed employees to pursue training opportunities to enhance their skillsets. This not only benefits you by increasing your employability but also boosts your company’s overall skill level upon your return.

There are, however, some important restrictions to be aware of:

  • Training cannot directly benefit your current employer. This means you can’t engage in any training that would directly generate revenue or provide services for your employer while furloughed.
  • Training cannot be done during furloughed hours. If your employer has specifically recorded your furlough hours, any training undertaken during that time would likely be considered work and entitle you to at least the National Minimum Wage.

In essence, your training should be self-directed and focused on personal development that wouldn’t directly impact your current employer’s business during your furlough.

Types of Training Allowed During Furlough

With the legalities clarified, let’s explore the types of training you can pursue while furloughed:

  • VCT Training Courses: The internet offers a vast array of online electrical training courses and virtual classroom training courses. Trade Skills 4 U provides a comprehensive library of online courses covering various electrical disciplines, from domestic installations to advanced inspection and testing. These online courses allow you to learn at your own pace and revisit modules as needed, making them ideal for furloughed electricians.
  • Professional Certifications: Consider pursuing certifications that enhance your electrician qualifications. There are numerous electrical certifications offered by bodies like the NICEIC and ELECSA. Earning these certifications demonstrates your commitment to professional development and can significantly boost your resume once you return to work.
  • Industry Workshops and Webinars: Many electrical industry bodies and organisations host workshops and webinars specifically for electricians. These can be a great way to stay updated on the latest regulations, technologies, and best practices in the field. While some might require a fee, many are free or offered at a discounted rate.

Remember, the key is to choose training that aligns with your career goals and doesn’t directly benefit your current employer.

Restrictions on Training During Furlough

Here are some additional restrictions to keep in mind:

  • Confidentiality: Ensure any training materials you access during your furlough don’t contain confidential information belonging to your current employer.
  • Data Protection: Be mindful of data protection regulations when accessing online training resources or completing assessments.
  • Communication with Employer: While furloughed, it’s generally best to avoid contacting your employer about work-related matters. However, if your training raises any questions or requires clarification on regulations, it’s advisable to consult with a relevant industry body or a qualified training provider like Trade Skills 4 U.

How Trade Skills 4 U Can Help with Furlough Training

Trade Skills 4 U is committed to supporting electricians throughout their careers, including during furloughs. Here’s how we can help:

  • Flexible Online Courses: Our online electrician training courses cater to your busy schedule, allowing you to learn at your own pace, even during furlough.
  • Course Advisors: Our dedicated course advisors can guide you in selecting the most appropriate training programs based on your current skillset and career aspirations.
  • Furlough Training Options: We understand the financial constraints of being furloughed. We offer various training options at different price points, including VCT training, and can also advise you on any potential government funding or grants available for skills development during furlough.

Leverage Your Furlough for a Brighter Electrical Future

Here are some additional ways to maximise your furlough for professional development, beyond just training courses:

  • Network with Fellow Electricians: While direct work with your current employer is restricted, you can still connect with other electricians online or through industry forums. This allows you to share knowledge, discuss industry trends, and potentially discover new job opportunities.
  • Volunteer Your Skills: Consider volunteering your electrical skills for charitable organisations or community projects. This not only gives back to the community but also provides valuable practical experience and keeps your skills sharp.
  • Start a Personal Electrical Project: Have you been wanting to rewire your own shed or install some smart home features in your house? A furlough can be the perfect time to tackle these personal electrical projects. This allows you to apply your knowledge in a real-world setting, gain valuable experience, and potentially save money on professional service fees.
  • Brush Up on Electrical Regulations: The electrical industry is constantly evolving, with new regulations being implemented regularly. Use your furlough to revisit and refresh your understanding of the latest wiring regulations and other relevant electrical safety standards. Trade Skills 4 U offers resources and online modules to help you stay current.
  • Prepare for Electrical Assessments: If you’re planning on taking an electrical assessment like the NVQ or becoming a qualified electrician, use your furlough to study and prepare for these exams. Trade Skills 4 U offers revision materials and practice tests to help you excel in your assessments.

Remember, a proactive approach is key during your furlough. By actively engaging in training, networking, and self-directed learning, you can not only weather the furlough but also emerge with a distinct advantage when seeking new opportunities or returning to your current role.

Trade Skills 4 U is Here to Support You

At Trade Skills 4 U, we understand the challenges and opportunities that come with being furloughed. We are here to support you throughout your journey. Our team of experienced trainers and advisors can help you identify the most suitable training programs and resources to make the most of your furlough.

In March 2020, Trade Skills 4U launched Virtual Classroom Training; a home-based learning environment which enables students and large cohorts to attend our electrical courses from the comfort of their own home. We have been running Virtual Classroom Training courses and received good feedback from our students – watch our VCT promotional video.

For more information, call our sales team on 0800 856 4448.

Don’t let your furlough be a setback. Take charge, invest in yourself, and return to the workforce as a more skilled and confident electrician. Contact Trade Skills 4 U today to discuss your furlough training options and take the first step towards a brighter electrical future.