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Electrical lecturer ordained a deacon

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 20th July 2017

Andy Summers, an electrical lecturer/assessor at our Birchwood, Warrington site, has very kindly agreed to tell us his story of how his faith lead him to train as a deacon.

On the 1st July 2017 Bishop Mark Davies ordained Andy a new deacon for the Diocese of Shrewsbury during a Mass in Shrewsbury Cathedral. We are all very proud of Andy’s achievement and dedication to his faith and hope that you enjoy reading his story.

My story: The Reverend Andy Summers, Deacon.

In which parish are you involved?

St John Vianney in Northwich, Cheshire

What is your role?

My main role is to assist my parish priest Fr. Paul Standish during Mass where I can read the Gospel and give homilies (sermons) and distribute holy communion. My role also allows me to conduct baptisms, weddings and funerals and in fact only last Sunday I baptised two babies and am looking forward to conducting my first wedding service in September.

Why did you choose to be ordained?

I felt I could be of more service to the people of the parish as an ordained minister and take a more active role, for example, only a priest or deacon can read and then teach on the Gospel readings each week and this was an area where I felt I could contribute.

How and when did you know you were called to ministry?

I had become a member of the Catholic Church in 1985 after receiving my faith and spent several years travelling throughout Britain and Europe sharing my faith in schools and parishes using music and drama to bring the message of the Gospel in a way which was relevant to young people. I’d been a professional musician, I’m a drummer, and toured at home and abroad and was able to use that gift as a means of service for the Church. After meeting my wife Helen, I settled down and have spent the last few years bringing up a family, re-training as an electrician and then as a teacher and it was only when my daughter Elizabeth had become a teenager that I felt the call to train to become a deacon.

Drummer to Deacon

How would you describe your experience of being ordained?

Very humbling! The word deacon comes from the Greek word ‘Diakonia’ which means ‘to serve’. So I’m very aware of the responsibility that I now carry to be of service to everyone. The ordination ceremony was very special, a lot of my work colleagues were there to support me as well as family and friends.

What's the best thing about your entering the ministry?

The best thing about entering the ministry is to be of service to people, to proclaim and teach the Gospel and to be able to live out my faith in a way that benefits others.

What's the most challenging aspect of your role?

Making sure I get it right! There’s a lot of organisation involved in baptisms and weddings and I feel a little like a learner driver at the moment. I’m sure it’ll be alright. I would like people to feel that they could approach me. A deacon is usually a married man, so maybe people would feel they could talk to a deacon rather than to a priest in certain matters; that could be pretty challenging!

What has been the reaction of your family and work colleagues?

My daughter was horrified at the thought of me becoming a deacon five years ago, but now thinks it’s quite cool! My wife has been very supportive and so have my work colleagues both past and present, many were at the ordination along with my line manager Mike and his family. I’ve received a lot of good wishes from everyone at TS4U, my colleagues affectionally referring to me now as ‘The Rev!’.

Drummer to Deacon 2

What would your advice be for someone wanting to become a minister?

That’s a difficult one but I believe it is a call so it’s about being open and honest in your life to know where God is calling you personally. I received my faith over thirty years ago but it’s only been in the last five years that I’ve felt called to become a minister. You’ve just got to be open and follow your heart.

What is your current job role and how does this fit in with being a deacon?

I’m a lecturer/assessor at TS4U in Birchwood, Warrington. deacons unlike priests, don’t get paid so it’s a labour of love, so I’ll be fitting the duties around my job which means evenings and weekends will be the times I’ll be able to fully exercise the ministry.


We wish Andy (The Rev) the very best of luck in his new role and look forward to hearing how he gets on conducting his first wedding service in September.

A funny quote I found by Cardinal Richard Cushing was: The bishops will govern the Church, the priests will do all the work and the deacons will have all the fun.

Categories: deacon, ordainment

Have your say on the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations (BS 7671:2018)

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 18th July 2017

18th edition

Appeals for 18th Edition Feedback - Draft for Public Comment BS 7671:2018

Following the release of the Draft for Public Comment (DPC) for BS 7671:2018, the electrical industry is being given the opportunity to have their say and influence the content of the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations (BS7671).

The BS 7671 Wiring Regulations set out the standards for electrical installations in the UK as well as many other countries and is due to be published in July 2018 with the regulations coming into full effect in January 2019.

The Draft for Public Comment (DPC) is your chance to take a sneak peek at the proposed content ahead of publication, giving you the chance to put forward your views to the technical committee responsible for BS 7671 (JPEL/64).

How do I leave my comments?

If you feel that you have something to contribute to the draft BS7671 standard, you will need to visit the BSI webpage for the DPC and sign up with your email address to access the document.

Here you will be able to make your comments to each Regulation. You can leave and return to it at any time to make any changes, as long as you have saved your comments as you go, and have not yet submitted them. Once you have submitted them they cannot be amended or retracted. Only comments accompanied by a proposal for improvement/change can only be considered.

Once you are happy with your comments you can then submit them, ready for discussion by JPEL/64.

What happens next?

You have until 23rd August 2017 to submit your comments, after which time the DPC period closes and no more comments will be accepted. The relevant JPEL/64 sub-committees will then discuss all of the submitted comments over the ensuing months, making their final decisions before BS 7671:2018 is published, which is expected to be in July 2018 and installations will need to comply by January 2019.

The JPEL/64 sub-committees are:

JPEL/64/A – Verification

JPEL/64/B – Thermal Effects

JPEL/64/C – Shock Protection

JPEL/64/D – External Influences

A snap shot of changes

There are many changes contained in the DPC for BS7671.20:2018, which include sections that have been redrafted, completely revised sections, chapters and regulations, plus a new proposed energy efficiency section (Part 8).

Section 534 Devices for protection against overvoltage – This section has been completely revised. The most significant technical change refers to the selection requirements for the voltage protection level.

Chapter 53 Protection, isolation, switching, control and monitoring - This Chapter has been completely revised and deals with general requirements for isolation, switching, control and monitoring.

Part 6 Inspection and testing - This Part has been completely restructured with many chapters being moved to other more appropriate chapters.

Chapter 42 Protection against thermal effects – This section refers to a new Regulation 421.7 which has been introduced for the installation of arc fault detection devices (AFDDs) to mitigate the risk of fire in final circuits of a fixed installation due to the effect of arc fault currents.

Changes to Section 722 – Electric vehicle charging installations - This Section contains a significant change to Regulation 722.411.4.1 concerning the use of a PME supply, plus changes have been made to requirements for external influences, RCDs, socket-outlets and connectors.

New section – Part 8 Energy efficiency - The new Part 8 covers several energy efficient areas, such as lighting, metering, cable losses, transformer losses, power-factor correction, and harmonics.

What should you do if you don’t already have the C&G 2382 17th Edition qualification?

If you do not have the C&G 2382 qualification then you should still consider taking the 17th Edition exam. The new 18th Edition won’t come into effect until the 1 January 2019, which is a long time to operate without this formal qualification which is required to demonstrate competency on site. The C&G 2382-15 17th Edition course will cost you £470.00 which we believe is a relatively small investment to ensure that you are correctly qualified.

Key dates for the diary:

23 August 2017 – DPC closes

01 July 2018 – expected publish date for BS 7671:2018

01 January 2019 – BS7671:2018 is expected to come into effect

If you want to keep up to date on 18th edition developments please bookmark our 18th Edition Course page and keep checking for updates.

Categories: 18th edition wiring regulations, bs7671:2018

What is Lot 20 and how does it affect electricians?

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 5th July 2017


Lot 20 is a new Ecodesign legislation from the EU which affects electric space heating. This new legislation from the EU 2015/1188 is set to bring about the biggest shake up in electric space heating to-date.

From January 2018, all local space heaters manufactured for sale in the EU, which use electricity, gaseous or liquid fuels, will have to comply with a minimum efficiency standard under Lot 20 of the Energy Efficiency Directive. This includes electric radiators/panel heaters, electric and gas fires and electric underfloor heating.

The aim is to ensure that inefficient technologies are replaced with energy efficient products that aim to reduce the amount of energy used in our homes, thus helping to achieve our overall carbon reduction targets. This will be achieved by regulating the operation of local space heaters through the use of intelligent controls.

Manufacturers will be required to incorporate functions within their products, which may include temperature controls with day/week timers, presence detection, adaptive start control and distance control functions and open window detection, making products more sophisticated.

Heaters that fail to comply with the new legislation will not be able to be supplied or installed in EU member states, therefore, it is essential that all installers understand the implications of this new legislation.

This new legislation will mean that more energy efficient products will enter the market, operated via intelligent controls. The knock-on effect of this will mean that manufacturers of controllers and/or the components that make up these control systems will also need to increase the efficiency of their products.

The challenge for manufacturers of space heating products will be that the regulation also stipulates that these energy targets should be achieved without an increase in the purchasing and operating costs of the products.

What does it mean to the installer?

From 1st January 2018 installers of electric space heaters will need to ensure that the products they install comply with Lot 20. So, don’t be caught out by suppliers selling off their old stock at discounted prices!

The key to driving the efficiency of local space heaters is through the use of intelligent controls. Installers will be in a good position to specify the latest energy efficient products, and by using smart technologies that can help reduce running costs will give their customers confidence that they have a better quality product.

It will also present an opportunity for installers to re-engage with previous customers to inform them of the new legislation, giving them an opportunity to upgrade to the latest compliant products.


The EU is committed to achieving a 20 per cent energy saving by 2020 and to achieve this all member states, which include those that intend to leave, must continue to drive energy efficiency at all stages of the supply chain, from production to final consumption.

The EU commission recognises that local space heating represents a high proportion of energy usage and, therefore, is a key area for carbon emission reductions. This new legislation is designed to reduce energy consumption and for electric space heaters this will be achieved by only permitting their use when operated by advanced controls, improving their effective use and minimising wasted energy.

Categories: lot 20, eu 2015/1188, electric space heaters

10 Second Survey Results: How often should you have your test meter calibrated?

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 22nd June 2017

The results are in!

We recently ran a 10 Second Survey to find out how often you think your test meter equipment should be calibrated. To ensure traceability to national standards, all testing equipment needs to be tested on a regular basis, but we wanted to see just how often you think that should be.

So, here are the results:


We were also interested to find out how long it has been since you last had your test meter calibrated: 



As you can see from the results above the majority (82.19%) agree that meter equipment calibration should be completed yearly. However, the frequency of testing can depend on a number of factors, for instance, your scheme provider may require you to have a certificate to prove your meter equipment readings are accurate, plus it could be a requirement of a contract you are working on.


For those who are concerned about the accuracy of their test meters, investing in a CalCard, which is approved by the NICEIC and NAPIT, is a great way help regularly check the accuracy of multi-functional test instruments. This is useful if you are working on electrical equipment and installations where inspecting and testing is performed on a regular basis.

It is recommended that you should use your CalCard weekly, with the results being recorded to ensure you have continuing accurate results. However, even though the Calcard has been highly recommended by electrical bodies, it will only confirm resistances in respect of low ohms reading testing and insulation resistance testing, therefore, full calibration tests will still need to be conducted annually.

Prize Draw Winner

Many thanks to everyone who took time to complete the survey. All participants were automatically entered into a free prize draw to win a CalCard worth £30 and one lucky winner was picked at random and has today been presented with his prize.

Categories: meter calibration

City & Guilds 2391 Inspection and Testing Course is back!

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 21st June 2017

In 2012 the C&G 2391 was withdrawn and replaced with a two part qualification, the 2394 Initial Verification and the 2395 Periodic Inspection. However, from July 2017 the 2391 is being resurrected in the form of three different course options, the 2391-50 Level 3 Award in Initial Verification, the 2391-51 Level 3 Award in Periodic Inspection and the 2391-52 Level 3 Award in Inspection and Testing, which will effectively match the old 2391, 2394 and 2395.

Why has this qualification changed from 2394/5?

Since their introduction, the 2394 and 2395 qualifications have had a good reputation as high quality evidence of advanced electrical verification, inspection and testing skills. However, many believe that the examination method has been neither efficient nor easy, with quarterly written exams and hard-to-schedule resits making it time-consuming and costly for examination centres and their students.

Over the past ten years, many industry organisations have developed training schemes aimed at domestic or commercial markets and this in turn led to a difference in the level of assessing competence. The 2394/5 course has changed to the 2391 to meet the industry specified needs for an inspector working in the current electrotechnical environment, and has been re-introduced to align all industry qualifications for inspection and testing wiring systems to BS 7671.

Why have City & Guilds done this?

City & Guilds have said that these changes have been made for a number of reasons, but mainly because the industry understands the 2391, and that these new qualifications reflect what the industry competent persons schemes are accepting. They also say that without the existing written paper they will be able to provide faster results at a lower cost.

If you were feeling a little skeptical you might believe that City & Guilds have aligned the 2391 to compete with the likes of EAL. The new 2391 follows the same structure of equivalent EAL qualifications, who scrapped their written exam in favour of a multi choice open book exam. This is something I am sure - students will be happy about. However unlike the EAL equivalent the 2391 does have a written assignment which is completed in a supervised setting.

Who should take the City & Guilds 2391?

The C&G 2391 is aimed at practicing electricians who wish to gain qualifications in Periodic Inspection, Testing and Reporting, as well as Initial Verification of new systems.

The new course structure caters for persons from all aspects of the industry recognising previous skills and qualifications. The three routes available are:

2391-50: Initial Verification. This qualification is suitable for domestic installers who only verify new works such as their own installations.

2391-51: Periodic Inspection: This qualification is suitable for those who have gained a qualification in Initial Verification and have experience in Periodic Inspection. This is particularly aimed at electricians who have completed an apprenticeship after 2015 and have recognised skills in Initial Verification.

2391-52: Combined Inspection and Testing: This qualification is suitable for practicing electricians who carry out both Initial Verification and Periodic Inspection and Testing. At present we only offer the combined course.

Whichever assessment route you choose, the course will cover the specific methods of inspecting and testing all types of installations, whether single or three-phase, to the current requirements of BS 7671. It covers the inspection and testing techniques as given in IET Guidance Note 3 and how to professionally complete Certification and Reports.

The examinations are open book, multiple-choice, on-line assessments which have the advantage of providing almost immediate results. The practical assessments are carried out in-house just after your examinations.

Depending on the route taken, the examinations and assessments are:

2391-50- 40 item on-line, open book, 80 minutes, multiple choice AND a 2.5-hour practical assessment.

2391-51- 40 item on-line, open book, 80 minutes, multiple choice AND a 2.5-hour practical assessment.

2391-52- 60 item on-line, open book two-hour, multiple choice AND a 2.5-hour practical assessment.

During the course, you will also have to complete a short written, open book test covering health and safety and documentation used for the inspection process.

Note: It is essential you have a good understanding of BS 7671: IET Wiring Regs.

Worth Knowing: 2391-50 and 51 OR 2391-52 is currently required in order to gain your JIB grading as an approved electrician so save time and money with our combined course.

What happens if I already have 2394, 2395 or both?

Not a problem. If you have 2394 Level 3 qualification and want to gain full recognition as an inspector, you need to take 2391-51.

If you have 2394 and 2395 Level 3 qualifications, these are still recognised if you wish to register with the JIB, but don’t leave it too long otherwise you may be asked to prove you are still up-to-date in an ever-changing industry.

What if I’m currently studying the 2394/5?

Registrations for the 2394/5 will close at the end of August 2017, however, students will have until August 2018 to complete their qualifications and still receive their certificates. There is no need to be worried as these qualifications will continue to be recognised by employers and the industry.

What are the entry requirements?

For any 2391 option, you must be over 18 and be up-to-date with industry requirements. You should be working in the electrical industry and involved with the inspection and testing process. If you have limited experience, you may wish to consider taking the Level 2 Fundamental Inspection and Testing qualification 2392.

Is this as difficult as previous testing qualifications?

Like any assessment, it assesses your ability to do the job. If you can inspect and test and understand why and how, the exams and assessments shouldn’t be too hard. We pride ourselves on our pass rates and we know our training will give you the right knowledge and practical training needed to pass.

What does this course allow me to do?

The course gives you the confidence to competently carry out Initial Verification and Periodic Inspection and Testing. It also gives you the certification needed to become JIB Approved, as well as making membership with one of the Industry Certification Schemes an easier process. This course also gives you the knowledge and understanding needed to compile professionally detailed reports on the condition of electrical installations.

Here at Trade Skills 4U we offer the 2391-52 Inspection and Testing course, which you can book on-line using our course page, alternatively if you would like to speak to a course adviser please call 01293 529777 or 0800 856448.

Categories: city & guilds 2391, c&g 2391, city & guilds 2394/5 c&g 2394/5

‘How Quick Can You Strip’ Contractor Challenge at CEF Live – 8th and 9th June

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 7th June 2017

CEF, supplier of electrical products and services, are hosting their 2nd CEF Live event at the NEC, Birmingham on the 8th and 9th June 2017 for their contractor customers.

During the event, Prysmian Group a world leader in the industry of high-technology cables and systems for energy and telecommunications, will be there to promote its standard cable, as used by every day contractors and to demonstrate its easy stripping characteristics.

Win a prize!

As part of a ‘Skills Challenge’, which will take place on both days of the event, Prysmian will be running a competition where contractors are invited to carry out a typical procedure that involves cable stripping, for example wiring a socket.

How are Trade Skills 4U involved?

Prysmian contacted us to ask if we would like to get involved in the challenge, as they wanted an electrical representative on hand to ensure that best practice in terms of technique and tools are used during the challenge, and also to ensure the appropriate health and safety precautions are adhered to.

Of course we were delighted to support the event, and agreed that Mark Longley one of our experienced tutors will be there and on hand to oversee the challenge. Mark will demonstrate the correct technique for the challenge and will be timed while carrying out the procedure, so that competition entrants have a time to beat.

Each entrant will then be timed and the results will be posted on a 'Top Gear' style leader board, with prizes being given to the winners with the fastest times.

Mark said, “I’ll be setting the benchmark for the time to beat, so no pressure there! I’m really looking forward to the challenge, it’ll be interesting to see the different techniques used and who’s going to be the fastest. There are some great prizes to be won too, so make sure you come along to Stand 37 and have a go.”

Reasons to attend

With over 45 leading suppliers already confirmed, the event is set to be even bigger than last year. By attending the event you will get to meet industry leading brands, see the latest products and technology, attend knowledge seminars with a preview to the 18th edition regulations, get involved in skills challenges, find out about apprenticeships and grab some on-the-day discounts and special offers.

Registration is free, go to www.ceflive.co.uk/ to register.

If you are interested in electrician’s courses please visit our Course Finder page.

Categories: electrician, electrical cable, cef live event 2017, electrical contractor

Charitable Support for Electricians of Tomorrow (EIC)

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 1st June 2017

Written by Tessa Ogle, Managing Director of the Electrical Industries Charity

The Electrical Industries Charity offers four workplace programmes that give the industry access to financial grants and a comprehensive range of free and confidential services, which include the Employee and Family Assistance Programme, Apprenticeship Support Programme, Pension Support Programme and the Practical Participation Programme.

We asked our friends at the Electrical Industries Charity if they would like to write a blog for us, which explains the services they offer to young people in the industry - which you can read below.


More support for stars of tomorrow 

Every so often no matter how old or young you are we all need a support network to help us to overcome the challenges at hand when we are trying to reach our goals. But some talented young people in our industry do not have that essential support which they need to create a brighter future for themselves.

Apprentice Support Programme

The Electrical Industries Charity recognises the importance of an essential support network for the young stars of tomorrow and therefore, launched the Apprentice Support Programme to help the apprentices to get the right skills and support to create a career they deserve. With the Apprentice Support Programme, young people in the electrical industry have a unique opportunity to earn and learn while gaining invaluable training and life skills.

The Apprentice Support Programme provides support for those who are unable to pursue their career due to unforeseen circumstances in their lives, such as financial burden, illness or having to care for a family member.

The right level of support

The Programme gives young talent the right level of support with many issues including financial, emotional, health and family factors. The support services that the Charity offers include career services, career development and transition assistance, debt advice, financial assistance, legal advice, apprentice scholarships and bursary scheme, financial grants and assistance, and support for carers.

Jack’s story

One of the recent examples where the Apprentice Support Programme gave hope to a young apprentice is Jack Terrins story. Jack is in his first year of his apprenticeship and lives with his mum Fiona who is recovering from breast cancer, having undergone a lumpectomy and chemotherapy. Fiona’s treatment has been very debilitating and because of the type of cancer she has, the next five years are crucial. As a result, Fiona has now taken retirement from work due to ill-health.

At the age of 21, Jack now has a role caring for his mum. In the past two years he helped his mum on her cancer journey, and although there are a lot of cancer charities and nurses who were willing to provide emotional support, there was no financial assistance available to help Jack and his mum to pay the household bills when his mum was no longer working.

Although Fiona now receives a pension, the only salary coming into the household is Jack’s, which has to be used to pay not only for household bills but also the insurance and equipment which he will need to complete his apprenticeship.

Jack has applied for and been granted the Electrical Industries Charity’s first Apprenticeship Bursary which will allow him to pursue his career while also helping him to care for his ill mum.

Jack’s story is one of many examples that outline the difficulties that the future stars are facing to reach their goal. With a looming skills shortage in our industry more needs to be done to support the new talent coming into the sector.

The Charity understands that if an apprentice is going through a rough patch at home it puts their work performance at risk. They, therefore, need support to allow progression, and achieve a lifetime of productive, satisfying work. The Apprentice Support Programme was, therefore, set up for young future stars like Jack because the Charity wants to ensure that the young apprentices of the electrical industry get the crucial support they need in reaching their full potential and creating a brighter future for themselves.

If you would like to find out more about the fantastic services this charity offers, please visit www.electricalcharity.org or email business@electricalcharity.org

Categories: apprenticeships, electrical industries charity

Kelly Vincent - Case Study

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 25th May 2017



Name: Kelly Vincent

Company: Kelly Electrics, Female Electricians Ltd

Location: London

Courses: City & Guilds 2399 Solar PV Full-8 and previously City & Guilds 2330 L2&3



We caught up with Kelly to ask her why she chose to take the 2399 Solar PV Full-8 course and to find out what made her decide to become an electrician.

Reason for Training?

I worked within the NHS in an administrative role for almost 10 years and although I enjoyed it I didn’t feel like I was being challenged enough. I moved through various different NHS Trusts and Services, but I knew I didn’t want to be stuck inside an office everyday anymore and I wanted to learn something new. I wanted a job where I could choose my hours but still earn good money, so when I spoke to my parents my dad, being a building contractor with a successful business suggested electrics or plumbing. I looked into it and thought the technical side of being an electrician appealed to me more than plumbing, so I did some research online and TradeSkills4U stood out with the best reviews. I signed up to the 2330 Level 2 & 3, which meant I would be out of work for 9 months, but it was on a 2 week on 2 week basis which allowed me to do some temp work in between. That was 8 years ago, and even though you now offer shorter courses for Domestic Installers, which would have been perfect for me, having done the full 2330 (now replaced by the 2365 Diploma) I feel I have a more rounded and thorough knowledge than some of the students doing the Domestic Installer course, so am pleased I did it.

How long have you been working in the electrical industry?

When I first qualified I wanted to get a trainee job with a company so I could learn the practical knowledge and build my confidence. I applied to British Gas, local electrical firms and big electrical companies, but no one was employing anyone at the time. I almost gave up when I got a call from a new company looking for trainees to work alongside their senior electricians. It was fate, because the job was local, the hours where perfect, and the person I was teamed up with was a brilliant teacher. 6 years later I’m confident and competent and running my own business and training other females.

Tell us about your business and the staff you employ?

I have two full-time female electricians working for me, and a long standing part-time female, who is currently in her last year at university studying Architecture. When I first became self-employed and turning up for jobs, the feedback from my clients was that they opted for me not only because of my reputation and reviews, but also because I was a female. I didn’t know if people would take me seriously being a female tradesperson, but the response has been amazing. Since then I have tried to promote and encourage women to get into the construction industry and provide opportunities for them for training.

Why did you decide to take the 2399 Solar PV course and how will this help your business?

I’ve been a domestic and light commercial electrician for 7 years, and although site work has never appealed to me I have always been interested in renewable energy. Elly joined our team almost two years ago now and she has a background in solar power and is extremely passionate about green technology. My husband and I recently bought a house and have been renovating it, I thought it was the perfect time for Elly and I to get qualified in Solar PV installation and set up a solar panel installation on the property, which we could use for our MCS installer assessment.

What other courses have you studied with Trade Skills 4U and how did these help you?

In 2009 I booked myself onto the 2330 Level 2 & 3 (now replaced by the 2365 Diploma). I was nervous driving into the training centre, and as I made my way to the classroom I could feel myself shaking and I was on the verge of walking back to my car. But when I saw the other students, looking around as unsure as I was, and the big old smile on the tutors face beckoning me in and welcoming everyone, I took a seat and very quickly felt at ease. The other students where all very friendly and supportive, interested in my choice of career change, and learning a new skill with tutors that actually care about what they’re teaching, it gave me the confidence I needed to continue my journey.

Tell us about your training experience with Trade Skills 4U?

I really enjoyed the course as a whole, the teachers were all very knowledgeable and happy to give further explanations if you didn’t understand anything. The environment was warm and peaceful, we were able to concentrate when we needed to and test conditions were all very relaxed and calming. The workshops were as realistic as they could be for a training centre, and the rooftops for the solar course were fab, although I wish we had got to spend some more time on them.

What are your plans for your business?

We have designed the installation for solar panels at the house we own, and will be installing it in the next couple of months. I’m hoping to arrange for Elly to work with a Solar PV installer working around London on new build properties, so we can gain some solid experience in commercial solar installs and how they differ to domestic ones. It’s early stages yet!

What is the best experience you have had so far in your career?

Training newly qualified women and being able to help them grow in confidence, watching them learn and improve and eventually work unsupervised is very satisfying!

Do you have any advice for other women looking to retrain as an electrician?

Do it! If you’re not shy of hard work, you can dedicate yourself to it, and if you want a job that you can feel satisfied from at the end of every day, then do it. It’s got a perfect mix of technical and physical work, full of problem solving as well as working up a sweat! I’ve never looked back.

What has your experience been like working in a typically male dominated industry?

I’ve had a really positive experience, the men I have worked with onsite have always been very respectful, interested and supportive, and I’ve never had a problem finding work. I have very loyal clients, and have managed to build a good reputation. The feedback from clients has all been really amazing, and I think women have the ability to make an impact and bring a different experience to construction work in people’s home.

What opportunities do you think there are for women working in the electrical industry?

I feel like there could be more promotion and education for girls in schools at an early stage to encourage them into the electrical industry, I don’t’ feel that girls even think of trades as an option when they’re at school. I did find it difficult to find a job as a trainee when I first started, but I have no way of knowing if it was because I was a woman, or if it was because of the recession. I like to think it was because of the recession!

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about, ie any achievements/awards etc

Women in Construction Awards 2014 Finalist

Britain’s Top Tradesman 2014 National Finalist and Highly Commended

BEST Business Women Awards 2015 – Shortlisted and Runner up

We attended a careers event at Preston Manor School in 2014 for the ‘Challenging Perceptions of Women’s Work’ for year 8 students

We wish Kelly the very best of luck for the future and hope her business continues to thrive.

If you are interested in any of the courses mentioned in this post please visit our Course Finder page.

Categories: female electrician, qualifications, case study, employment

10 Second Survey: How often should you have your test meter calibrated?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 18th May 2017

A question that we are often asked, is 'How often should I calibrate my meter equipment?' To ensure traceability to national standards, all testing equipment needs to be tested on a regular basis, but how often should that be?

By taking our 10 second survey you will be entered into a prize draw, and one lucky winner will be presented with a CalCard worth £30. 

The results of the survey will be published in June 2017 and the lucky winner will be notified by email or phone.

Categories: 10 second survey

Want your voice heard in the industry? Join our Focus Group

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 17th May 2017

Small Employer Electrical Focus Group, what is it, why is it needed, what are the benefits?

Register your interest via the form at the end of this post

Small Business Focus Group

Are you a small business working in the electrical sector who feels that your voice isn’t heard when decisions are being made in the industry that affect you? If you are, then read on, as this could be the perfect opportunity for you to get involved in a new venture to get the voice of the small business heard.

What is it?

Our aim is to put together a Focus Group made up of small businesses and trainees working in the electrical industry. We are looking for approximately 10 people to meet once a quarter to represent the employees and employers of small businesses and the self-employed worker in the electrical sector.

The group will be guided by a director from Trade Skills 4U, and its intention is to listen to the opinions of the group, and gather information which can be used to influence future decision making around the electrical industry, ensuring that future training and qualification changes represent what the industry really needs.

We will provide the venue and supply the food and drink. You will also realise some other benefits too (see below)

Why is it needed?

It’s hard to believe that even though the electrical industry comprises of 90% of small businesses, it’s the 10% of larger businesses that have the most influence when decisions are being made regarding the skills needed for the industry, to ensure that the workers are competent. This seems to be unbalanced when you consider that the majority of the larger firms don't actually do the work themselves as they use sub-contractors to carry out an installation.

We believe that the small businesses should have a bigger voice when decisions are made, which is why we are interested in forming this Focus Group. We intend that the group will be in a position to voice its opinions regarding training needs and reactions to specific industry related issues around qualification content and regulatory changes, with the intention that the views of the group will be considered to help influence the decision making and development needs of the sector.

What’s the benefits?

By being part of this Focus Group we will give you the inside track regarding what’s happening in the industry. Plus we will share with you up-to-date information about forthcoming changes to regulations and qualifications . We will also be able to offer some other benefits including:

Having a voice in the future of your industry

Discounted Training

Discounted Course Books

Discounted Test Equipment

Assistance with recruitment of trainees and experience staff

All we would ask from you is to make a commitment to attend a meeting once a quarter, where you will be able to voice your opinions regarding what you think is needed to make the industry better by training more people with the right skills to ensure they are competent in their work and to allow small employers to grow their business. We are keen to hear from:

Self employed electricians (1 man bands)

Company with 2-5 employees

Companies with 5-10 employees

Trainees and Apprentices from the above groups

Why Us?

As the UK’s leading electrical training company, we have been representing the interests of the thousands of customers who have walked through our doors for many years. We have been involved in the development of new qualifications, writing of course books and even provided evidence to Government on behalf of our customers. We already have close ties with accrediting bodies and industry bodies but our voice will be stronger with your help.

If you think this is something you would be interested in, we would love to hear from you. Please call 01293 529777 or email elaine.hammond@tradeskills4u.co.uk, or fill in the form and we will get back to you.


Categories: see focus group