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EIC reaches out to electricians with mental health issues

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 2nd July 2019

Life can have its ups and downs

Mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression can affect all of us at some point in our lives – but it is how we manage it that controls what impact it has on us. Stress can be caused by many factors including issues at work, at home, in relationships or financial difficulties.

Unfortunately, in the electrical sector mental health issues still remain a taboo subject, making it hard for those experiencing problems to open up and feel understood. That is why it is vital that people feel comfortable discussing their mental health and know where they can go for support if needed. This is where the Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) can help.

Mental Health problems can affect anyone at any time

Working in the construction industry, where demanding workloads, long hours and short-term projects are the norm, it’s not surprising that this is a high risk area for workplace stress. Worryingly the numbers show that:

95% of people in the industry lie about how they are feeling, and because of the stigma associated with mental health won’t tell anyone that they are struggling

More than half of people working in the industry have at some time reported experiencing mental health issues

People are suffering in silence often making the situation far worse

Unfortunately, when these issues aren’t handled effectively situations can sadly turn, in some cases ending with tragic consequences.

Suicide rates for construction workers are three times higher than average

It is possible a colleague could be suffering with a mental health issue in silence, and might need your support. The shocking facts are:

In the UK every four minutes someone tries to kill themselves and every hour someone will succeed!

The risk of suicide for those working in the building and construction industry is 1.6 times higher than the national average.

Last year 6,122 deaths in the UK were attributed to suicide, of which 76% were men.

The Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) are there to help

The stigma around mental health can be a silent killer, therefore it is so important that early intervention is key to preventing mental health problems spiralling out of control.

Tessa Ogle, Managing Director of the Electrical Industries Charity, urges the industry not to turn a blind eye to mental health problems that are affecting thousands of people in the electrical sector.

The EIC offer help to anyone associated with the electrical industry such as employees, employers and their families, through a range of free confidential support services.

The wellbeing of workers in the electrical sector is extremely important to the EIC. Their Employee Assistance Program (EAP), funded by the powerLottery is there to help those in the industry access free support services during their most challenging of times. Some of the services they offer include:

confidential and emotional support

telephone counselling

careers advice and assistance

Managing Director, Tessa Ogle says: “Powerlottery is one of the best ways to help the Charity to transform the lives of our colleagues who are in need. For as little as £1 you will be able to make a huge difference in someone’s life while having a chance to win one of 40 cash prizes.”

To date over 21,000 people have signed up to the Charity’s powerLottery to show their support allowing the Charity to continue providing life-changing services to thousands of industry colleagues and their families.

Anant Savani’s story

Every £ spent can help people like Anant to get access to crucial support services in a time of need and help to turn their lives around.

Anant felt that he couldn’t share his feelings of anxiety and depression with his colleagues or his friends and family, and as a result, he became severely depressed and ultimately suicidal. Fortunately he was referred to the EIC by a former colleague, and he is now receiving counselling and ongoing support from the Charity, which will help him to get back on his feet and look forward to a brighter future.

Don’t suffer in silence!

If you or someone you know is suffering with stress, anxiety or mental health problems you may feel overwhelmed and that you have no control over what’s happening. If you need of assistance please don’t hesitate, call the Access Assistance line on 0800 652 1618.

If you would like to find out more about the charity please click here.

Categories: electrical charity, anxiety, depression

Mobile Apps for Electricians – 2019 Survey Results

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 27th June 2019

Over recent years there have been great advancements in digital technology allowing electrical professionals easy access to resources and data via digital Apps.

New mobile Apps are continually being created and updated, designed to help electricians perform jobs more effectively in their day-to-day tasks. These range from electrical calculators, to those that produce electrical certificates, calculate voltage drops and choose cables for electrical installations, plus many more.

When used correctly these Apps can assist with specific skills and knowledge as support to help with the more repetitive hand calculations and time consuming diversions that include referencing code books. We do not recommend however that Apps are used as a sole means.

Of course there are certain jobs that only an experienced electrician can achieve without the help of these Apps, but a few helpful tools and resources along the way are always welcome to make some of the more tedious jobs a little less arduous.

Electrician’s Apps Survey – the results are in!

With the above in mind, we have compiled a list of FREE Electrician’s Apps that we think could be useful, however this list is by no means a definitive. Of the 9 Apps listed we wanted to find out how the electrical professionals that use them rated them and which of these they would recommend.

The findings are now in! Check out the results below in order of rating:

1.  Megger Cable Calc+  (Rated 53.85%)

This App can be used without Internet connection, a major advantage if you’re working anywhere mobile data reception is unavailable. Suitable for Android and iOS devices. It allows electricians to calculate voltage drops and choose cables for electrical installations up to 25Kw. It covers all commonly used types of cable, which include SWA 2, 3 and 4 core PVC, SWA 2, 3 and 4 core XLPE, twin and earth, fire proof and tri-rated.

The App allows the user to choose between the four most commonly used reference methods – B, C, 101 and 102, and data entry is quick and simple, instantly showing the minimum recommended cable size, the calculated voltage drop in volts and as percentage, and the load current.

2.  Electrical Calculations LITE - (Rated 38.46%)

This App has many calculations that can help you in your work that include cable size, calculation of voltage drop, calculation of current, calculation of voltage, calculation of active power, calculation of apparent power, calculation of reactive power, calculation of power factor, calculation of resistance, maximum wire length and much more!

3.  ICertifi - (Rated 38.46%)

BS7671 Electrical Inspection testing and certification on your iPhone/iPad. Electrical certificates with no need to sync with a computer. The App works completely offline and is suitable for ALL scheme providers. It not only produces high quality BS 7671 electrical certificates, it’s an assistant monitoring and checking your test results and calculating data where appropriate making testing accurate and more productive. iCertifi knows if you're completing an EICR, allowing you to turn off test result monitoring so it doesn't bother you when you expect unusual test results/non compliances.

4.  Ohm's Law - (Rated 30.77%)

This simple Ohm’s Law calculator allows the user the ability to calculate the resistance, voltage or current.
 

5.  Megger PAT Testing - (Rated 23.08%)

Designed to simplify Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) by calculating the maximum recommended cable resistance for power cords, extension leads or the total resistance of class I equipment with long power cords. Additional features include: maximum recommended current capacity for the specified cable size. Guidance for appropriate cable sizes for given fuse rating, maximum recommended lead length for the size of cable. In addition the app includes links to Megger.com and MeggerUK YouTube sites for additional product details and downloadable material, or Megger product demonstration videos.

6.  Electrical Safety First - Safe Isolation - (Rated 23.08%)

The Safe Isolation App is a step by step guide using a series of illustrations and simple instructions to enable anyone carrying out work on or near electrical equipment to do so safely. The app also includes links to Electrical Safety First’s series of Best Practice Guides, which provide definitive information and safety guidance on a range of electrical subjects.

7.  KEWPAT Pat Testing - (Rated 15.38%)

Designed to work with SimplyPats - data can be copied over to your PC and imported into SimplyPats Version 7 or SimplyPats Version 7 Manual Plus Edition PAT Testing Software (for Windows OS). Manually log your PAT Testing Results using your iPhone or iPad, and if you own a Kewtech SMARTPAT you can control the PAT Tester via Remote mode using the App.

The Database used by KEWPAT is capable of storing large amounts of PAT Test Data between single (if in-house Testing) or multiple (if PAT Testing as a Contractor) Customers, and is designed to be compatible with the SimplyPats Manual Plus or Downloading Edition software, available separately.

8.  Electrical Tool Kit - (Rated 15.38%)

This is a smart and handy tool for all electricians, technicians, electrical and electronics engineers, students etc. This app is only available for iPhone and is simple to use and smart enough to recalculate circuit values when a user edits any input data.

9.  Time Tracker - Time Sheet - (Rated 7.69%)

Track time spent on the job with this powerful, customizable and easy to use app. This time tracking and reporting application. It will simplify your life and save you money! The latest update includes many customer requested features. It will quickly pay for itself!

Other Apps Suggested Via The Survey

TestGuide

In this app you will find support for the most common measurements (eg. RCD testing and measuring insulation). The app show electricians in short and clear steps what the actions are, what to look at and how to interpret the results. The app has regular updates with measurements.

EasyCert Mobile

This App works with the EasyCert desktop software to record and input all results direct onto your phone to be then imported into your desktop software. The App saves time and effort by not having to write certificates by hand onsite.

Zoho invoice and time tracking

Invoice Software that lets you send professional invoices, automate payment reminders, and accept card payments online, faster than ever!


Please remember!

With all Apps it is important to remember that whilst these may be useful in your day-to-day work you must still know how to make these calculations yourself – and should regularly check these calculations to ensure the Apps are giving you accurate information.

Categories: mobile apps, electricians apps, electrical apps, electricians tools

EV Charging Point Installation – What’s the big deal?

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 29th May 2019

EV charging and grants seminar

This year we introduced a range of seminars designed to help those working in the industry maximise the opportunities out there, and to share information about how EV charging point grants can be accessed and how installers can register with OLEV.

The first EV seminars have now been run, and the feedback so far is that they were engaging and informative. We have provided an outline of the information presented below.

How the funding works

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) is a government initiative which has been introduced to support the early market of electric and ultra-low emission vehicles by introducing a number of grant funding Initiatives.

An electric vehicle is eligible if it appears on the OLEV eligibility list. You can view the full list of eligible vehicles here. Please note that from 1st July 2019, all chargepoints installed under the EV Homecharge Scheme must be smart. We will update you with more info nearer the time.

If you would like to find out more about how these grants work, and who can apply for them please click here. Alternatively, please register to attend one of our seminars (see info below), which aim to demystify how these grants and funding work. There are two schemes available:

EV Homecharge Scheme - EVHS
This scheme is specifically for the domestic home installation market. Its aim is to provide affordable domestic EV chargers with a value of 75% (the grant is capped at a maximum of £500 per charging unit), which is subsidised by the Government Grant. When you complete the work the customer will pay you the balance of the cost and then you apply to OLEV to receive the remainder of the install costs directly.

Eligible expenditure include:

Cost of unit

Electrical components

Civil engineering works

Labour costs (for installation)

Hardware costs

VAT incurred by the customer

Site survey works (when leading to a completed installation)

Workplace Charging Scheme – WCS
This scheme is specifically for the workplace market, but not public areas such as retail parks, unless it is for employee use only. The grant allows businesses to purchase up to 20 EV charging points, at a subsidised cost, with each 2-way charge unit having a £1,000 price reduction (£500 per socket).

With this scheme the business requiring the charging points starts the application process. The chosen installer then surveys the site and confirms whether it is suitable for installations. Once the installation is complete the installer has to complete an online grant redemption via the OLEV portal, after which a grant level is confirmed, and the installer can receive the grant.

Q&A

At the end of the seminars we give attendees an opportunity of ask questions, of which some have been answered below

Q. Do you need to register with each manufacturer to install each type of unit?
A. Yes, each manufacturer requires you to be an approved installer. However, your C&G qualification will be considered proof of your competence as an installer.

Q. How long after submitting the paperwork do you receive the grant / payment?
A. Payments can take up to 6 weeks

Q. What’s the average cost of an install?
A. This varies greatly, however from talking to installers we estimate that as a guide you could earn between £200 to £300 per install. This of course could be higher depending on the complexity of the job.

Q. How much will the new smart points cost?
A. Prices will be published in July, however we will update you on this as soon as we have the information.

Q. Can you claim 2 grants on 1 property?
A. Yes, you can. The grant is obtained on the car rather than the property, though there is a cap of two grants per household.

Q. As an approved installer, can you buy charging points direct from Rolec?
A. Unfortunately not. While Rolec are the manufacturer, you will still need to purchase these from your local wholesaler.

Q. Do you need to buy a Rolec tester to register on the Rolec scheme?
A. Yes you will need a Rolec Charge Check, however any MFT is ok for the usual Inspection and Testing.

How to get registered to draw down the funding

Only authorised installers are able to claim the grant on behalf of the domestic customer. When you pass any of our EV courses you will be able to register on Rolec’s approved installer’s s scheme where your details will then appear on their national database of installers. Once approved by Rolec you will then receive an OLEV Scheme Number which is essential to draw down any funding.

How do I get qualified?

To take advantage of the opportunities available in this high growth industry, now is a great time to get yourself qualified to become a specialist and Certified EV Charging Point Installer.

We offer three EV Charging Point training courses, which we run in partnership with Rolec. These include :

C&G 2919-01 Electric Car / Vehicle Charging Point Installers Course - A 2 day course designed for fully qualified electricians and installers. The course is intended for those looking to enhance their current skillset to allow them to install domestic, commercial and ‘on street’ vehicle charging points.

C&G 2919-02 Domestic EV Charging Point Installers Course – A 4 day course designed for Domestic Installers wishing to upgrade their knowledge and learn how to install, fault find and inspect and test domestic car charging points.

Blue: Domestic EV Car Charging Point Installers Package - A 22 day course designed for those new to the industry, or in a similar trade, who wish to carry out both domestic installations and offer a standalone domestic car charging point installation service. The new 18th Edition course is also included in this package.

Creating an extra revenue stream

Taking into account the increasing demand, we believe that now is the best time to get qualified in this exciting sector. The figures suggest this service is going to be in high demand, so arming yourself with this additional skill can future proof your earning potential, making it a great investment in your business.

It’s estimated that by 2030 50% of vehicles produced will be either electric or plug-in hybrid. Again this is great news for anyone looking to add EV charging point installation as an additional skill to boost their revenue stream

Categories: ev charging points, ev, electricians, olev, ev seminar, ev installer, electric vehicle, ev grants

More electricians needed to satisfy new technology skills demand

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 2nd May 2019

The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) co-funded by the National Electrotechnical Training (NET) have recently released the findings of the 2019 Labour Market Intelligence report. The report gives an overview of the electrotechnical sector and the skills required to work in the sector at present and in the future.

TESP, a not-for-profit industry partnership, was put together by the Joint Industry Board (JIB), ECA, National Electrotechnical Training (NET), Unite the Union and SELECT. The partnership was created to support electrotechnical employers in order to develop and drive the industry’s skills agenda.

Concerns expressed about bridging the skills gap

The research, undertaken by Pye Tait Consulting, expressed concerns about the sectors ability to attract enough high quality new entrants into the industry to bridge the skills gap. Approximately 450 electrotechnical organisations with 19,000 employees were contacted and their findings suggest the UK will need an additional 8,500 to 10,000 electricians and 4,000 to 5,000 new apprentices over the next five years to satisfy forecasted growth.

The predicted skills increase in the sector is being driven by future and emerging technologies such as SMART technology, Wi-Fi and EV technology, as well as changes to regulations (18th edition) and public policy in areas such as fire safety and energy efficiency.

Employers believe that skilled electricians will need to do additional specialist training to evolve their knowledge and skills in-line with these new technologies. However, the following core technical skills are still perceived to be of the highest need across the sector:

Electrical installation

Electrical maintenance and repairs

Risk management and health and safety

Those Employers that were interviewed said that more must to be done to address the need for professional development of existing workers but to also encourage more electricians into the industry. Currently there are insufficient numbers of apprentices being recruited each year to meet the projected demands and even if an additional 5,000 new apprentices qualified by 2023 there would still be a skills shortfall by as many as 7,500 to 10,000 electricians.

Employers believe better recruitment can be achieved through increased industry engagement with schools and colleges and through other routes into the industry, for example those looking for a career change.

An ageing workforce and difficulties recruiting younger people puts further pressure on the sector

At present the majority of the UK’s workforce is between the age of 25 and 49 with only 15% being under 25 in England and Wales and 24% in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

An industry action plan is now in development by TESP to address the issues and recommendations raised in the report. Activity has already started to forge closer ties between industry and schools and colleges as well as activities promoting industry-recognised qualifications and the development of new careers resources. The action plan will also address how to better support small and micro businesses in the industry, as well as sole traders.

Ruth Devine, chair of TESP and managing director of SJD Electrical, said: “The TESP survey – the first of its kind in over a decade – offers not only a useful snapshot of where the electrotechnical industry and its skills-base are now but also a vital insight into the scale of the challenges we face in the immediate future. The organisations which form TESP all have a crucial part to play in shaping and coordinating the industry’s response to these challenges, and the priorities for action defined in the survey report represent an important first step. Future success will, however, also hinge on the active participation and support of other stakeholders, including Government departments and agencies, clients, training providers, other sector bodies and of course individual businesses – especially the small and micro businesses who make up our industry’s core.”

The report, which is the first in the last 10 years, provides in-depth analysis of the skills needed in the electrotechnical sector. It reinforces our belief that now, more than ever, is a great time to train in this exciting industry to carve out a career which has plenty of opportunities available to those that want to learn.

If you are interested in finding out about the courses we offer please visit our course finder page our simply view all our electrical courses. Alternatively please call to speak to a Course Adviser on 0800 856 4448, who will be happy to help.

Categories: electricians, labour market intelligence report, technology skills demand, jib, skills gap, tesp

What is the 18th Edition and why is it important?

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 2nd May 2019

The 18th Edition is the term commonly used in the industry when referring to the latest British Standards BS 7671:2018 Requirements for Electrical Installations, IET Wiring Regulations.

You may also hear it referred to as:

Wiring Regs

The Regs

18th Edition wiring regs

BS 7671

What is the 18th Edition?

The IET Wiring Regulations is a British standard for the installation of electrical wiring and is considered to be one of the most important documents for electricians in the UK. The regulations apply to the design, erection and verification of electrical installations, plus additions and alterations to existing installations. As such the Wiring Regulations is an essential publication for all professionals working in the electrotechnical engineering services industry.

The 18th Edition Wiring Regulations (BS 7671:2018), written by the IET (The Institution of Engineering and Technology) and the Standards Policy and Strategy Committee, was published in July 2018, and came into effect in January 2019. This replaces the 17th Edition, which was first published in 2008 and updated in 2015, and includes changes such as new and revised regulations, new chapters and restructured sections.

You might be surprised to hear that the first document was published in 1882, and has since been updated on a regular basis to reflect new developments and best practice.

You might also be surprised to learn that the BS 7671 isn’t a legal document in itself. It does, however, contain the guidelines and processes by which all electrical installations must adhere in order to comply with the legal requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations. Therefore, it is treated in a similar way and is widely recognised in the industry as an authority.

Who needs the 18th Edition?

If you work in electrical installation you will need to make sure that you are designing and installing to the latest regulations to ensure the protection of persons, livestock and property, as well as the proper function of electrical installations.

Why do I need to know about the 18th Edition?

If you work on electrical installations in the UK then you need to know about the BS 7671 as this applies to the wiring installation you will be working on.

If you don’t have the 18th Edition, or don’t know what the regulations include, your installations may not meet the current standard, which could mean that your installations are unsafe or inefficient.

The IET Wiring Regulations is an extremely detailed book (referred to by some as the ‘big blue book’). It is accepted that most people won’t memorise it from front to back, and that’s Ok as no one would expect this. However, what you are required to be is fully aware of its contents and to understand how to reference them and relate them to specific situations.

What you will need, if you want to work in this industry is the 18th Edition qualification. You will also find that when looking to register as a domestic installer on a competent persons scheme, you will need to prove you are up-to-date with the latest qualification even if you have previously completed a Level 3 NVQ. You will also find that when looking to register with the new ECS Check System it is a requirement that you hold this qualification.

If you don’t have this qualification you may find it hard to secure work with large companies and agencies, as they may require that electricians working for them have this qualification as a minimum.

Please be aware that by holding the 18th edition qualification does not mean you are qualified to work as an electrician.

What are the key changes in the 18th Edition?

Examples of some of the significant changes in the 18th Edition are listed below:

Protection against electric shock – Chapter 41 (Section 411 contains a number of significant changes)

Metallic pipes entering the building

The maximum disconnection times for some final circuits.

Regulation 411.3.3 has been revised and now applies to socket-outlets with a rated current not exceeding 32A.

A new Regulation 411.3.4 requires that, within domestic (household) premises, additional protection by an RCD shall be provided for AC final circuits supplying luminaires.

Protection against thermal effects - Chapter 42
A new Regulation 421.1.7 has been introduced recommending the installation of Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDDs) to mitigate the risk of fire in AC final circuits of a fixed installation due to the effects of arc fault currents.

Selection and erection of wiring systems - Chapter 52
This is a significant change. Regulation 521.10.202 requires cables to be adequately supported against their premature collapse in the event of a fire and applies throughout the installation, not just in escape routes as previously.

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

Energy efficiency – Appendix 17
This is a new appendix that provides recommendations for the design and erection of electrical installations.

What course options are available?

Here at TS4U we offer a full 3 day full 18th Edition course as well as 1 day update options for those who have recently achieved their 17th Edition, 3rd amendment. We also offer weekend options and online courses. You can view the full list of our 18th Edition course options on this page.

The 18th Edition course is essential for all electricians working in the UK and training is highly recommended to ensure that all installers have a thorough understanding of the new regulations. The 18th Edition is also one of the most recognised qualifications by employers.

Holding this qualification could be an indication of a person’s commitment to ensuring good practice within the industry.

This course isn’t only appropriate for practicing electricians and domestic installers, it’s also popular with allied professionals, such as electrical engineers, contracts managers, consultants, designers, surveyors. It is also popular with those working in other related trades who need to update and enhance their understanding of the IET Wiring Regulations.

If you are interested in finding out about the other courses we offer please visit our course finder page, alternatively please speak to a Course Adviser on 0800 856 4448, who will be happy to help.

Categories: wiring regs, wiring regulations, 18th edition, bs 7671, iet wiring regulations

Regular Electrical Safety Checks for Private Landlords Coming Next Year

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 25th April 2019

On the 29th January 2019 the Government announced its plans to introduce new electrical safety regulations for private rental properties in England. We expect the changes to come into effect next year and this will lead to increased demand for periodic inspections of privately rented properties.

Currently the private rental sector (PRS) is the second largest tenure in England, and houses 4.7 million households, which represents 20% of all households.

In 2018 a consultation exercise on electrical safety in the PRS was held. Views and comments were invited on the recommendations of the Electrical Safety Standards Working Group, which recommended introducing five yearly mandatory electrical installation checks for private rented properties. Other recommendations were that of introducing a new competent person scheme.

The ‘Electrical safety in the private rented sector report’ sets out the Government response to the consultation which received 582 responses from a range of organisations and individuals across the sector. These included electricians (149), letting agents, housing charities, local authorities, as well as individual landlords (231), tenants and the fire and rescue service.

Of those that responded:

73% agreed that landlords should be required by law to arrange safety checks of the electrical installations in their PRS properties

57% of respondents agreed that mandatory electrical installation checks should take place at least every five years

ECR report requirements - 64% agreed that legislative requirements should be phased in, beginning with new tenancies, followed by existing tenancies

49% disagreed that a private rented sector electrical testing competent person scheme should be set up, separate from the existing Building Regulations competent person scheme

The Government has agreed that in order to help landlords who operate in both the UK and Scotland the new guidance will be broadly in line with existing regulations that have been in force in Scotland since 1st December 2015.

Current safety requirements

Currently it is not mandatory for landlords to provide an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) every five years. The latest wiring regulations state that Landlords should keep the electrics in their properties in good working order to ensure they are safe. However, if the property is a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) then Landlords are required by law to arrange a periodic inspection every five years.

The new regulations

The Government is committed to the safety of tenants and will be making it mandatory that an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is made every five years. For new and fully rewired properties, an Electrical Installation Certificate will be accepted in place of an EICR as long as the date of the next inspection indicated on the certificate has not elapsed.

A new enforcement date has not been set as yet, however, the report states that legislative requirements will be introduced as soon as Parliamentary time allows, ensuring industry is given at least 6 months to become familiar with the new duty before it comes into force.

A transitional period will apply in the first two years. The new duty will only apply to all new private tenancies in the first year, extended to all existing private tenancies in the second year.

Properties with an existing Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) will not be required to replace it for 5 years from its date.

Landlords will also be legally required to ensure that the inspectors they hire to carry out safety inspections have the necessary competence and qualifications to do so. New guidelines will be published setting out the minimum level of competence and qualifications necessary for those carrying out these inspections.

Tough penalties for landlords who fail

The Government has warned that there could be tough financial penalties for landlords who fail to comply with the new requirements, which may also extend to include other sanctions. These could include suspending a landlord’s right to serve a section 21 notice where they have failed to provide an electrical safety report at the start of the tenancy or failed to comply with the requirement for mandatory five yearly electrical checks.

Get ready!

It is expected that C&G 2391-52 Inspection and Testing qualification will be industry requirement for electricians who wish to carry out these reports.

With this in mind, now more than ever, is the perfect time for practicing electricians to get themselves qualified to ensure they are ready to respond to the growing needs of Landlords.

Categories: private rental sector, electrical safety, electrical installation condition report, eicr, prs

Electricians Guide To Going Self-Employed

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 18th March 2019

If you’re thinking about becoming a self-employed electrician, once you have completed your training, we would always recommend working with an experienced electrician first. This will allow you to gain confidence and experience before going it alone. You can do this by working as an electricians mate, working for an electrical contracting firm, or you may have completed an apprenticeship.

Once you feel confident that you have gained enough experience and are competent to go it alone, you may now be ready to take the next step.

Things to consider before going self-employed

Going self-employed effectively means that you are setting up a business. However, before you go much further there are certain things you will want to consider, which include:

1.  How will I acquire new customers?

2.  How would I cope during quiet periods of no or little income?

3.  Do I have enough money to get set up? – ie. buying new tools and a van/car

4.  Can I get by without having the benefits of paid holiday, sick pay and pensions contributions?

5.  Am I OK working on my own?

6.  Can I manage my cashflow, record keeping and completing tax returns?

7.  What insurances do I need?

8.  Do I need to join a competent person scheme?

What are the advantages of being self-employed?

There are plenty of advantages to being self-employed and these include:

Being your own boss – you get to have a more varied work load as you get to choose the type of work you take on.

Being able to work with more flexibility – you will have more control over the hours you work, which will allow you to arrange your day around any other commitments you may have.

Being able to achieve a much higher income - if you put in the hard work you will be able to earn more. This is mainly because you can charge  hourly or day rates, which can to be higher than some standard salaries. Day rates can vary depending on your experience and region but range from approx. £140 - £350 per day.

Offset your tax liability – there are certain costs that you are able to deduct from income when calculating your tax liability, eg. your equipment/tools, mileage, stationery, etc. To find out more click here

What are the disadvantages of being self-employed?

Of course there will always be some disadvantages to going self-employed and these include:

Start up costs – you will need to have in place some money to get you started as you will most likely need to buy new tools, a van/car, insurances etc.

Finding customers – this can be challenging to start, and you will need to find ways to advertise your services to get noticed!

Income – your income will no longer be consistent. You will need to ensure you can keep up with any bills, loans, mortgages, rents etc. You will also need to bear in mind that during times when you are off work, due to sickness or holiday, you won’t be getting paid.

Admin – when you work for yourself you will be responsible for admin side of your business, ie, scheduling in work, quoting, invoicing, insurance, etc. You will have to ensure that you are complying with regulations.

Sole Trader or Limited Company?

Once you have decided to go self-employed your next choice is whether to start up as sole trader or a limited company.

Sole Trader: An advantage to becoming a sole trader is that it is relatively easy to set up. There are also certain expenses you can subtract from your income when calculating your taxable profit, you can check the government website for more detail, but these include business related travel, business insurances, stock, etc.

Disadvantages are that it could be hard to raise finance as lenders tend to prefer to lend to limited companies. The tax rates aren’t always great especially when you reach a certain level of earning. Another thing to consider is that as a sole trader you are the sole owner of the business and as such have unlimited liability. This means that if your business finds itself in debt then you are personally liable and if things go wrong you could end up losing personal assets.

As a sole trader there are certain things you will need to do:

firstly set up as a sole trader, you can do this via the GOV.UK website

inform HMRC that you are now self-employed as you will now need to pay tax through self-assessment and pay Class 2 and 4 National Insurance contributions. For more info visit Government’s website

arrange your insurances – these could include professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance. If you employ anyone you will also need to consider employers liability insurance

check whether you need to set up a business bank account. You may be able to use your personal account, however having a separate account will help to keep your business and personal finances separate

put in place a process for recording your profits and evidence of your business expenses – this will help when completing your tax return

if you intend to work from home make sure you check your mortgage or tenancy agreement to ensure you’re not contravening any terms and conditions

consider taking out a private pension to ensure you have money put aside for retirement. The government will still contribute into your pension in the form of tax relief

Limited Company: To set up a limited company you must register with Companies House. This is known as ‘incorporation’. A limited company has its own legal identity and as such is separate from its owners and directors. A limited company has the benefit of having limited liability, meaning that if something did go wrong your personal assets aren’t exposed.

Limited companies are also more tax efficient as you pay corporation tax on any profits rather than you paying income tax. You can also claim tax relief on business expenses. There are more allowances and tax deductible costs that can be claimed against as a limited company. For more info click here.

Despite there being more admin there are other benefits:

1.  Once registered your company name is protected

2.  You will have limited liability

3.  Increased tax-efficiency

4.  You can take a yearly dividend

5.  You will have greater borrowing power

6.  Your reputation and credibility among customers should improve

The disadvantages of a limited company are that there is a lot more paper work and legal fees to consider. These include filing a yearly annual return and annual accounts, which you can either do yourself, or hire an accountant to do them for you.

As a limited company there are certain things you will need to do if you’re changing from sole trader:

decide if you are going to be the only director or whether you want others involved

decide on a name for your company

register your business with Companies House – you will need to create your memorandum and articles of association

inform HMRC that your legal structure has changed – this is important as this affects the amount of tax you need to pay

set up a new business bank account specifically for your limited company

let your insurer know that your legal structure has changed

We would recommend that before you make your decision regarding which route to take, you first speak to a financial adviser or accountant to get some sound tax advice.

Categories: sole trader, ltd company, self-employed, electrician

Case Study - Oliver Lawrence

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 5th March 2019

Name: Oliver Lawrence

Course: C&G 2365

What did you do before you became an Electrician

I worked for larger corporate companies supplying products to the construction industry and various trades in various roles such as sales marketing, operations and management, supplying everything from drill bits and power tools to access equipment and even copper pipe!

Why did you choose to retrain as an electrician?

Having worked for larger corporate companies all my working life I wanted to become qualified in a trade with the long term goal of working for myself and creating a more flexible and balanced work life! I believe that having the right qualifications along with varied, comprehensive experience and on going development is the best way to fulfil this goal, therefore starting with the C&G 2365 at TS4U was the first step on this journey.

The electrical trade had always interested and intrigued me, plus (I shouldn’t admit this) I do like working with rules and regulations!

Why did you decide to take the C&G2365 course and how has this helped you?

I had a long chat with the office at TS4U (as well as with other facilities), they advised on options I could take such as various C&G courses or even an adult apprenticeship. I felt that working through the theory on the C&G 2365 along with the classroom practical’s suited me best, to gain the most solid foundation for working in the electrical industry.

How long have you been working in the electrical industry?

I have been working dedicated to the electrical industry for almost the last 4 years, but I’ve had the pleasure of working with electricians (and other trades) for the last 15!

Have you managed to find employment since training with TS4U?

It is hard work to find work, although I have been lucky as I had a good friend, a qualified electrician who works for a local builder. They happily let me get loads of experience working on site labouring before and whilst I was at TS4U. Since finishing my C&G 2365 I have wanted to work on a purely self employed and sub-contracting basis. I have found plenty of work through local builders and have gained my most valuable experience working for larger electrical contractors on everything from domestic work to larger commercial sites – everything from high end residential properties to a prison and even a cathedral in central London!

I am also a domestic installer with the NICEIC, I think this has been a huge benefit in continuing my development and me finding work.  

How did training with Trade Skills 4U help you?

The training has created a solid foundation for me to start my electrical career.  It has given me the basic understanding and the confidence to operate on site.

Are you planning on taking any other courses?

Yes, the 18th Edition is a must and I am really interested in renewables plus car charging and in due course I want to do my testing and inspection.

What was your overall experience with TS4U?

I think the people really made the whole experience great, not just the tutors who created a good balance between theory and practical but also knew how to adapt to deliver the key subjects in an engaging, meaningful and understandable way, but also the other students who I bonded with, shared the experience and we all helped each through.

What are your plans for the future?

I really want to complete my NVQ and AM2, I am trying to gain experience and continually build my knowledge. Whilst in the long term I want to work for myself I currently get such valuable and fulfilling work with experienced electricians.

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

I can’t place a best experience precisely, I can honestly say I enjoy working everyday, working with my hands, constructing and achieving. I often find myself telling people ‘it doesn’t feel like work!’.

How would you describe the training at Trade Skills 4U?

They are professional and organised, the whole system seemed to run very efficiently from the administration through to the effective classroom based learning plus the practical albeit it in the classroom was challenging and realistic.

Categories: training, electrical course, case study, electrician

How do you ski if you can’t stand up?

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 28th February 2019

Our very own Paul Chapman, Electrical Tutor and volunteer ski guide, tells us why he chose to get involved with the Southern Ski Club for the Disabled (SSCD).

SSCD is a non-profit organisation entirely run by volunteers to help people with any disability enjoy a sense of freedom and exhilaration and to help develop their self-confidence by participating in the fantastic sport of skiing.

Based on 40 years of experience helping those with disabilities, SSCD was set-up by people who believe that the joy of skiing should be achievable for everyone.

SSCD work with people who have many forms of disability from paraplegics, the blind, those with special learning needs or MS. It is only due to the generous donations they receive that SSCD are able to provide and develop specialist skiing aids/equipment, offer ski guiding and practice sessions on artificial slopes and also organise snow holidays for groups. The organisation also runs training courses for guides to assist skiers with disabilities to learn and enjoy to ski.

We asked Paul why he decided to become a guide

I have skied for some years prior to getting involved with the SSCD. It was at a point in my life when you find yourself at a loose end due to a relationship breakup. I can’t remember where I saw the advert but I thought it was a good idea. I had no pre-conceptions of what would be involved, and I was quite prepared to just assist. But after 3 or 4 months I found myself doing more responsible jobs.

It was in 2007 that I attended a two day weekend training course at Knockhatch dry ski slope near Hailsham. We covered the basics of becoming a ski guide for the disabled, which included a surprising amount of learning regarding different disability’s and illnesses. During the training we had to experience what a disabled skier would feel when skiing for the first time.

We took turns at being a blind skier by being blind folded and then assisted by a fellow trainee to help us put on our ski boots and guide us out to the slope, which was very disorientating. Once on the slope we had to use the button lift, assisted by our fellow trainee. Once on the button lift you have no way of knowing what direction you are going in, so we had to rely on instructions shouted up from the bottom of the slope. Yes, I fell over a few times, but the trouble was you have then lost the button and have no idea of where you are.

At the top another helper was waiting to tell us when to push the button out from between our legs, we were then guided to point towards the slope, as I could have been facing backwards for all I knew! So, eventually I gathered the nerve to go over the edge. The problem was I had no sensation of motion, there was no visual reference point to gage my speed. I was in a very wide snow plough and the trainee guide said “come on let’s get moving” I really thought I was.

Eventually we got to the bottom of the slope and stopped, well that’s what I thought but skied straight into the back of another blindfolded guide and fell over with our skis all locked together and had to be untangled by others. I had no idea of what was up, down, north, south, east or west apart from knowing what time of the day it was and which side of my face the sun was shining on.

What are the best bits about guiding?

The best bits are seeing any disabled person having fun experiencing the exhilaration of skiing especially referring to sit skis where the disabled person is literally strapped into the ski and communicates by blinking or a half smile. Please see the Tessier sit ski links here.

One funny story was when a Down Syndrome lad was worried about going up on the button lift, I was with another very experienced guide who asked this lad if he liked music and told him to sing if he got worried. I went up in front to make sure the lad got off OK at the top. Well, as he got close to the top he started singing Muma Mia at the top of his voice. I very nearly couldn’t control my laughter but knew I had to make sure he got of the button lift safely. One of the most difficult bits has to be losing one of the disabled people, Finding out that one of the disabled children have passed away can be quite hard especially if you have skied with them and managed to build rapport.

One other incredible story is some years ago one our groups took a guy on a ski holiday in a lay down sledge and raced him around the mountains on it. The incredible part is that the only moving part of this particular guy was his head. He spent his life laying on his back looking at his world through a mirror above his head.

Do you have any advice for others wanting to train as a guide?

At first you may feel as though you are just in the way at times, but as you get used to the different disabilities and what we do you will soon be in the right place at the right time to assist.

If you would like to find out more, why not pop along to one of their sessions to see for yourself what it’s all about. Alternatively if you would like to become a member or make a donation please visit SSCD.

TESSIER - Sitski - Adaptive skiing - Handisport

 

Free EV Charging Seminar Now Live!

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 26th February 2019

We are excited to announce we are hosting a range of free electric vehicle installer seminars. Throughout 2019 these seminars will be aimed at both existing installers and new entrants to the industry.

The seminars will be run in conjunction with Rolec EV, a division of Rolec Services that specialises in the design and manufacture of a range of electric vehicle charging solutions. The seminars, entitled Electric Vehicle Installers Seminar: What’s the big deal? have been designed to explain the opportunities available for becoming an Electric Vehicle Charging Point Installer and will cover relevant and helpful topics such as:

How funding for EV charging point installation works

How to get registered in order to draw down funding

How to maximise the EV funding opportunity for you and your customers

How to train to be an EV Charging Point Installer

Free tea, coffee and biscuits will be available on the night and a Rolec and Trade Skills 4U welcome pack will be handed out to all attendees.

When and where?

These 1 hour seminars are being planned to run throughout the year from our 4 main training centres in Gatwick, Warrington, Leeds and our new Coventry centre. The first is being held at our Gatwick centre on the 17th April 2019. More dates and venues are planned to follow shortly, so watch this space!

Carl Bennett Executive Chairman of Trade Skills 4U said: “Following a rise in demand for electric vehicle points across the country, the collaboration between both companies seemed like the perfect match to ensure that skilled electricians are ready to work in this growing sector.”

“By combining experience in training and manufacturing we have created seminars specifically designed to deliver an opportunity to our students. We believe the government’s initiative to eliminate all petrol and diesel cars by 2040 will mean the need for installing electrical vehicle points will rise significantly in the coming years.”

Kieron Alsop, Rolec EV’s Managing Director commented: “The installation of EV Charging points represents a significant business opportunity for the electrical contracting industry.”

“A recent survey undertaken by Emu Analytics confirmed that the UK is in need of a six fold increase in EV charging point deployment over the next 2 or 3 years to cope with the charging demands from the dramatically increasing numbers of Electric Vehicles being registered.”

“As a result of this new business opportunity Rolec EV is delighted to be working closely with, and supporting Trade Skills 4U in developing a range of electrical contractor charge point installation training courses at a number of their sites throughout the UK.”

“The recently opened Rolec EV Training Suite at their flag ship training centre in Leeds highlights the scale of investment and confidence both Rolec and Trade Skills 4U have in this new EV Charging industry.”

Approved Rolec Installer’s Scheme

As part of our partnership with Rolec, students who successfully pass an EV courses with us will be automatically registered on the Approved Rolec Installer’s Scheme where their name will appear on a national database enabling them to work on jobs in the local area.

If you would like to attend one of our free seminars please click here to register today!

If you are interested in finding out about the other courses we offer please visit our course finder page, alternatively please speak to a Course Adviser on 0800 856 4448, who will be happy to help.

 

Categories: electric car charging, ev funding, ev point installer, electric vehicle

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