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

Trade Skills 4U To Open New Coventry Electrical Training Centre

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 29th January 2019

We are excited to announce a new expansion into the Midlands delivering courses to aspiring electricians in the region.

The new state-of-the-art training facility will be based in Coventry and will open at the end of July 2019. This new location will act as a midlands base from which we can deliver industry leading courses. However, all course advice, management and administration will still be covered by our head office just by London Gatwick.

As specialists in electrical training we offer the largest range of electrician courses in the UK for new entrants, existing electricians and companies from our main centres based in Gatwick, Warrington, London and a recently opened facility in Leeds. You can choose from a huge range of courses including; 18th Edition, Domestic Installer Packages, City & Guilds Diplomas, Inspection and Testing, EV Charging Point, plus much more.

In order to satisfy the high demand for the new 18th Edition of the electrical regulations, in July 2018 we introduced 4 new pop up centres based in Newcastle, Cardiff, Hatfield and Coventry.

Our brand new Coventry centre will be situated in Westwood Business Park right next to Warwick University with excellent facilities and transport links right on its doorstep.

Exec Chairman, Carl Bennett said: “With the ongoing success of the business we have made the decision to open our forth fully fledged training centre in Coventry. The new facility will be situated close to major road links, M6, M1, M42 and M69 and will open up opportunities for aspiring electricians from the West and East Midlands.”

Carl continued: “Our students can rest assure that they will receive first class training delivered by skilled tutors who have experience both on the tools and in teaching. The new facility will offer a fresh and bright learning environment built to the very highest of specifications, equipped with the latest technology in keeping with Trade Skills 4U’s usual high standards.”

Every year more people pass City & Guilds electrical courses with us than with any other UK provider and we are the first electrical training company to be accepted into the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Centre of Excellence.

Enquiries are now being taken for courses delivered in Coventry, please call 0800 856 4448 to speak to a Course Advisor who will be happy to help. Alternatively you can visit our Coventry facilities page.

Categories: electrician courses, electrical courses, training centre

2019 Trades Salary Survey: Electrician Salary increases by 5%

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 4th January 2019

Electricians Salaries remain the highest of all trades

Each year we compile a blog post reporting on average salaries based on the data released from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for those working in the construction industry.

Last year we reported that the average UK salary for an electrician was £30,784. This year, for another year running, it’s been a great period for Sparkies, who not only continue to earn the most of the trades but also see the biggest increase of all at 5%.

Average Electrician Salary (£32,315)

According to the Office of National Statistics the average salary for an electrician in the last year has risen by 5% to £32,315. This is the highest increase seen in the trades with plumbers following at 3.9%.

Average Salaries by Trade

The data below is based on the 2015 and 2018 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings taken from the Office of National Statistics.

To check out what the average percentage increase has been over the last 12 months please click on the interactive chart below. You will see that most of the trades have seen some impressive increases in pay with electricians still earning the most, and are now earning around £1,260 more than plumbers.

Trades Salary Survey

The figures shown are based on the median value meaning that half will earn more and half will earn less. This is the Office of National Statistics preferred measure of average earnings and is less affected by a relatively small number of very high earners that can skew the data upward. The median average gives a better indication of typical salaries than the mean which shows salaries at £32,627.

How do electricians charge for their time?

When working in someone’s home most electricians will charge a day rate or a fixed rate depending on the job. Electricians who are employed and earn a salary are in the minority with the majority working on a self employed basis.

As a guide you could expect to charge the following for:

Consumer Unit replacement £350 – £500 (0.5 – 1 day)

Perform an Electrical Inspection report £90 – £180 (4 – 8 hours)

Install and supply a double socket £90 – £125 (1 – 3 hours)

Replace a light fitting £40 – £60 (0.5 – 1 hour)

Repair a damaged power cable £40 – £50 (0.5 – 1 hour)

Electric shower installation £250 – £400 (0.5 – 1 day)

Install an external security light £90 – £140 (1 – 3 hours)

Hourly Rates / Day Rates (£40-£60 Per Hour / £180-£350 Per Day)

Because there are no statistics available on a national level it is quite hard to obtain accurate data regarding how much is actually charged. Also, because most electricians will charge either an hourly rate, day rate or a fixed rate depending on the type of job, their earnings will fluctuate from year to year. Rates can also vary drastically depending on location and experience. However, an experienced electrician working in the South East on average charges £45 per hour or £350 per day.

As you would expect, a self-employed electrician will tend to earn more than someone who is employed. However, you should take into account that there are other costs to consider such as the cost of buying tools, vehicle expenses, business insurance and registration on a competent persons scheme.

As mentioned the average annual salary for electricians is approx. £32K per year, however research suggests that this figure is actually more likely to be around £35-40K and can be higher still for those working in the South East.

What are trainee electrician salaries like? (Around £23K)

Whilst many electricians will start out as an apprentice earning below the minimum wage, they do benefit from being able to gain a qualification whilst earning a wage. The current national minimum wage for an apprentice in their first year is £3.70 per hour, however many employers prefer to pay more with the average salary being approx. £170 per week.

However, there are other options available, and we find that a lot of our customers prefer to front load their training and complete technical certificates first (C&G 2365 Level 2 & 3). This enables students to command a higher starting salary of between £21-25,000 per year when they start working as an electrician’s mate.

JIB Electrician Wage Grades

The JIB publish guidelines to what electricians can earn on their website, however, be aware that not all employers will adhere to these guidelines.

From and including Monday 7th January 2018 the JIB suggests that the national standard rates if you have your own transport are:

Trainee Electrician - £12.08

Electrician - £15.05

Approved Electrician - £16.32

Site Technician - £18.37

And for those who work in London or the south east you should expect:

Trainee Electrician - £13.53

Electrician - £16.86

Approved Electrician - £18.28

Site Technician - £20.57

Experience and obtaining further qualifications can help towards achieving higher pay grades:

1. Trainee Electrician – apprenticeship or electricians mate usually with C&G 2365 Diplomas

2. Electrician – relevant qualifications, Level 3 NVQ & AM2 (C&G 2357)

3. Approved Electrician – as per number 2 plus periodic inspection and testing qualification such as the C&G 2391-52

4. Site Technician – As per number 3 plus over 5 years’ experience (3 of which in a supervisory role) plus a level 4 qualification such as a HNC

Ways to earn more

The salary ranges reported in this article are only intended as a guideline. Depending on your experience, how many hours you are prepared to put in and how hard you are prepared to work we believe that there is really no limit to what you could potentially earn.

We still believe that becoming an electrician remains a great career choice especially as the demands from the growing housing sector continue to rise. There are also issues around the number of older electricians wanting to retire, which will inevitably lead to further shortfalls in labour required to meet demand.

There are many ways to increase your earning potential, and this really comes down to how much hard work you are willing to put in.

1. Agency work – for those starting out working for an agency is a good option. Here you will be able to gain the confidence and experience needed to go out to apply for contracts direct.

2. Overtime – For those employed working on a job where deadlines need to be met then overtime is a great way to increase your earnings as this is often paid at a higher hourly rate.

3. Up-skilling – to improve your skills set as an electrician, further training is a great way increase your earning potential.

4. Self employed – for the more experienced electrician who wishes to work for themselves and apply directly for their own contracts, setting up in business provides the opportunity to increase earnings further.

To help you achieve better pay or a higher grade you might want to consider undertaking the following courses:

C&G 2382-18 18th Edition Course - For anyone working in industry

C&G 2396 Electrical Design course – for Site Technician status

C&G 2391-52 Inspection & Testing Course – for Approved Electrician status

The bottom line is, if you are prepared to work hard, invest in yourself and ensure your work is carried out to a high standard your income as well as your reputation will increase significantly.

 

Categories: salary, pay

2019 Electricians Events Calendar

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 3rd January 2019

Bookmark and share this page for the latest electrical events taking place in 2019.  We will updated the post as soon as more events have been confirmed.

January

Elex - London

Location: London, Alexandra Palace

Date: Wednesday 30th - Thursday 31st January – 10am – 4pm

About: Get some huge deals on the latest power tools, get the lowdown on the latest regulations, try out the latest products, and meet with exhibitors from across the country.

NICEIC Tech Talk Seminars

Location: Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff
Date: 23 January 2019

Location: Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham
Date: 23 January 2019

About: Gain valuable advice with over 3 hours of technical presentations on the changes to BS7671 and other technical topics, plus get the chance to network with the exhibitors.

February

NICEIC Tech Talk Seminars

Location: Amex Stadium, Brighton
Date: Wednesday 6th February 2019

Location: Southampton FC, Southampton
Date: Thursday 7th February 2019

About: Delivering over 3 hours of technical presentations around the changes to BS7671 plus other technical topics, plus get the chance to network exhibitors.

Specification Expert

Location: Leicester, Welford Road Stadium

Date: Thursday 28th February – 10am – 2pm

About: A product specification exhibition designed for architects and specifiers, complemented by a series of CPD tech talks, presented by industry bodies, architects and product specialists.

March

National Apprenticeship Week

Date: Monday 4th- Friday 8th March

About: The 12th National Apprenticeship Week is an annual celebration of apprentices and is a great way to highlight the fantastic opportunities that apprenticeships bring to employers, individuals and the economy.

Futurebuild

Location: London, ExCel Centre

Date: Tuesday 5th - Thursday 7th March – 9am – 6pm

About: The focus of the show is on tackling the biggest challenges impacting the built environment. The show offers a great opportunity to gain unrivalled insights and hands-on experience around the latest products, innovations and materials.

Elex - Manchester

Location: Manchester EventCity

Date: Thursday 14th - Friday 15th March – 10am – 4pm

About: Get some exclusive offers on the day, attend the latest regulations seminars, get hands-on with the latest products, and meet with hundreds of exhibitors.

Specification Expert

Location: Cardiff – City Stadium

Date: Tuesday 19th March – 10am – 2pm

About: A product specification exhibition for specifiers an architects which includes a series of CPD tech talks presented by industry bodies, product specialists and architects.

April

Elex - Exeter

Location: Exeter, Westpoint Arena

Date: Thursday 25th - Friday 26th April – 10am – 4pm

About: Try out the latest tools, get some great product offers, get the lowdown on the latest regulations and meet the exhibitors.

Specification Expert

Location: Manchester – Etihad Stadium

Date: Tuesday 2nd April – 10am – 2pm

About: A show which brings local professionals together to discuss specifications for planned developments and projects.

The National Electrical Vehicle Show

Location: Malvern - Three Counties Showground

Date: Sunday 7th April - 10am - 3pm

About: The event features an EV Zone to complement the classic cars on displaya. There will be plenty of exhibitors as well trade and commercial stalls to browse through. Great event for fans of motors.

May

Elex - Harrogate

Location: Harrogate, Great Yorkshire Showground

Date: Thursday 23rd – Friday 24th May – 10am – 4pm

About: Check out the latest tools on the market and get some exclusive daily offers. Meet the exhibitors and try out the latest products.

All-Energy Exhibition & Conference

Location: Glasgow, Sec Glasgow

Date: Wednesday 15th - Thursday 16th May - (8.30 am - 6pm Wednesday and 8.30am - 5pm Thursday)

About: A renewable energy event where you can interact, conduct business, network and learn. Meet with over 300 energy suppliers, developers, technology developers, investors, and policy makers with over 7,000 energy industry buyers.

Specification Expert

Location: Birmingham, Villa Park Stadium
Date: Tuesday 14th May – 10am – 2pm

Location: Berkshire, Newbury Racecourse
Date: Wednesday 15th May – 10am – 2pm

About: Meet experts and suppliers of cutting-edge sustainable building products and solutions. Get advice on how to play your part in creating a sustainable built environment.

June

Specification Expert

Location: Sheffield, Magna Science Centre

Date: Tuesday 11th June – 10am – 2pm

About: Meet suppliers of cutting-edge sustainable building products and solutions and network with experts. Get advice on how to play your part in creating a sustainable built environment.

July

Nothing in the diary yet.

August

The National Electrical Vehicle Show

Location: Oxfordshire

Date: To be confirmed

About: The event features an EV Zone to complement the classic cars on displaya. There will be plenty of exhibitors as well trade and commercial stalls to browse through. Great event for fans of motors.

September

Elex - Coventry

Location: Coventry, Ricoh Arena

Date: Thursday 19th - Friday 20th September – 10pm – 4pm

About: Get some huge savings on the latest tools on the market, attend wiring regulations seminars plus watch some product demonstrations from exhibitors.

October

The National Electrical Vehicle Show

Location: Malvern - Three Counties Showground

Date: Sunday 13th October - 10am - 3pm

About: The event features an EV Zone to complement the classic cars on displaya. There will be plenty of exhibitors as well trade and commercial stalls to browse through. Great event for fans of motors.

November

Elex - Surrey

Location: Surrey, Sandown Park

Date: Thursday 7th - 8th November – 10am- 4pm

About: Try out new power tools, make some great show savings, meet exhibitors from around the world and attend a free seminar to keep up-to-date with the latest rules and regulations.

December

Nothing confirmed yet.

Categories: events, sparkie, exhibits, trade show, electrician

Case Study - Liam De Vine

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 6th December 2018

Name: Liam De Vine

Courses: C&G2365 Level 2 & 3 and C&G2391 Inspection and Testing

 

What did you do before training to be an electrician?

I worked in the catering industry and ran a street food business before coming to take my course at Trade Skills 4U.

Which courses have you taken with Trade Skills 4U and why?

I enrolled on the C&G2365 Level 2 & 3 course as it seemed to offer the most comprehensive training for what I wanted to achieve. I then went on to complete my C&G2391 Inspection & Testing as I was advised by others in the industry that it would be beneficial to have.

What was your training experience like at the Warrington facility

I enjoyed my time at Warrington immensely. The tutors were very knowledgeable and helpful. The course was intense but spread out so as to make it achievable. Facilities were great and everyone I met from walking in the first day were happy to help along the way. There is a lot to learn but this shouldn’t come as a surprise. My certificates came with a sense of achievement and the intention of continued learning. I know that there is a lot to learn now that I am out there working, classrooms can only show you so much. However, what I did learn is invaluable.

Tell us about your current role?

I was employed by an agency one day after posting my CV online. I have three months works as an electricians mate installing electrical systems in a pharmaceutical plant. I have also set-up a PAT test business which will grow to include testing and inspection as I gain experience in the industry.

Are you planning on taking any other electrical courses?

I have registered for my 2357 NVQ and AM2 exams which I’m working towards completing in 2019.

What has your experience been like working in the industry?

I’m really enjoying the work at the moment. There seems to be a great deal of work out there if you have the right attitude. The work I get is varied, I’m involved in everything from designing trunking runs and cable requirements to the actual on site installations. When I was interviewed for my first job I was told that being willing to invest in myself had helped me to standout and has shown that I obviously wanted to have a career in the industry.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to enter the industry?

I’m still new to this to be offering advice but if I were to say anything it would be that you get out what you put into the course. If you show an interest, turn up and make the effort, the staff at Trade Skills 4U will really help you to achieve your goals. I have no regrets at all (apart from purchasing too many sausage butties!).

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

The facilities and equipment are top notch. The real value is in the quality of the training and the tutors. They are very knowledgeable and are happy to help, supported very well by the admin staff! If there is any further training I need in the future, Trade Skills 4U will be my first port of call.

Categories: qualifications, case study, trade, electrician

The Professional and Career Development Loan scheme is closing

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 27th September 2018

career development loan

If you are considering applying for a Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL), you need to be aware that as from the 25th January 2019 this loan will no longer be available to new borrowers. Existing loans will not be affected.

What is a Professional and Career Development Loan?

The Professional and Career Development Loan is different from a personal loan in that that you don't pay any interest on the loan while you're studying, as this is paid for by the Government instead.

The loan is specifically designed to pay for courses and training that improve your employability or, if you already have a job, improve your career prospects. The loan can be used to pay for either some or all of your course costs, including books.

Who can apply?

You can apply if you are 18 years or over, a British citizen, have been living in the UK for at least 3 years before your course starts or you plan to work in the UK, European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) after the course.

How does the loan work?

You can apply to borrow between £300 and £10,000 to help fund your course. Once accepted, the Government will pay the interest on the loan for the duration of your course and for one month after it has finished.

This allows you to complete your course and only start repaying your loan after your course has finished. It will then be up to you to start repaying the loan, plus the interest stated in your loan agreement in fixed monthly payments which you can spread over 1 to 5 years. If you drop out of the course you are still be liable to pay the full amount.

The Professional and Career Development Loan is offered by the Co-op Bank. Below you can see a representative example but for more details on interest rates and eligibility please visit the Co-op bank website.

loan example

To qualify for the PCDL you need make sure that you apply 8 weeks before your course starts, this will give your bank enough time to process your application. If you apply more than 8 weeks ahead your application will not be accepted. The final date for submitted applications is Friday, 25 January 2019, with a course start date no later than 24 March 2019.

What can I use the loan for and how do I apply?

You can apply to use the Professional Career Development Loan to pay for the C&G 2365 Diploma Course Package us. Please be aware that we have limited spaces on each course, so please ensure you contact us on 0800 856 4448 or 03330 123 123 to discuss if we have loans available on your chosen start date.

We would advise reviewing all the information on the Government Website before making your application.

It is your responsibility to fully research whether the loan is the right choice for you before deciding to make an application. If you do take out a loan it is your responsibility to make the payments for this loan once the course is finished as you would if taking out any kind of private finance.

Alternatively to find out whether a PDCL is the best option for you please call the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900.

Categories: professional and career development loan

How often should you calibrate your test equipment?

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 18th September 2018

To ensure that your electrical testing equipment and test meters provide you with accurate results in accordance with its specifications it is recommended that you have these calibrated on regular basis.

A frequently asked question is “How often should I calibrate my test equipment” and the short answer is that unfortunately there is no short answer! There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ as every instrument will have a different calibration frequency requirement as recommended by the manufacture.

Therefore, to give peace of mind and to ensure that you can use your equipment safely and reliably, it is advised that you follow the manufacturers recommended frequency. However, you should also bear in mind that critical measurements may require different intervals.

How important is Calibration

The calibration process compares a measuring instrument with a measurement standard to establish the relationship between the values indicated by the instrument and those of the standard.

The accuracy of your test instruments can drop over time, therefore it is advisable that regular calibration is undertaken. The accuracy of major components of instruments like voltage references, input dividers and current shunts will start to shift over time. However, this shift is minor and won’t affect the measurements if you maintain a good calibration schedule.

The calibration of your test instruments must be undertaken by an accredited laboratory. All meter calibrations must be traceable back to the National Standards and procedures detailed in BS EN/IEC17025:2017 and carried out by suppliers who are ISO 9001:2015 certified. The organisation you use should be AKAS accredited. If they are not, the following risks could include compliance and safety issues, litigation issues, wastage of resources and materials, increased downtimes, low quality of the final products.

It is also worth noting that by keeping your own record of measurements, you will be satisfying guidelines from bodies such as the NICEIC, ELECSA and NAPIT who will carry out your annual assessment.

If you do this using a known fixed resistor bank, for example, record the results at the frequency and manner specified by the bodies and the readings remain the same, this may satisfy the need for calibration.

Listed below are some calibration frequencies, which we hope you will find helpful:

Manufacturers’ recommendation - You should keep up with the manufacturers’ recommend frequency, however you should also note that critical measurements may require different intervals.

Before you start a major critical measuring project - If you have a project that requires highly accurate measurements, firstly decide which instruments you will use and then send them for calibration, then lock them down in storage until testing begins to ensure you get absolutely accurate results.

After a major critical measuring project ends - After a major critical measuring project you should send the same equipment for calibration. When you get the results back you can confirm the accuracy of your testing results for that project.

After an accident/event - You may need to consider having the instrument checked for accuracy following a hit, eg if something knocked out the internal overload or they had physical impact.

Per project requirements - Each job regardless of the project size will have a different calibration requirement. Some will require certified and calibrated test equipment, where others may not require stringent calibration standards. These requirements may not be explicitly stated, therefor you should review the specs before the test.

Monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually - If you do critical measurements often then a shorter time span between calibrations will mean there is less chance of questionable test results. Often calibrating at shorter intervals will afford you with better specifications. Depending on their usage, you may have to calibrate equipment on a monthly, quarterly or semiannually basis. One way of achieving this is to use a circuit with known readings, a proprietary calibration card or check box.

Annually - If you carry out a mix of critical and non-critical measurements, annual calibration tends to be a good option with the right balance between prudence and cost.

Biannually - If you don’t carry out many critical measurements and don’t expose your meter to an event, calibration at long frequencies can be more cost-effective.

And finally… Your business insurance may require you to have a valid calibration certificate, as well as an awarding organisation, therefore it’s advisable to check with them.

You may also be interested to read our blog What is Meter Calibration and Why is it Important? and view the results from a survey we ran in 2017 Survey Results: How often should you have your test meter calibrated? 

If you are interested in taking a course with us and would like to speak to a Course Advisor please contact 0800 856 4448, alternatively for more information please visit our Course Finder page. 

Categories: calibration frequency, calibrate, testing equipment, test meters

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