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What is a cable safe zone?

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 10th May 2018

Prysmian the UK’s largest cable manufacturer with over 100 years of experience, recently asked our tutor Mark Longley MIET to write an article on what a cable safe zone is.

Mark has worked in the electrical installation sector for just short of 30 years as an apprentice, an electrician, a maintenance electrician and an educator. He has taught everyone from apprentices through to practicing electricians wishing to improve their knowledge. While working in education he has had the honour of working as a consultant and e-learning presentor for City & Guilds, including the e-learning educators Learning Lounge.

Marks article explains that a cable safe zone, simply put, is a space in which a cable can be installed in such a position that it is not liable to be damaged by impact, abrasion or penetration.

Current Wiring Regulations

The current wiring regulations sections 522.6.201 and 522.6.202 give more exacting guidance on exactly how cables should be installed to avoid damage and potential harm to the installer and/or resident.

Cable safe zone installations in ceilings and floors

522.6.201 of the wiring regulations state that a cable installed under a floor or above a ceiling shall be run in such a position that it is not liable to be damaged by contact with the floor or ceiling or their fixings. Taking this into account a cable passing through a joist within a floor or ceiling construction, or through a ceiling support (eg. under floorboards), shall be installed at least 50mm measured vertically from the top, or bottom, as appropriate of the joist or batten, or incorporate an earthed metallic covering which complies with the requirements of these Regulations for a protective conductor of the circuit concerned, such as armoured low voltage power cable, Afumex LSX™ or mineral insulated cables.

Cable safe zone installations in walls

For walls, the ruling is slightly different. The wiring regulations state here that a cable installed in a wall or partition - at a depth of less than 50 mm from a surface of the wall or partition - has to either

i. be installed in a zone within 150 mm from the top of the wall or partition, or within 150 mm of an angle formed by two adjoining walls, or partitions. Furthermore, where the cable is connected to a point accessory, or switchgear on any surface of the wall or partition, the cable may be installed in a zone either horizontally or vertically, to the point accessory or switchgear. Keeping the safe zone close to the accessory will help act as a clear indicator for homeowners and others as to where potential cables may be located. Where the location of the accessory, point or switchgear can be determined from the reverse side, a zone formed on one side of a wall of 100mm thickness or less, or partition of 100mm thickness or less extends to the reverse side, alternatively

ii. needs to comply with regulation 522.6.204. The aforementioned regulation relates to a cable incorporating an earthed metallic covering, such as Prysmian LSX.

Walls are the most common place that homeowners and other tradespeople will encounter the risk of cable penetration by drills etc. This risk should be greatly reduced when the cables are installed within the regulations outlined above.

Protecting your cable installations

522.6.203 states Irrespective of its buried depth, a cable that is concealed in a wall or a partition, where either the internal construction includes metallic parts (such as dryline partitions) other than metallic fixings such as nails, screws etc need to be provided with additional protection. The protection should come in the form of an RCD having the characteristics specified in Regulation 415.1.1 or comply with regulation 522.6.204, which again relates to a cable incorporating an earthed metallic covering.

For more information on cable safe zones, or to get a copy of the wiring regulations to ensure best practice, please click here.

The new 18th Edition of the wiring regulations is due to be published this July with changes coming into effect in January 2019.

If you are interested in an electrical training course, please visit our Course Finder page or speak to one of our friendly course advisors on 01293 529777.

Categories: cables, safe zones, electricians

Legendary rugby players to attend launch of new electrical training company in Yorkshire

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 2nd May 2018

We are extremely excited to announce that a number of Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves rugby legends will be making a special appearance at the opening of our brand new state-of-the-art training facility in Leeds on the 9 May 2018.

Both clubs have an impressive track record, with the Leeds Rhinos being eight times Super League Champions and the Warrington Wolves being Champion Cup winners 2009, 2010 and 2012 and League Leaders Shield winners in 2011 and 2016.

Carl Bennett, CEO and his family are big lovers of Rugby League and not only do we at Trade Skills 4U sponsor Wolves player Chris Hill we also sponsors Culcheth Eagles Under 9’s. Carl's wife Tracey is a coach for the Warrington Wolves Foundation Under 9’s team.

A bit of fun!

To help celebrate the opening of our new facility we thought it would be fun to run a competition whereby the Leeds Rhinos compete against the Warrington Wolves in a giant Buzz-wire game challenge to see who can get the furthest in the quickest time. I’m sure the players will take this very seriously and will want to prove who has the steadiest hands!

New state-of-the-art centre

Established in 2005, Trade Skills 4U has been training 3,000 students a year from across the country for over 13 years, firstly in Gatwick and more recently Warrington and can boast that we have some of the highest pass rates in the UK.

We are now extremely pleased to be opening a new state-of-the-art centre in Yorkshire just east of Leeds, situated just off the M1 and A1. This means customers based in, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull, Scunthorpe, Harrogate and the surrounding areas can easily access the centre.  As with all our centres the Leeds facility will house advanced training classrooms built to the highest specifications all equipped with the latest technology.

The centre will officially open with an introduction from CEO Carl Bennett, followed by a talk from Leeds Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Executive Member for Employment, Enterprise and Opportunity, who will speak about skills in the region. 

The day will also include tours of the centre, free burgers and refreshments together with free interactive practical and science sessions, an 18th Edition preview seminar and a presentation on electrical vehicle charging. To find out more or to register for the free taster sessions, please visit our Leeds Launch page.

Carl Bennett said: “We are extremely excited to be opening this new centre. A lot of research was conducted in the area to ensure that this is the perfect location to run our courses from. We look forward to meeting those who are interested in entering the electrical trade, or experienced electricians joining us for the opening to see first-hand what we have on offer.”

For more information on the courses offered at the Leeds facility please click here. Alternatively please speak to one of our Course Advisers on 0800 856 4448 who will be happy to help you.

Categories: open day, new training centre, leeds training

Construction Workers To Earn More Than University Students

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 29th March 2018

construction v uni pay

Federation of Master Builders (FMB) report the average salary for electricians is £47,265

Many people considering learning a vocational qualification are often put off because it is generally perceived that the only route to a well-paid career is via a university degree. However, recent research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), which shows pay grades for manual jobs, proves that this isn’t necessarily the case.

Why it makes sense to get a trade versus going to university

The study shows the pay grades for both tradespeople and university graduates and reports that in general terms electricians and plumbers earn more than pharmacists, whilst roofers and bricklayers earn more than architects.

Research by the FMB also shows that construction apprentices will typically earn thousands of pounds more year-on-year than many of their university educated counterparts.

The research aims to prove that there are many career paths a school leaver can take without a degree and shatters the myth that apprenticeships have very little formal progression.

Money talks!

FMB’s chief executive Brian Berry said: “Money talks, and when it comes to annual salaries, a career in construction trumps many university graduate roles.

"The average university graduate earns £32,000 a year whereas your average brickie or roofer is earning £42,000 a year across the UK. Indeed, in London, a bricklayer is commanding wages of up to £90,000 a year."

"Pursuing a career in construction is therefore becoming an increasingly savvy move. University students graduate with an average £50,800 of debt, according to The Institute for Fiscal Studies, while apprentices pass the finish line completely debt-free.

"Not only that, apprentices earn while they learn, taking home around £17,000 a year. We are therefore calling on all parents, teachers and young people, who too often favour academic education, to give a career in construction serious consideration.”

Small building firms across the UK were asked what they paid their tradespeople and the average annual salaries were as follows:

Site managers - £51,266

Plumbers - £48,675

Supervisors - £48,407

Electricians - £47,265

Civil engineering operatives - £44,253

Steel fixers - £44,174

Roofers - £42,303

Bricklayers - £42,034

Carpenters and joiners - £41,413

Plasterers - £41,045

Scaffolders - £40,942

Floorers - £39,131

Plant operatives - £38,409

Painters and decorators - £34,587

General construction operatives - £32,392

The report also shows that university graduates were found to earn the following average annual salaries:

Pharmacists - £42,252

Dental practitioners - £40,268

Architects - £38,228

Teachers - £37,805

Chartered and certified accountants - £37,748

Midwives - £36,188

Veterinarians - £36,446

Physiotherapists - £32,065

Nurses - £31,867

Mr Berry added: “The construction industry is in the midst of an acute skills crisis and we are in dire need of more young people, including women and ethnic minorities, to join us.

"Our latest research shows that more than two-thirds of construction SMEs are struggling to hire bricklayers and 63 per cent are having problems hiring carpenters. This is a stark reminder of how the government's housing targets could be scuppered by a lack of skilled workers.

"The FMB is committed to working to improve the quality and quantity of apprenticeships because the only way we will build a sustainable skills base is by training more young people, and to a high standard.”

We’re pleased to see that this report shows that the average salary for electricians is higher than that reported by the ONS which is where the data for our 2018 Trades Salary Survey came from. This is only good news for anyone thinking of entering the industry and shows that it pays to enter the construction industry.

Of course, salary ranges will depend on a number of factors including, experience, qualifications, location and job responsibility etc and the starting salary for an entry level electrician will inevitably be lower.

If you are interested in an electrical training course, please visit our Course Finder page or speak to one of our course advisors on 01293 529777.

Source: www.irishnews.com

Categories: salary, pay, construction, graduates, university

150,000 Construction Jobs To Be Created In The Next Five Years

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 8th February 2018

construction jobs on the rise

Despite the gloom around Carillion and Brexit, it is predicted that 150,000 jobs are set to be created in the construction sector over the next five years.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) predicts that 15,350 carpenters and 9,350 labourers plus jobs for other trades will be needed as more homes are built.

The Federation of Master Builders reported that 48% of small and medium sized companies were also struggling to hire electricians and plumbers, with a further 46% finding it difficult to hire plasterers.

Chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders Brian Berry said: “Skills shortages are skyrocketing and it begs the question, who will build the new homes and infrastructure projects the government is crying out for?”

“The government has set itself an ambitious target to build 300,000 homes every year in England alone.”

“More than two-thirds of construction SMEs are struggling to hire bricklayers, which is one of the key trades in the building industry. This has increased by nearly 10% in just three months which points to a rapid worsening of an already dire situation.”

“What’s more, nearly as many are facing difficulties hiring carpenters and joiners. These figures are the highest we’ve noted since records began a decade ago.”

“As a result, the wages for these increasingly scarce skilled tradespeople continues to rise sharply; that’s a simple consequence of supply and demand.”

“On the domestic front and in the longer term, to ensure we have an ample supply of skilled workers in the future, the government must continue to work with industry to set the right framework in terms of T-Levels and apprenticeships.”

For the fourth year in a row employment is set to grow

Industry experts have forecast that output within the industry will also rise by 1.3% annually creating 158,000 jobs in the next five years. Infrastructure remains the strongest sector with an annual growth of 3.1%, with housing output also expected to grow.

However, it is also expected that commercial building will stagnate over the next five years, as investors are holding back due to the level of uncertainty with regards to England leaving the EU.

Despite this the CITB predict that for the fourth year in a row employment will grow by an average of 0.5% until 2022, which would equate to a massive 2.77 million people working in the construction industry, slightly below the peak reached in 2008.

The CITB Policy Director Steve Radley said: “Though growth is slightly down on 2017, it’s looking more balanced with housing and infrastructure both expanding significantly. And the range of job opportunities is growing. While we need to bring in lots of people in the trades, the fastest growth will be for professionals at 7.8 per cent and for managers and supervisors at 5.6 per cent.”

“By 2022, employment will be in touching distance of the heady 2008 peak so we face a massive recruitment and training challenge, which is likely to get harder after Brexit. So while we can take some comfort from weathering the recent storms, it’s vital that we make the investment in skills today that will shape our own destiny for tomorrow.”

Federation of Master Builders State of Trade Survey Q4  2017

Categories: jobs, electricians, construction

James Lasowski - Case Study

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 16th January 2018

Case Study

Name: James Lasowski

Courses studied: C&G2365, C&G2357, C&G 2392-10 Inspection & Testing, 17th Edition


We recently spoke to James to find out what his reasons were for changing his career after 10 years to train as a sparky. 

What did you do before you became an electrician?

Before I became an electrician, I was a lifeguard for 10 years. It was a challenging role but very much the same every day and I became bored with the role as there was not much development to be had.

What was your reason for Training?

My reason for training was that I believed gaining a trade to be a fantastic career move, plus it had been suggested by a friend that Trade Skills 4U do a good electrician's courses.

Tell us about why you chose to become an electrician?

I chose to become an electrician because I have worked on site before as a labourer and was always interested in what the electricians were working on. I also think that being an electrician is an interesting role where I can develop and learn at my own pace.

Why did you decide to take the C&G2365 course?

I chose to take the C&G 2365 course so that I could learn more about the electrical trade and develop practical skills whilst learning from a teacher who has previously been on the tools.

Tell us about the job you do now and how this training has helped you?

At the moment I am working for agencies across London. This training has helped me by providing the necessary practical experience and theoretical knowledge which I can apply to my work on site.

The course also helped me gain my first work in the industry by having a session dedicated to CV building which helped identify key things to include that employers would look for. They also had a Facebook page which would regularly be updated with new roles as it is always interesting to see what is out there.

How long have you been working in the electrical industry?

I have been working in the electrical industry for 2 years now and have loved it!

What other courses are you hoping to attend at Trade Skills 4U and why?

I plan to attend the Inspection and Testing 2391 because I want to develop my testing skills.

Please tell us about your training with Trade Skills 4U. What were your best bits, difficult bits, interesting bits?

My favourite bit at Trade Skills 4U was the practical sessions. My tutor was a good teacher and explained the practical side very well. However, I did find the fault finding difficult and got confused on a few of the tasks but I found the theory very interesting, especially when I was doing the math.

What are your plans for the future?

In the future I plan on becoming a sole trader so that I can perform my ow inspection and testing.

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

My favourite period was when I was working as an electrical mate in a hotel in Tower Bridge. I learned a lot about metal work and wiring circuits in toilets.

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

I would say that the classroom atmosphere was brilliant and the materials were good, and of course really enjoyed the free coffee.


We would like to thank James for sharing his experiences with us and wish him well for the future.

Categories: qualifications, training, case study, electrician

2018 Trades Salary Survey: Electricians Salaries are still higher than other trades

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 10th January 2018

2018 Electricians Salary Survey

The results are in!

The latest electricians salaries results are now in. You may remember that last year we posted that the average UK electrician salary was £30,765. This year’s results show that there has been a slight increase of 0.1% with the average electrician earning £30,784.

Salary ranges will depend on a number of factors eg, experience, location, qualifications, professional credentials (NVQ and ECS Card level), employer and job responsibility. Of course the starting salary for an entry level electrician will inevitably be lower, but will rise once they have gained the relevant Electrical NVQs and experience.

Average Electrician Salary (£30,784)

The average salary for electricians is currently £30,784, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and has risen by 0.1% in the last year. This is based on the median value which means that half will earn more than this amount and half will earn less. This is the ONS's preferred measure of average earnings and is less affected by a relatively small numbers 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 £31,617.

The data below is based on the 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings taken from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).


2018 Electrician Salaries

Average Salaries by Trade

Other trades salaries have increased across the board with Roofers showing the biggest increase of 5.8% followed by Plumbers at 4.4%. We believe the reason these salaries have increased more is that they are catching up with the increase seen for electricians last year. When we ran this survey last year we saw that plumbers, carpenters, bricklayers, and tilers salaries had dropped. This year all trades salaries have increased, ranging from 0.1% for electricians to 5.8% for Roofers, however, electricians still earn most. However, it is good to report that electricians still earn nearly £1000 more than any other trade on average.

Hourly Rates / Day Rates (£20-£60 - £ Per Hour / £180 - £350 Per Day)

Obtaining accurate data is a challenge as many electricians are either self-employed or contracting. Most self-employed electricians generally charge a day rate, an hourly rate or fixed rate for individual jobs, therefore their earnings tend to fluctuate year on year, because work is not guaranteed. This is why it is difficult to gauge exactly how much they earn as there are no statistics available on a national level for this.

However, depending on where you are based in the country, on average it appears that an experienced electrician working in the South East charges £45 per hour or £350 per day.

Whilst self-employed electricians tend to earn more than those who are employed, there are other costs to take into account such as the cost of tools, van, costs of quoting and business insurance and your registration on a competent persons scheme.

How realistic is it to earn over £30K as an electrician?

Self employed electricians are more likely to earn more than those employed as they are not tied down by company pay categories. Whilst salaries represent what you can earn when employed by a company the amounts earned as a contractor tends to be more realistic.

An experienced self-employed electrician should be earning on average above £30K per year. In fact our research suggests that earnings are more likely to be around £35-40K per year, with this figure being higher if working in London and the south east.

Ways to earn more

As with any career, the better you are at your job the more you can earn. There are a number of ways you can increase your earnings, and this really comes down to how much effort you are prepared to put in.

1. Overtime – If you are employed and working on a job where deadlines need to be met then overtime is a great way to increase your earnings. Especially as overtime is often paid at a higher hourly rate.

2. Agency work – if you are starting out then working for an agency is an option. This will allow you to gain the confidence and experience to then go on to apply for contracts direct to building and contracting companies.

3. Up-skilling – if you want to progress in your career as an electrician then taking further training to improving your grade could increase your earning potential. Courses to consider are the C&G 2394/95 Inspection & Testing Courses – For Approved Electrician status and the C&G 2396 Electrical Design course – For Site Technician status.

4. Going self employed – once, you’ve got some experience and made some good contacts and you’re being offered work outside of your employed day job, you might find that it’s time to go self-employed. This means that you will be able to earn a much higher wage once you’ve set up on your own.

What are trainees salaries like?

Apprentices tend to earn below the minimum wage, however the benefit here is that they can earn while gaining a qualification. The current National Minimum Wage for apprentices in their first year is £3.50 per hour, although most employers will pay more and research shows that the average salary is approximately £170 per week. However, apprentices can start earning a higher salary once they have completed their training and get qualified.

An option many of our customers at Trade Skills 4 U choose is to front load their training and complete their technical certificates first (C&G2365 Level 2&3). This allows those entering the market as electricians mates to earn between £21-25,000 per year. This is a guide and will vary depending on the employer, where you work in the country, and the type of job you have been employed to do.

JIB Wage Grades

Each year the JIB publish wage grades on their website, however, whilst the JIB have clear guidelines for what an electrician can earn these are only guidelines and not every employer will stick to these. Since last year, the figures below have increased by approx. 1.9%

From and including Monday 2nd January 2017, the JIB suggests you should earn the following hourly rates if you have your own transport:

National Standard Rates:

Trainee Electrician - £11.79 - £13.95

Electrician - £14.68

Approved Electrician - £15.92

Site Technician - £17.92

And if you live in London or the south east you should expect:

Trainee Electrician - £13.20 - £15.64

Electrician - £16.45

Approved Electrician - £17.83

Site Technician - £20.07

A great way to increase your earnings potential is to get plenty of on the job experience, build a good reputation, work hard and improve your knowledge through further training. The courses below will help you to qualify for the higher pay grades:

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

2. Electrician – relevant qualifications, Level 3 NVQ & AM2 (These days a 2357)

3. Approved Electrician – as per number 2 plus periodic inspection and testing qualification such as the C&G 2394/2395

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

The Sky’s the limit

The salary ranges listed in this article are only guidelines. We believe that the sky’s the limit when it comes to what you could actually earn and as mentioned above this will depend on a number of factors, however, from our experience and from talking to our students, we believe that if you are prepared to put in the hours to build your business and work hard then there is no limit to what you could potentially earn.

We know that electricians are the highest earners among the trades, and to support this there have been some very interesting articles posted recently, one of which is a little extreme and did create quite a bit of stir on social media. I hope you enjoy reading them and wonder whether you agree with what they are saying!

Electricians are earning £156,000 a year amid a shortage of skilled workers

Apprentice electrician drives a Mercedes and expects to earn £50,000 by his mid-20s!

Categories: pay, salary

10 Christmas Gift Ideas for Sparkies

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 7th December 2017

Christmas is coming! Now is a great time to think about what your sparky family member or friend would love to see in their Christmas stocking this year. Of course the easy option would be to buy a screw driver set, or perhaps a pair of warm socks but that would be a little boring, so we thought we would research some great gift ideas for you and have found some gems below, which we hope they will enjoy.

1. Gekko Gripper

Gekko Gripper

This handy tool is designed to route cables over ceilings, behind walls, and under floorboards and routes cable through dot and dab walls. It consists of a 6m long cord and two magnets that are strong enough to glide over underlay and carpet. Prices range depending on where you buy this but we found this one on Screw Fix for £24.99.

2. Electrician T-Shirt

electricians t-shirt

There are so many electrician t-shirts to choose from but we particularly liked this one at just £13.12 from Etsy.

3. Wrap Around Scratch Resistant Safety Glasses

wrap around safety glasses

Not the sexiest of things to wear but we think these ones are very stylish and a great gift idea to ensure your Sparky mates are protecting their eyes against any nasty incidents. This pair of clear Bolle wrap around safety glasses cost £7.90 from RS Components.

4. Electricians Pouch/Strap

Electricians pouch/strap

This is a great gift for the organised sparky who wants to carry what they need, when they need it. The TOUGHBUILT TOU-CT-114 Journeyman Electricians Pouch/Strap has been specifically designed for an electrician's tools. Its 21 pockets and loops include a wire-tester pocket, custom-fit flashlight wrap, 2 adjustable tool pockets, notebook pocket, tape chain, and 7 screwdriver loops. The ClipTech Hub allows the pouch to clip on and off any belt, hang from its shoulder strap, or kickstand on the ground close at hand. We found this on Amazon for £39.42.

5. WIFI Inspection Camera, hook and magnet set

Inspection camera and magnetic

This is a real gem and will be loved not only because of its usefulness but also by any gadget lover. The kit consists of a WIFI Wireless Endoscope Camera with a flexible rigid bendable cable, a side mirror, hook and magnet. The camera connects to most mobile phones and laptops and is a great way to see into those difficult, sometimes impossible-to-access spaces on work sites.

The magnet and hook are also great for retrieving small screws that are accidently dropped down small gaps that are hard to get to. Costs just £19.99 from Amazon.

6. Stud Finder Electric Stud Detector

stud finder

This Intey Stud finder is a great addition to any electricians tool box. It allows you to save time by easily finding the stud center and edges, accurately locates metal pipes, live wire, stud, wooden frames, rebars and joists which are hidden behind walls, floors and ceilings. We spotted this one on Amazon for a special price of £19.99.

7. Magnetic Wristband

magnetic wrist band

This is a great tool gadget gift for your sparky mate. The wristband has powerful magnets for holding screws, nails, bolts and small tools, which allows them to keep their hands free whilst working. I’m sure they will love this time saving tool, which will cut those trips back and forth to the toolbox or climbing up and down ladders! £15.99 from Amazon.

8. Insulated Travel Mug

Insulated Travel Mug

This is the perfect gift for on-the-move electricians. We like this and think the message will make them smile. It’s great for keeping their beverage hot or cold for hours and has a spill-resistant and convenient carry handle on lid. Costs £15.00 from Cafe Press.

9. Rechargeable Head Torch

Rechargeable Head Torch

We have been told that this is often a life safer, not only does this allow sparkies to work with both hands free but it also means they never work in their own shadow or have a light shining in their eyes. It also has an adjustable head lamp that swivels through 90°. We found this one on Electricians Direct for at a reduced price of £47.87. Our friends at Electricians Direct have offered an additional discount of 5% off this item when you quote discount code ED52017.

10. Electrician's Premium Tool Kit

Electricians tool kit

If you know an electrician who is starting out and want to spend a bit more, then this would be the perfect gift for them. This 19 piece tool kit has everything they could need. The kit includes combicutter, sidecutters, screwdrivers, 5 metre measuring tape, junior hacksaw, automatic wire stripper, lock knife and more! all complete in a handy tool case. Costs £186.00 from Edwardes.


We think any electrician would be happy to receive any of the items listed above. We also hope this has given you some gift idea inspiration.  Happy shopping!

Categories: tools, christmas, electrician, gift ideas

Noemi Willenbockel Case Study

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 6th December 2017

case study

Name: Noemi Willenbockel

Courses: City & Guilds 2392-10 Inspection & Testing Course

Noemi recently completed a 4 year MEng degree in Engineering with a specialisation in Electrical Engineering, particularly renewable energy technologies. She is now working as a graduate electrical engineer for a company dealing with the delivery of major infrastructure projects.

What is your reason for training?

My reason for training is to develop my skills and gain a better understanding of how electrical installations are designed and tested according to regulations. My educational background focused heavily on the science of electricity generation, transmission and distribution but didn’t teach me about the practicalities of installing a safe electrical system and the governing regulations involved in this. Learning more about how to apply the 17th edition to verify an installation will be hugely beneficial for my current work and future career.

Tell us about why you choose to become an electrician?

While I am not training to become an electrician, I chose to specialise in Electrical Engineering when studying a general engineering course as I was excited by the wide variety of potential work in the electrical industry and the key role of electricity in securing sustainable energy for the future.

How long have you been working in the electrical industry?

I have been working for 3 months now, since September 2017, following 4 years at university.

Tell us about your current job?

My current job is a Project Engineering role, which involves reviewing electrical designs for low voltage power installations and overseeing the progression of the project from the design stage, through to construction and then testing, commissioning and handover.

Why did you decide to take the 2392-10 Inspection & Testing Course and how will this help you in your career?

I chose to attend this course to better understand the requirements for inspection and testing of electrical installations, as this is a key part of the commissioning process on any project. I specifically chose the City & Guilds 2392 course as I am new to testing and had no real practical experience. I wanted to develop my hands-on testing skills to become more familiar with electrical installations in a practical sense as my education to-date has been very theoretical. Learning to use real testing equipment on a sample installation will help me better visualise the design drawings I regularly review at work.

What other courses are you hoping to attend at Trade Skills 4U and why?

I would like to attend the City & Guilds 2396 Electrical Design course. Further knowledge of the design process will also help me in my current role of reviewing designs completed by others, as well as better qualifying me to complete my own designs in potential future job roles.

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

I had a very good week at Trade Skills 4U. I felt that the course was of a suitable level, challenging enough to keep me fully engaged the entire time but with enough time to take in the course material so that I felt prepared for the assessments at the end of the week. I enjoyed the facilities, getting to practice tests on the demo boards, and found the overall atmosphere of the centre enjoyable.

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

The best part of my new career so far has been the wide variety in my day to day work, I have had the opportunity to learn a lot in a short space of time and it’s been great to work on a real life project after many years of studying.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are to continue to grow in my job role, developing more experience on project to work towards becoming a chartered Engineer. I would like to work on a range of infrastructure projects, getting to be involved in the whole process of a job from start to finish.

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

My advice would be to not feel intimidated by the stereotypes of the electrical industry being heavily dominated by men. Throughout my time studying, and now working, in Engineering I haven’t felt out of place as a woman or underestimated.

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

I have yet to experience any particular negatives of working in a typically male dominated industry. It can be very noticeable at work sometimes how few women there are around in similar job roles to me but I haven’t felt as if I’ve been treated differently because of this. If anything, I’ve felt a lot of support as in general the industry appears to keen to attract and retain women in Engineering roles.

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

In my limited experience in the electrical industry, I believe that while it is very male dominated, this is largely to do with tradition rather than a lack of opportunities for women. Historically careers in the electrical industry haven’t been encouraged as an option for young women thinking about their future. If this were to change then maybe the industry could become more balanced.

Categories: training, qualifications, case study

6 ways to protect yourself against tool theft

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 29th November 2017

Tool theft

Tool theft is on the rise again! 

Tool theft is a real problem for tradespeople, and once again it is featuring heavily in the news. For those unfortunate to have been affected by this will know that being without them is not only extremely stressful but also very expensive, usually costing the victim hundreds, if not thousands in lost tools, stock and also van repairs. Also, the police have warned that thieves will often return to the scene of the crime after a few months in the knowledge that your tools will have been replaced with brand new ones!

Whilst insurance cover does help there is still the time and inconvenience of having to replace items that have taken years to build up. On top of that there is the loss of revenue because you won’t have the tools to be able to complete your work.

Protecting your tools

One of the biggest issues for electricians is the security of their tools, and keeping light fingered thieves away from them can be challenging.

We would always recommend removing tools from vans overnight, however this is not really practical for most tradesmen especially if you have nowhere else to store them. So what should you do?

Take a stand against tool theft

Tools are essential to any tradesman, so it’s really important that you make sure you hold on to them!

The harder you make it for your tools to be got at, the less likely thieves are to make off with them. There are a few simple steps you can take to protect your tools and also to help recover them should they be stolen:

Photograph your tools to be able to identify them if they are found by the police

Personalise your tools by etching your name on them or use a bright coloured paint to make them easily identifiable

Keep a note of serial numbers and other data

Use stickers and signs to advertise that your tools are marked as this sends out a powerful warning to any would-be-thieves

Make sure you are insured, check with your Public Liability insurance to see if your tools are covered

Don’t forget to make sure you securely lock your van every time you leave it, even if it’s just for a few minutes

Don’t leave your tools in the van overnight

Park your van with the doors against a wall

Identify your tools

Thieves can be deterred by marking your tools and it also helps recover your items in the event of theft. If they are stolen, the thief will have a much harder time selling them on if they have some form of identification marks on them.

We have researched some of the best methods to protect your tools, which we hope you will find useful and have listed them below:

tool theft

1. SelectaDNA Tools and Equipment Kit

Each SelectaDNA property marker and spray contains a unique DNA code. These codes allow police to identify property and link criminals to the crime. The kit contains a bottle of microdots, 50 laminated warning labels, 6 laminated rectangular warning labels, 1 ‘DNA marking in use’ warning sticker, 4 window stickers, 1 exterior warning sticker, 1 UV keyring light and lifetime registration on the Secure Asset Register. Retail price is £59.90. 

2. Alpha Dot Pack

Alpha Dots is an anti-theft system which consists of tiny microdots – just 1mm in diameter – printed with a unique PIN (Personal Identification Number) registered to you. The dots come in a glue filled applicator and are simply painted onto your valuables with a small brush. Once applied, the glue is virtually impossible to remove. Your marked items are then registered free on the TRACELINE national database, making it easy to identify the owner of any recovered stolen property. This pack usually retails at £24.99.

3. Smart Water 

Smart Water offer a kit for tradesmen containing a pot of forensic fluid, 54 tamper proof stickers and van stickers for windows and bumpers. It’s a great way to identify your tools. The way this works is that it all glows green under a UV light. The retail price for this kit is £99 per year.

Secure your van

Relying on the standard factory fitted van locks to protect your livelihood might not be enough. By choosing to install extra security to your van could help reduce the chances of thieves targeting your vehicle.

tool theft

4. Van SlamLock

These are van locks that automatically lock when the van door is shut requiring no key to lock. This can provide maximum security against opportunist theft from an unlocked van, eliminating the possibility of driver error.

If required the van Slamlock can be used along side van deadlocks on the same key and also has anti pick features for added security. 

tool thefr

5. Arma Plate

Arma Plates are great to use to repair damage caused by thieves and can also be fitted to help prevent future thefts. The Arma Plate system comprises of two plates, a stainless steel plate that protects the vulnerable area around the lock or handle and this is bolted to an internal plate with locking nuts and is suitable for most vans. 

tool theft

6. SlamPlate

If your van has been vandalised and the handles have either been broken or removed then the SlamPlate van lock could be a good option to secure your van from further unauthorised access.

The lock is constructed from steel plate coated in a black powder coat, or stainless steel, said to give a superior level of van lock security. The SlamPlate van security lock has been designed to be door specific and is available for a number of vans.

Prevention is better than cure!

It’s fair to say that most thieves are opportunists, looking for an easy way to steal. However, they can be deterred, so make it harder for them and help protect yourself from being their next victim.

Many insurance companies offer discounts for customers who mark their property, particularly for vehicle and motorcycle insurance, so it’s worth checking with your insurer.

Categories: tool theft

James Lovett - Case Study

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 22nd November 2017

case study

Name: James Lovett

Courses Studied: C&G2365 Level 2/3, Bronze Package

We caught up with one of our students James Lovett following his training with us to ask how he got on and to find out what his plans are for the future.

Why did you decide to train with us?

After leaving the army I decided to train with Trade Skills 4U as I was able use my ELCAS credits to put towards my resettlement training, also I had heard good things about Trade Skills 4U.

Why did you decide to take the C&G 2365 course and how will this help you?

I decided to take the 2365 course to get a step closer to becoming a fully qualified electrician. I needed to do this in a quicker time period due to having a mortgage etc. I currently work full-time at Gatwick Airport as a Maintenance Electrician and I hope that his course will open more doors for my career.

Tell us about why you chose to become an electrician?

My brother is an electrician and I had a taste of what it was like, so I decided to take my first steps and booked the Bronze Domestic Installer course with Trade Skills 4U. This gave me a good foot in the door to the electrical industry where I worked for a year and a half as a domestic electrician. I then managed to get a job with TA Boxall & Co Ltd as a Maintenance Electrician.

How long have you been working in the electrical industry?

I have been in the industry now for just over 3 years.

What difference has training made to you?

The training has made a massive difference. Now I can go on to complete my NVQ and AM2 Assessment and become a fully qualified confident electrician with the company I work for.

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

The facilities are very good at Trade Skills 4U, with rest areas, free tea and coffee etc. and great support from the tutors.

Please tell us about your training with Trade Skills 4U. What were your best bits, difficult bits, interesting bits?

My best bits were definitely the workshop weeks, putting what you learn on paper into practice and testing it to prove it all works. The difficult bits for me were the maths but with great tutors who explain things really well everything fell into place. The whole course is interesting as you are learning constantly and as you get through each week more and more bits all fall into place.

We would like to thank James for sharing his training experience with us and wish him the very best of luck for the future.

Categories: training, qualifications, case study