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Trade Skills 4U Campaign Increases Number of Women Entering Electrical Trade

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 29th May 2018

women in electrical

Here at Trade Skills 4U, we are keen to promote the electrical industry as an inclusive career for everyone from all backgrounds. However, there’s always room for improvement, and it’s still an industry that isn’t gender proportional, with only roughly 1 in every 1,000 electrical contractors a woman.

Overcoming the challenges of working in a male dominated electrical sector

It’s also fair to say that for many years the electrical sector has suffered from a poor reputation with its ‘blokey bloke’ attitude on site from wolf-whistling at any woman that happened to pass by, coupled with the notion that women couldn’t possibly do the physical work of their male counterparts. However, it’s encouraging to know that attitudes are finally changing in the construction industry and more and more women are now entering the sector.

Employers are also now recognising that women can make a real contribution to their workforce and are far more aware of their legal responsibilities regarding equality at work thus ensuring that unacceptable behaviour is no longer tolerated on site.

Lets hear it for the girls!

We are proud to report that since November last year the number of female students training with us has risen from 1.4% to a very respectful 3.7%. We can attribute this to being at the forefront of promoting opportunities for women to enter the trade and also to our involvement in a campaign with electrical wholesalers QVS Direct as part of their Women in Electrical campaign. The campaign aims to encourage more women to train in the electrical industry as well as help those who are already there.

At Trade Skills 4U not only do we encourage female students to train with us, we also currently employ 3 female tutors who deliver courses to both new entrants and experienced electricians at our centres nationwide.

Women in Electrical campaign

One of our electrical tutors, Liliane Branca, was interviewed as part of the campaign, showing that there are many different roles available within the electrical industry if you don’t like the thought of being an electrician in the traditional sense.

Speaking about her own role in the industry training new recruits, Liliane said: “I felt like I needed a complete career change. I was working in social services but I wanted a job with less emotional involvement. It was a huge gamble but it really paid off. I got a job on a site and then went to college twice a week in the evening for three years while working. When recession hit the construction industry hard, I started teaching electrical installation and now I teach full time.”

When asked what advice she would give to other women considering the electrical industry as a career, Liliane replied: “I think it’s essential for women, and men to be honest, to remember that we can do anything. The most important thing to remember is that if you want to do something, don’t let anything get in your way. Just go for it and put everything into it. If you do that, you’ll succeed whether you’re a man or a woman.”

You can read Liliane’s full interview here and if you would like to read some case studies of women who have trained here at Trade Skills 4U, we have interviews with graduate electrical engineers Noemi Willenboeckel and Kelly Vincent of Kelly Electrics.

As well as Liliane’s interview, there are a whole host of other interviews with electricians, business owners, and industry bodies, all giving their advice and thoughts on how the industry can make itself more inclusive.

Two other interviewees from the campaign, Coleen Everitt of Alto Electrical and Natasha Clark-Withers of Get Her Trade, recognise that there is a high demand specifically for female electricians.

Natasha commented: “From the research we have done, there is a massive demand for tradeswomen, and we need to encourage women to join the industry to cope with the demand.”

As to why there is such a need, Coleen said: “I think a big part of it is a safety and trust angle. I’m easy to talk to and people like that. Many people may be more comfortable having a woman in their house rather than a man.’”

What about the physical side of the job?

People come in all shapes and sizes and when thinking of entering the electrical sector some women worry that if they are too small they might struggle with the physical side of things. However, that can actually be an advantage as electricians often need to fit into small and crowded spaces, and a small frame will allow you to get to places that a larger frame would struggle to get to.

You will also find that there is some heavy lifting, although generally only up to fifty pounds or so, which is less than in other trades. But you will find that you'll get fitter with experience and time.

If you’re interested in electrical training of any kind, use our course finder to what courses we have available. Alternatively please call one of our friendly Course Advisers on 0800 856 4448.

Categories: electrician training, female electricians, women in construction

Trade Skills 4U & JTL partner to deliver quality electrical apprenticeships

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 8th September 2011

National Electrical Provision enhanced by New Training Partnership

Trade Skills 4U and JTL have announced a partnership to deliver NVQ Diploma qualifications to electrical apprentices looking to become fully qualified in the electrical industry.

Thanks to this new agreement, the two organisations are working together to offer the most recognised electrician’s NVQ qualification of its kind in the UK. The government, ECA, JIB, JTL and Summit skills all recognise it as a robust route to becoming a fully qualified electrician.

Candidates looking to train within this industry will now be able to benefit from this collaboration as they will effectively receive the ‘best bits’ from two nationally recognised organisations, allowing the partners to focus their energy on what they do best.

The theoretical and practical training required to complete the knowledge components of the qualification will be conducted within Trade Skills 4U’s state of the art training facilities in Gatwick, West Sussex. Candidates will be able to take advantage of the centre’s fully equipped classrooms complete with workshop areas built to enhance student learning. The assessments and NVQ visits after the training course will then be delivered nationwide via an assigned JTL assessor.

Carl Bennett, Managing Director of Trade Skills 4U said: “As one of the UK’s leading independent electrical training provider’s, we bring an expertise in making people aware of the opportunities available to them along with the right customer service attitude needed to drive a retail business where the customer is key. This is a great opportunity for us as well as the students to come together and build the best training programme on offer today.”

Caroline Turner, Director of Operations for JTL added “We are delighted to have entered into this arrangement with Trade Skills 4U which we envisage can only bring benefits to the apprentices and their employers. Both organisations place strong emphasis on the quality of provision and support and we very much look forward to working together to creating innovative ways of meeting our employer partners’ requirements for training and assessment long into the future.”

Trade Skills 4U have many fully and partially funded electrician apprenticeships available for those wishing to become trained as fully qualified electricians.

About Trade Skills 4U LTD

Trade Skills 4U LTD is the UK’s largest independent electrical & renewable energy training provider based in Gatwick, West Sussex. The company established in 2005 and has since added a dedicated renewable energy training centre to its brand. The centre houses Englands first and only single storey training roof created solely for the use of students training to install Solar PV. Trade Skills 4U offer a range of electrical courses and renewable energy courses for those looking to train to become fully qualified electricians, domestic installers, renewable energy installers and sales and management consultants. 

For more information please contact: Chloe Bennett on chloe.bennett@tradeskills4u.co.uk or call 01293 529777.


Categories: company news, partnerships, electrician training, apprenticeships

One for the ladies

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 21st February 2011

The lack of women in trades

There has always been a lack of women in trade industry, particularly in the electrical side of things. As career choices happen so young with apprenticeships and GCSE choices, electrical training career opportunities don’t attract girls at that age because they are simply not the target audience. Gender stereotypes are not as blue and pink as they have been and to inspire women to become part of trade as a whole there needs to be a change early on.  There is no reason why these professions should be so stereotyped, there's a shortage of decent electricians and part of the reason must be that 50% of the population aren’t choosing to train in the non-traditional services. Young women need to be shown the benefits of a well-paid job and a rewarding career.

So what attracts men to the trade?

Every job has their pro’s and con’s so what makes this type of job so well received by men? Boys love their toys; men often like to tinker, tweak, problem solve, fix and work hands on. Electrical contracting often means a great variety of when and where you work as well as what you do on a day to day basis. An obvious attraction to this trade is the wage packet, electricians are well paid and depending on where you are located you could earn £40,000 PA. However none of these attractions are specific to men they are simply more specific to the stereo typical male.

Women in the trade

For many women in the trade they have used their gender as a marketing tool. This usually involves labelling men as cowboy’s and suggesting that by employing a lady you will get the job done more quickly, tidily, politely and sometimes at lower prices . This stereotyping of male electricians is not greatly received by many in the trade and rightly so. Although there are some rogue traders these stereo types definitely do not apply to all male electricians.

However despite the fact these stereo types are mainly unfounded the there is definitely a demand for female domestic electrical installers as many women do prefer to open their door to someone from the same sex.

The NICEIC’s Emma McCarthy “There is now a good business case to employ more women. Consumers sometimes prefer to hire female contractors and our research highlighted that some female homeowners admit to feeling intimidated when having to deal with a male electrician.”

Other marketing aspects for women can relate to religion, in the Muslim community, husbands prefer to have a lady in the house rather than a man.

Training together can help men and women

Interestingly, many trainers have noticed that the whole class benefits from mixed lessons. Females tend to achieve above average and when taught together in a mixed environment there is a direct improvement in males.

Andy Hay-Ellis from Trade Skills 4U says “Whether it is a natural effort to impress or prove themselves we are not sure but our instructors have noticed that classes tend to be less boisterous and test scores were higher almost every time a woman was present on the course. However even in this day and age we still find many of our classes do not contain a single woman”.

The future

Recent figures indicate that ‘less than one in every 1,000 electrical contractors is female.’ This has plunged since 2003 when there was an average of one female electrical contractor to every 600 men. To redress this imbalance NICEIC has recently launched its ‘Job for the girls’ campaign.

Emma McCarthy, said, “This image of our industry as an exclusive one is dangerous. If we are to plug the skills shortage gap then we can’t afford to dismiss half the working population.”

As part of the campaign, The NICEIC is working on a practical guide to help raise awareness and promote equality whilst giving its accredited members guidance. This scheme is hoping to recruit more young females into its new apprentice academy. Hopefully the future sees a gender balance in the more male dominated trades, as gender certainly doesn’t define capability.


Categories: electrician training

New Apprenticeships

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 18th February 2011

Trade Skills 4U partner up with Chichester College to provide quality training apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are an excellent way of gaining qualifications and workplace experience. As an employee, you can earn as you learn and you gain practical skills from the workplace and learn in a way that is best suited to you – through hands on experience on the job.

As the Apprenticeship week (7th-11th February 2011) draws to a close, the ‘Million Extra scheme’ is officially launched. This scheme, sponsored by City&Guilds, aims to help lead a talent revolution by bringing people together to ensure that one million people start an apprenticeship by summer 2012, and shine and grow through them.

Extra is how they’re going to make it happen. They will create a range of inspiring programmes and support for training centres, employers and learners, all to help achieve the mission.

Trade Skills 4U are doing their bit and have just partnered up with Chichester College in West Sussex to provide a range of apprenticeships. Both employers and employees can benefit from electrical NVQ traineeships which are available for people aged 16 and over covering the following areas:

City & Guilds Electro technical (levels 2 & 3)


Functional Skills

Apprenticeships really can be a win-win situation for both employers and employees. Apprentices also offer an affordable solution for your work force needs, not just in the short term but also in the longer term as they grow with your business. Employers gain quality skilled labour, that house your own practices and skills. These two combined provide invaluable teaching for the employee and the ideal workforce for the employer.

For an information pack please contact info@tradeskills4u.co.uk or simply call 01293 529777.

Categories: company news, electrician training, apprenticeships

A Company Like No Other

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 18th February 2011

Everyone has their 15 minutes of fame, but getting noticed for the wrong reasons tends to last a lot longer than that.

The reason this is being brought to attention is because we seem to be getting confused with another competitor.

We would like to remind our customers of who we are, and why we are the UK’s largest and most successful electrical training centre.

We at tradeskills4u are very proud of our brand. We have been established since 2005, aiming to provide our customers with the knowledge, understanding and approval of our awarding bodies so that they are fully equip with the skills we promised them. Armed with these skills, a customer can begin carving their path as a qualified tradesman.

We have a dedicated team of staff who give honest and constructive advice to help you choose the right course for you. We are all dedicated to your success.

We house a professional and well experienced team that practice in our brand new state of the art facilities.

We are proud of the courses we run and of the instructors that teach them.

We have continued to use our friendly and fresh approach to adapt to the times, and now offer renewables courses for this eco-friendly age.

We hold examinations that have credibility and are truly a thorough test of the knowledge gained here.

We are fully accredited by City & Guilds, EAL and NICEIC, offering real world training by the most interesting and experienced instructors

We deliver ‘Platinum training’ says EAL.

We monitor our press on forums and value it. Tell us how we can get better.

If you have any queries old or new please be sure to give us a call 01293 529777, we’re always happy to hear from you.


Categories: company news, renewable energy, electrician training

Make £1,000 a year by generating electricity

Posted by Chris Thompson on 3rd August 2010

A number of business owners have been looking at generating their own electricity since April 1, when the government introduced considerable financial incentives for those who create their own solar, wind and water power. Participants in the Feed-in Tariff (Clean Energy Cashback) Scheme are paid above market rates for all the electricity they produce.

Since the scheme was introduced, the number of small-scale power generation devices has multiplied five-fold.  

However, take-up of the scheme is still some way behind government targets. There have been only 3,721 installations in the UK since the scheme began, with solar panels representing by far the biggest proportion, accounting for 3,634 of the total, according to the latest figures from Ofgem, the energy regulator.  

Some 83 wind turbines have been installed and only four water-powered generators. The total represents less than 0.5% of the 780,000 installations the government hopes will result from the scheme by 2020.  

“That number is clearly disappointing but it is very early days and I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions just yet,” said Greg Barker, minister for climate change and energy. 

 “For the average consumer this is an entirely new proposition and it’s just not on their radar screen,” said Barker, adding that the last government “barely promoted it at all and certainly wasn’t enthusiastic for it”.  

Philip Wolfe, a veteran of the renewable energy industry who set up the solar power division of BP, was one of the consultants who helped devise the scheme. He believes the potential income from feed-in tariffs is only beginning to register with most people.  

“Feed-in tariffs have put a bomb under the sector,” he said. “There is a very wide range of people interested, from individuals to businesses and hospitals to schools.”  

Wolfe now works with Ownergy, http://www.ownergy.co.uk/ a consultancy that is specialising in setting up projects to capitalise on the scheme. He is liasing with the landlord of a business park on a disused airfield near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, to install about 5,300 solar panels on an old runway.  

The 2MW facility will provide almost a third of the energy used by the 40 or so businesses on the site.  

Farmer Andrew Ingram installed 300 square metres of solar panels on the roof of his barn at Greenfield Farm in the Chiltern Hills in May.  

“It’s like having an oil well, where every gallon that comes out of the ground makes you a bit wealthier,” said Ingram, who makes most of his money selling 15,000 Christmas trees every year. “If it’s a hot sunny day I might go to the meter two or three times to see how it’s going — you become really interested in the weather.”  

Ingram spent £110,000 to buy and install 156 photovoltaic solar panels, but he has calculated he can make a profit of £180,000 thanks to a new green energy scheme.

Venture capitalists are also getting in on the act. Foresight Group is negotiating a deal with the Wyndham Hotel Group under which it would install solar panels on the roofs of up to 100 of its British hotels, including the Wyndham Grand in Chelsea.  

That’s just one of a number of projects the firm is looking at. Under these deals, Foresight would pay for and own the installations and reap a large portion of the revenues generated. In return, the host organisations would get up to half off their electricity bills.  

The returns will be much higher for most people who take part in the feed-in tariff schemes because they will install their own technology rather than host that of others.  

When all the elements are factored in, the average household should make £986 a year, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, a figure that will rise each year in line with inflation. Most households can expect to use half of the electricity they generate.  

The scheme allows for much bigger installations, accommodating projects generating anything up to 5MW — enough to power 1,100 houses.  

Of course, many people will not be in a position to fork out the £8,000 needed by the average household, let alone the sums required for a larger installation, to enable them to benefit from what seems to be a very generous scheme.  

It’s a point that Barker concedes: “Too few financial institutions have engaged properly in this sector... I will be looking at whether I need to bang the drum more by promoting the opportunities.”     

Under the Feed-in Tariff Scheme, a typical household would install a 2.5kW system of photovoltaic solar panels for about £8,000. This would guarantee a payout of about £25,000 over the tariff’s 25-year life that would be index-linked — a tax-free profit of about £17,000 in today’s money. The profits on a similar-sized wind or water system are similar, although tariff lengths and payouts vary.  

The owner of a typical household solar installation receives 41.3p for every kilowatt hour of electricity generated, whether they use it themselves or “export” it — when the panels are generating more power than the owner needs, they receive an additional 3p per kilowatt hour by selling it to the local electricity grid.  

Every kilowatt hour generated and used in the home is one less drawn from the grid, adding to any saving. 

Categories: renewable energy, solar pv, electrician training

Inspector unearths potentially dangerous plug

Posted by Chris Thompson on 30th July 2010

The importance of Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) and its value in identifying potentially dangerous components has been underlined by a recent incident reported by Bob Austen, owner of Pattestingman of Ramsbottom near Bury. 

As his company’s name suggests, Bob specialises in Portable Appliance Testing. He is C&G 2337 (Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment) qualified. 

He uses a Seaward Primetest 350 which he bought from Acute Sales.  

The problem came to light when he was working in an institution with about 3,000 items to inspect over all the premises. This included a number of computer suites. Each suite had about 30 personal computers each with associated monitor – meaning 60 power leads needed inspecting in each room. The computers were metal boxed, and require an earth as class-1 equipment. 

The first room passed all the tests with no significant problems but in the second room every lead failed on earth continuity. 

Bob returned to the first suite and repeated the tests on some leads. These passed the tests, as before - proving his Primetest 350 was working. Clearly there was a problem associated with the leads in the second suite. 

The leads were marked as BS 1363 compliant but on closer inspection the earth pin had an insulating sleeve moulded on to it. BS 1363 expects the line and neutral pins to have insulating sleeves. It allows the metal earth pin to be replaced by a similarly dimensioned insulated shutter opening device (ISOD) for class-2 equipment which has double insulation and does not have an earth connection. The plugs with the insulating sleeve on the earth pin do not conform to either of these conditions. They are clearly intended for use with class-1 (earthed) equipment and yet cause a potentially dangerous condition. 

When the plug is inserted into a 13 Amp socket, the earth connection in the socket may grip the insulated part of the pin. 

This is what happened when it was plugged into the Primetest 350 and the tester indicated, correctly, that there was no earth continuity. The user had fitted these leads from new and thought, not unreasonably, that the equipment was properly earthed and safe. In fact, the equipment was not earthed and was potentially dangerous. Over 100 of these faulty leads were found and replaced throughout the establishment. They were not confined to the single computer suite and had migrated to all parts of the site. This case shows the importance of regular Portable Appliance Testing, performed by a qualified person using the right test equipment.

Categories: electrician training

New building regulations prosecution

Posted by Chris Thompson on 30th July 2010

A Carlisle builder has been ordered by magistrates to pay a total of £590 including costs, after pleading guilty to failing to comply with building regulations covering the installation of electrics during the renovation of a property. 

Simon Bond of S Bond Associates was charged with failure to comply with building regulations, in particular, making reasonable provision in the design, installation, testing and inspection of electrical installation in order to protect persons from fire or injury, contrary to Regulation 4 and Schedule 1, Part 1 of the Building Regulations 2000 and Section 35 of the Building Act. 

Mr Bond admitted that he was not a qualified electrician and that the electrical installation at the property was left unsafe.

Categories: electrician training

Thieves target sub-stations for scrap

Posted by Chris Thompson on 11th May 2010

It used to be the lead from the church roof but theives are targetting sub-stations across the country as a source of scrap copper.

Thieves stole copper wiring from a sub-station in the Westhoughton area of Bolton. This resulted in electrical fires in more than 60 homes after power surges to domestic appliances. Televisions and microwaves were among the items damaged by the surges in the early hours of the morning.

Paul Etches, from Greater Manchester Fire Service, told Sky News: "The calls started at just after 8am reporting smoke and small appliance fires".

The local electricity supplier has switched off the power to 400 homes while engineers carry out repairs.  

This is not the first time this particular sub-station has been targeted by copper thieves. Mark Williamson, from United Utilities, said: "This latest break-in was similar to one carried out in the area 10 days ago. Not only did they risk their own lives, but they put the lives of nearby residents at risk too.”  

It is a problem faced by almost every power supplier and seems to spike at certain times of the year, but with the recession, the frequency of thefts has increased.  

You may think that this is a fairly uncommon event but the price of copper has increased massively since Christmas, and as a result thefts of the metal have shot up across the country, with substations in particular being targeted.  

What the thieves are doing is removing the earthing from the supply network neutral which results in fluctuations in the supply voltage due to changes in load characteristics, which in turn causes voltage surges resulting in damaged equipment and possible fire risk as demonstrated by the events in Bolton.

It’s not just copper that is being stolen. Thieves are also targeting such things as the catalytic converter on your van which can contain metals including Platinum, Palladium or Rhodium. There have also been reports this week of drain covers in Southampton being stolen.

Categories: electrician training

Did you know that ........

Posted by Chris Thompson on 18th November 2009

Health and Safety Executive

From the 1st September 2009, the Health and Safety Executive began to make guidance materials from the HSG; HSR; and L series available as freely downloadable PDF documents. Many of these documents have relevance to electrical contractors and domestic installers. 

In all HSE intend to make around 230 publications available, with some 50 or so of its most popular titles already freely available in 'printer friendly' format. The remaining 180 or so publications will be converted to this format by 31 March 2010.

If you are contemplating joining one of the Competent Persons Schemes you will need a copy of HSR 25 (Memorandum of guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989). If you purchase a hard copy it would set you back £11.50 but the download is free! So no excuse not to have a copy to hand for you inspection.

This move by HSE to make such publications freely available is welcomed by all at TS4U. Some things in life are free!

Further details may be obtained from www.hse.gov.uk/news/2009/hse-books.htm

Categories: electrician training