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Brand New: Trade Skills 4U Videos

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 30th March 2012

I hope you’ve all made the most of the sunshine this week, especially as the weather is supposed to return to a ‘normal chilly march’ this weekend. #shockhorror

But don’t fret! Obviously because we’re cool considerate cats at Trade Skills 4U, we anticipated this downturn and know that you’ll be bored at home when the sun no longer shines as bright on English soil, so we’ve been busy uploading marvellous videos for you to watch.

For those who visit the site regularly, you might have spotted where we’ve put them but for you newbies let me explain a little bit about the videos and where they are.

So far we’ve uploaded;

A Domestic Installer Video:

Our Renewable Centre Walk around Video

Trade Skills 4U Review Videos

The reason we’re building on our video gallery is to help show you how we do things here and exactly why we go the extra mile to ensure that you’re competent and confident in your skills with your training after you leave.

Our Domestic Installer Video aims to demystify the process of qualifying as a domestic installer and describes the packages that we have put together to help you get qualified with ease. These packages are our most popular courses and are now endorsed by the likes of NICEIC as they believe they are credible and reliable routes into the industry.

Our Renewable energy centre walk around video is similar to our electrical centre walk around which we know you guys know and love. It features our MD, Carl Bennett as the entire centre was built from an idea he had about constructing the best renewable energy centre in the UK; and we think he’s done just that. In the video, you’ll see our wide range of first class facilities all purposely created for you and your benefit to ensure you get the most out of your learning experience. Mr Bennett believes that Solar PV installation is carried out AT HEIGHT so it should be taught AT HEIGHT and this theory is embedded into every technology we teach in the centre. From our rainwater harvesting tank, flushing toilet and hot water tanks to our first storey timber framed training roof and real PV cells, we hope you’ll agree that we’ve got it all.

Our video reviews are a brand new series of videos that we’re doing to help bring another level of reality to the feedback reviews we currently upload on our website. We know reviews are so important to a customer when choosing their training provider so want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to be open and honest about our training here. We don’t want them to be Hollywood quality or airbrushed to the nines, so be assured the entire process is carried out in house and at a moment’s notice. We’ll ask a course during the week and see who is up for a couple of minutes in front of the camera and telling us honestly what they think of everything we do here. We’ll ask customer about our facilities, instructors, whether they know any good jokes and more and it really helps us to see what they actually think. Be assured, and you can probably tell, we don’t edit any ugly bits out so they really are warts and all; if they highlight anything we need to work on, then we’ll blinking work on it!

We’ve got three in the bank with more to come so if you are thinking about training with us they might be worth a watch:

Kevin Hird – Domestic Installer Course Platinum Package

Richard Thompson – Domestic Installer Bronze Package

Brian McCann – Domestic Installer Bronze Package

We’d like you’re input?

If you would like to see anything in video about our centre or would like to see a video review on a particular course or have a question answered – get in touch. Call 01293 529777 and ask for Chloe or email chloe@tradeskills4u.co.uk.


Categories: company news, reviews

Solar PV: Rate of Return is Still Attractive

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 28th March 2012

Solar PV: Rate of return is still very attractive for consumers

Cuts to the feed-in-tariff have gained more than enough public exposure this year, and a vast majority of this has been quite detrimental to the industry and left a rather unpleasant taste in everyone’s mouth. However the combination of price drops in installation costs and equipment has actually created a similar financial return as before.

Research conducted by the UK’s only solar panel comparison site, CompareMySolar, suggests that installation prices have dropped by 50% since January 2011 and typical 4kWp systems that used to ‘cost £15,000 can now be bought for around £7,500.’ Price drops like these are mostly ‘driven by much lower module prices and increased competition.’

Returns improve to 2011 level

The impact of these price drops provide us with evidence that suggests that the financial return for consumers is currently at similar levels as it used to be in the first half of 2011. ‘The graph shown illustrates this for an example roof in Exeter (south facing, optimal angle, no shading), where a 4kWp solar panel system is expected to generate around 4,000 kWh in the first year. If we assume the property consumes half the electricity generated in house and exports the other half to the grid, the expected year one payback is:

•         (43p FiT) 4,000 x 0.43 = £1,720 from Government feed-in tariff

•         (21p FiT) 4,000 x 0.21 = £840 from Government feed-in tariff

•         2,000 x 0.15 = £300 from electricity savings

•         2,000 x 0.03 = £60 from the export tariff.

The total year one payback used to be £2,080 on the 43p feed-in tariff, and is currently around £1,200 at the 21p rate. While this looks like a very large drop in financial return, please keep in mind prices halved as well. Combining these payback amounts with prices paid for the installation (based on the monthly price index) provides the more relevant perspective. The below graph shows that where year one payback used to be around 14-16 percent of the initial price in the first half of 2011, it currently is back at 16 percent. Therefore, solar panels are currently just as attractive as around June 2011.’

Help raise consumer awareness

Research of this kind suggests that consumers will be able to receive a similar rate of return of their PV installation investment despite the cuts in the feed-in-tariff from 43p to 21p. This news should help to put solar back on the map for a lot of consumers that have previously written it off for being ‘too expensive’ or for those heavily impacted by the negative press of the FiT cuts.

It’s important that we can continue to work together to explore the positives and promote benefits over this type of news. Attractive return rates can help build more consumer awareness and bring back demand for solar pv technology which is much needed for solar installers looking to maintain and build their business during 2012.

Research and image source@solarpowerportal.co.uk

Categories: solar pv, feed-in-tariff

Breaking News: Supreme Court rejects government’s feed-in tariff solar appeal

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 23rd March 2012

BREAKING NEWS: The Supreme Court has today thrown out the government's appeal against a previous ruling that deemed its controversial changes to solar feed-in tariff (FIT) incentives as unlawful.

This ruling means that companies who installed panels between December 2011 and March 2012 will receive the high feed-in-tariff rate of 43.3p kWh instead of the 21p/kWh initially proposed by the government.

This long awaited decision finally closes the door on the drawn out saga generated by the government and highlights their ‘unlawful’ attempt to cut the feed-in-tariffs (FiT’s) at an unprecedented rate last year.

Even though the decision is one step forward for solar, fresh cuts are anticipated as the FiT’s will undoubtedly continue to exceed its budget this year allowing the government to bring out a second round of cuts to the incentive scheme.

"The extra money DECC will now have to commit leaves us with serious concerns about the remaining FIT budget, which remains constrained under the Levy Control Framework," said Paul Barwell, chief executive at the Solar Trade Association.


Categories: decc, government, solar pv, feed-in-tariff

Ecobuild - the final day

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 22nd March 2012

The build up to Ecobuild was huge so I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I can't believe it's the final day at the enormous sustainable design event! We’ve met lots of big company names, small contractor businesses as well as plenty of individuals over the three days, all looking to grasp opportunities for themselves in this lucrative industry and making this whole experience an insightful one to say the least.

We’ve received lots of questions about EPC’s and the Green Deal as well as enquiries about Plumbing and Heating renewable energy courses which sort of shows the way in which demand is going. Obviously the launch of the RHI and the Green Deal is a contributing factor to the expected surge which makes an event like this all the more worthwhile to a training company like ourselves. We can use all of the information gained during the event, to make sure we’re best positioned to offer the courses to meet the demand.


Image above: our team on tuesday 21st March 2012 doing their thing at Ecobuild

Needless to say we thought it is a worthwhile event to anyone interested in this working or investing in this industryand as the final day is in full swing and we’re already planning for next year.

Highlights so far:

• Finally meeting all the great people (partners & contacts) we speak to on a day to day basis in person.

• Being able to talk to plenty of people about what they think of the FITs, RHI etc. and getting their honest view about the industry as a whole.

• Being greeted with ‘I’ve heard great things about your training,’ and ‘I’ve come all this way to see you guys,’ at our stand. It makes those long hours on our feet all worthwhile!

Favourite moment has to be:

• Seeing our colleagues image printed on the Di-log exhibition stand as he modelled one of their products on our solar PV training roof! 

Images Below (Di-Log stand and our colleague with the stand!)

Categories: ecobuild, company news, events

Visit Trade Skills 4U at Ecobuild!

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 20th March 2012

Today is our first day at Ecobuild, so if you're going to the world's biggest event for sustainable design & construction, make sure you visit us at stand S2715 and say hello!

We are located in the south hall by entrance S7 so nice and central as Ecobuild can certainly be a maze!

During the three day event, we'll have a rota of expert training staff & course advisors to make sure we're best placed to answer any questions you have about electrical or renewable energy training.

We have created two purpose built rigs complete with solar panels and inverters so that demonstration of the connection can be shown to those who are interested in finding out the specifics of the installation itself.

Visitors can also join us for a beer as we'll be giving away a free bottle of beer at our stand to those interested in speaking about electrical and renewable energy training! Who says exhibitions are boring? ;o)

We'll also be giving away a solar PV kit worth over £450.00, kindly donated by our sister company solarpvtools.co.uk so come and visit for your chance to win!


Categories: ecobuild, company news, events

What do electrician's eat for breakfast?

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 16th March 2012


This is a 'Denver Omelette' - looks good doesn't it? You can find out how to make it by visiting 




Categories: company news

Trade Skills 4U at Ecobuild March 2012

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 15th March 2012

We’ve been busy designing and printing an updated brochure plus we’ve created a new co-branded flyer with our fabulous sister company Solar PV Tools.co.uk.

As this will be our first time exhibiting at this event, we’re making sure we’re making the most of it! During the three days at the Excel Centre in London we’ll be showcasing our expert knowledge at stand S2715 with a selection of purpose built rigs of electrical installations. Visitors will be able to test their understanding of electrics whilst joining our electrician training specialists for a beer and a chat about the latest developments in the electrical and renewable energy training world.

We’ll also be giving away a FREE solar PV tool kit worthy nearly £500.00 which has been kindly donated to us by Solar PV Tools.co.uk.

The event, taking place from 20th – 22nd March 2012, will be attended by anyone and everyone interested in renewable energy technology and would be a perfect way for those interested in progressing from the electrical world to visit to see what this industry could offer. We’ll be bringing our finest electrcial course advisors and course tutors from Trade Skills 4U, so that potential customers will have the opportunity to ask both general enquiries and specific in depth questions about the training on offer.

Our Managing Director is excited to visit too; "We attended as delegates last year and realised EcoBuild was a pivotal event in the renewable energy calendar. As the UK's leading electrical and renewable training provider we felt it essential to have a presence at such an important show. We want to meet our customers old and new so they can get a feel for what Trade Skills 4U is all about and how we stand out from other training organisations."

"We are not just at EcoBuild to exhibit our renewables centre. People often forget the importance of the electrical installer in the renewable energy market and how many of these people already possess most of the skills required to drive the workforce forward."

As you may know and have seen, we invested heavily in our renewable energy training centre making it one of the most advanced of its kind in the UK. Our customers travel from far and wide to take advantage not only of the centre but of the exceptional tuition on hand for renewable and electrical courses.

If you are heading to EcoBuild 2012 at the excel in London, don't forget to pay us a visit at stand S2175 for a chance to win a free solar PV tool kit, enjoy a free beer or simply have a chat with our instructors or course advisors.


Categories: ecobuild, company news, events

Apprentice Taster Day Video

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 12th March 2012

Back in February we launched our electrical taster week course designed to give 16-19 year olds a chance to experience what working as an electrical apprentice could be like.


We have a range of video's available to view in our video gallery.

Following attendance at our taster day we have added details of many young apprentice applicants to the website. If you are thinking of taking on an apprentice feel free to contact us about anyone you see on our young persons job board.

Don't forget to check out our 2357 Course or any of our electrical courses online today.


Categories: ts4u taster events, events, apprenticeships

Are you ready to make The Green Deal?

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 7th March 2012

As electricians and domestic installers, you are blessed to work with one of the only energy resources that is not is declining supply. However, with any career, there is still the need to get ahead of the game and make sure you are continuing to offer the latest services and products.  Soon enough, you will find that your experience and qualifications will naturally lead you to offer renewable energy technologies such as Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Installation if they haven’t already done so.

This extra service, whether it is asked for by your customers, or because you are seeing your competitor’s branch out into this area, will allow you to take on a range of new skills that can be applied to both domestic projects and to maintain existing renewable energy installations.

So how should I stay ahead? Is solar the only skill I can offer?

Solar PV is a great offering and details of our BPEC Solar PV Course and City & Guilds 2399 Solar PV Course can both be found on our website but they are not the only renewable services an electrician can offer. Due to roll out in autumn 2012, the Green Deal aims to ‘provide over £250,000 jobs in the next 20 years,’ and suggests that there is plenty of opportunity for those who wish to become a certified Green Deal Installer and that want to take advantage of the sheer amount of work that could be on offer.

There are a variety of jobs that will be in demand to ensure this scheme is rolled out effectively and opportunities for the electrician, domestic installer and Solar PV installer include Green Deal Assessors and Green Deal Installers.

To qualify for the Green Deal Scheme, homeowners will need to have their properties assessed by a qualified Green Deal Assessor to ensure their home meets the necessary requirements to obtain government subsidies. Once an Energy Performance Certificate has been produced, a Green Deal report is written and the homeowners Green Deal plan is compiled. The Green Deal Provider will pay your Green Deal Finance directly to your chosen Green Deal Installer; they will have to install your energy efficiency recommendations in accordance with a strict Green Deal Code.

So where do I sign?

You can become a Green Deal Installer by having gained certification to the Green Deal Installer Standard (PAS 2030) by a Green Deal Certification Body. The NICEIC are currently undergoing the accreditation process and hope to launch their certification scheme mid-2012.

What now?

As soon as the certification process becomes available, we’ll going to be running the courses in our centre. If you’re interested in becoming a Green Deal Installer, fill in the form below and we’ll contact you when courses become available.

Categories: green deal, company news

Official Programme Mention

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 2nd March 2012

As a family business (and avid Warrington Wolves supporters) we wouldn't help but share something sentimental with you all on a Friday. 

Two weeks ago whilst we were sat in the club lounge in the Halliwell Jones Stadium, we got talking to the club owner about our company and the fact that most weekends our director makes his way up north to watch his team play. He was pretty impressed to say the least and couldnt help but commend our support by putting a little column about us in the match day programme.

Needless to say last weekend, Warry went on to smash Hull Kingston Rovers by a whopping 32 points leaving the final score of Warrington 42 and Hull KR 10.

We're looking forward to an interesting season this year and hope the boys manage to bring home the cup (again.)


Categories: company news