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Electricians Classed As New Affluent Workers

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 29th April 2013

It would appear that the UK is still dominated by class – and we don't mean schools on this occasion.

The culture of upper, middle and working class families may well conjure up images of Victorian life where the fascination of those belonging to a certain class according to their occupation or upbringing was rife.

According to a recent BBC survey of 160,000 people, it would appear that the class system is still very much around albeit in a very fragmented format.  Upon looking at the results it would seem to us that the whole system is really rather pointless and serves more as a novelty value for those who are interested in hanging on to Britain’s colourful past.

For all the tradespeople out there who have long wondered what the perception of the trade is from a non-tradespersons point of view may be pleased to know that electricians and plumbers have been defined as 'new affluent workers' who make up 15% of the population.  Yes new affluent workers are part of a handful of new classes that now make up Britain’s new class system!

So what has happened to the traditional upper, middle and working class?  Well they're still around, although unsurprisingly the upper class has re-named itself as the 'elite' which makes up just 6% of the population.   The traditional working class makes up 14% of the population, the average age of a person in the working class is 66 and are based in pre-industrial towns and although defined as the same class as before, it has been described as a throw back to a by gone era.  The 'precariat' class, which is described as deprived has broken away from working class.

The middle class has been broken up into fragments which mainly describe the occupation and age of the people within it.  Only a quarter of the population fits into the 'established middle class' which is made up of people within traditional occupations such as teachers, town planners and engineers.

In addition to the affluent middle class, there are various other fragments with equally interesting names.

* Emergent service sector – a group dominated by young graduates working in occupations such as HR and call centres. - 1 in 5 of the population work in occupations such as these.

* Technical middle class – made up of IT specialists and scientists described as well paid and highly skilled are also described as culturally disengaged and socially isolated, more likely to enjoy video games over opera.

There is such fragmentation of the middle class that there is constant blurring and of course its highly unlikely that anyone has really noticed they have been defined into one of these fragments.

Mind you, we at Trade Skills 4 U quite like the term new affluent workers, it sounds quite favourable especially as we've long since being dubbed as scruffy white van types!


Paul Wood "Jarrod Sammut & Matty Blythe The Ones to Watch"

Posted by Carl Bennett on 25th April 2013

Warrington Wolves will be at home for the first time in 4 weeks this Sunday. Looking ahead to this weekend's crunch clash against rivals Bradford Bulls Paul Wood has identified where he feels their strengths lie.

"They've been really impressive. I've watched them a few times on Sky this year. I think Francis Cummins has done a magnificent job there and it's good to see an English coach doing really well too. Especially with the troubles they had last year, I don't think people expected them to be in the position that they are in at the moment, sitting one point behind us. But credit to them they are playing really well as a team and are attacking really well so we need to be on the ball this week if we are going to put in a good performance against them.

"I think Jarrod Sammut has been a stand-out player for them; he'll try anything during a game you've got to really keep your eye on him. Then you've got Kearney at the back who's been playing really well - I think he's one of the leading try-scorers at the minute in Super League, he's scoring tries a lot. Matty Blythe when he's been playing for Bradford has been one of their performers - we've watched highlights and Matty's been involved in quite a lot of the plays, apparently he could be back playing against us this week so will be one to watch as well."

"It feels like forever since we played here last. Just looking out at the pitch it looks like it's done it some favours - it looks a lot firmer and a lot greener. Hopefully we'll have a nice sunny day, a firm pitch and a big crowd at the Halliwell Jones, and hopefully a good win."

Paul has been working really hard this season and took a well earned rest over the weekend where he watched the team play in the cup round from the sidelines. He was really impressed with the work the team put in and commented:

"It was a good performance. I was happy to see the two debutants, Glenn Riley and Danny Bridge, I thought they put in good performances and didn't look out of place whatsoever; they did really well. I thought we got a couple of issues right that we'd talked about through the week in terms of defending. Keighley attacked pretty well and threw a lot at us but we worked really hard in defence and got a few things sorted that we needed to which was pleasing but more importantly we got the win."

Moving forwards Warrignton Wolves are now looking to defend their Trophy and Paul believes his team have started the season well. 

"It's good to know we are the holders of it but it takes a lot of hard work to maintain it. We have done it before so we will be working really hard to do it again but we are looking one week at a time that's when we tend to be successful - when we look one week at a time and we don't look too far into the future. We've got a big game coming up against Salford at the Halliwell Jones which should be good. They are only 25 minutes down the road so it's a bit of a local derby for us. They've been a bit of bogey team for us over the years, they've always managed to turn us over when we've been expected to beat them but we have put some big scores in against them too so it should be an interesting game."

"We've started reasonably well. I think the expectations of Warrington, at the moment, are pretty high so a lot of people probably don't think we've done that well, but we've started okay. It tends to be this time of year that team's start gelling and start putting performances together. Once you get past that Easter period the league starts ironing itself out and you know which teams are going to be there or there about. Performance wise we are looking to kick on from here now and build some momentum hopefully."

As always we will be watching with baited breath and supporting Paul on Sunday. We are proud to sponsor such an impressive player.


Categories: paul wood, warrington wolves

Smart Meters, What's Happening?

Posted by Carl Bennett on 24th April 2013

Well, yesterday 23rd April 2013 rather than celebrate St Georges day as we like to do, I took one for the team and made my way to London to join the discussion at the Westminster Forum for Smart Meter rollout in Whitehall.

All the members of the power generation companies glitterati where in attendance. EDF. E.ON, British gas, BT, G4S, The DECC, Government Ministers, Lords, MP’s and many other interested parties including our humble selves. We were there to find out if the roll out of Smart meteres means work for our customers.

Here’s what we learned.

It’s definitely going ahead, its mandatory.

We are in the Foundation phase of the scheme, the mass roll out of installs happens in earnest from end 2014. ( By the way, earnest isn’t a place :- )

The target is 24 Million installs of meters to be done in a mass roll out by end of 2019.

That figure means its estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 installs need to be done a day!

They estimate the DECC (Dept Of Energy and Climate Change) that a single installer can complete 3.7 installs a day, and preferably this guy or girl would hopefully be qualified in Plumbing (Gas) and Electricity, and have some energy efficiency training and customer service skills.

There will be a single accreditation of a dual fuel diploma to undertake these installs.

E.ON have so far completed 200,000 installs and are the market leader in this initiative. The other DNO’s (Distribution Network Operators) are sure to follow in earnest (again not the place!)

Once in place the customer will be able to have real time control of their energy spending and quickly change providers for better deals. Also if there’s an interruption in service, the DNO would know before the customer and send updates via Apps. The scheme would be the best in the world and should help towards our energy efficiency and security.

Is there an opportunity for our customers to get involved? Yes we think so; we intend to get involved in the training of installers, watch this space, we’ll keep you updated!


Categories: smart meters

Quick Question - Should You Fit A Consumer Unit On It's Side?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 18th April 2013

This is the first in a weekly series of blog posts intended to pose a question and gather peoples responses before we reveal the correct answer. We want trainees, experienced sparks, domestic installers and anyone else for that matter to answer the question and contribute to the debate.

So our first scenario is this. You are installing a brand new consumer unit in a domestic property but soon realise that the consumer unit is too big to fit in the same space as the old one. It will fit if you turn it on its side (i.e. rotate it by 90 Degrees). So is this OK? Can you mount a consumer unit on it’s side?

So we have had this out there for a week and collected responses which came out as follows. Nearly 80% of people said no whilst just over 20% actually gave a detailed answer:


So what is the answer?

It is a little bit of a trick question. The answer is that you should check the manufacturers instructions. Some units can be fitted on their side and others can not. Of the 22% that answered "Other" all said this as the answer so those people can give themselves a pat on the back.


Categories: consumer unit

Why DIY Electrical Work Is Not A Good Idea

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 17th April 2013

DIY electrical work seems to be hitting the headlines more often as more households continue to struggle in tough economic times.

Trade Skills 4U are highlighting the message that the temptation to carry out DIY electrical in your home is never worth the possible consequences that could arise.  With our homes being our main security keeping our closest family safe, its unfortunate that many householders take chances on the safety of their home electrics.

Every year in the UK unsafe electrical work in the home is the cause of 12,500 house fires, 750 serious injuries and 10 deaths.  Despite these frightening statistics, 60% of UK residents are still happy to carry out electrical DIY in their homes.

We're not talking about small jobs either.  Much of the electrical work carried out is notifiable under the Part P building regulations and worryingly it seems one in 10 householders are still unaware of Part P even though there continues to be a huge drive to educate home owners on the importance of Part P Electrical works.   It comes as no surprise to learn that three quarters of those doing DIY electrical work aren't aware that the work they are carrying out is subject to law under the Part P Building Regulations.

A report carried out by the NICEIC is urging householders to rethink their actions as much of this work is compromising the safety of themselves and their family.  DIY work is neither tested for safety not certified which could cause problems in the future if the home is sold.  This is in response to the report findings which reveals one in ten home owners have broken planning and building restrictions to carry out billions of pounds worth of home improvements.  Two thirds of home owners cited in the report would rather carry out electrical work themselves than employ a qualified electrician.

So what electrical DIY work are householders doing?  Over a quarter – 28% - would go so far as to install new garden lighting which carries the additional risk of being installed in damp and wet conditions.  The installation of garden lighting should always be carried out by a qualified electrician.  Over a third of respondents said they would rewire a socket, three in ten would fit a new light switch.  The NICEIC recommends that if a householder is determined to carry out their own DIY electrical work then the work must be notified to the local authority building control department who can inspect the finished job.

Whatever method is used to install home electrics whether by using a qualified electrician or carrying out DIY work, a Part P certificate must be obtained.

If you do really want to re-wire your own home you can get qualified in electrical installation and then notify any major works to building control who will issue your customer a Part P certificate. Our Bronze Course package will bring you right up to speed with the skills in installation, testing, wiring regs and building regs.


Categories: diy, part p

The Future Belongs To The Few Of Us Willing to Get Our Hands Dirty

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 11th April 2013

We have just had some new signs put up in the centre to brighten the place up a bit. The intention is also to help our students realise their potential and understand that they have the ability to really change their lives when they train with us. The idea behind the signs is simply a number of motivational quotes that we have found or come up with. The signs are quite large and as we walk around the centre we do now see a number of students pondering what they say.

We already boast excellent pass rates but we hope that with a bit of extra motivation we can push these up even further. My favourite of all these signs is this one:

It does seem at present that so many people opt to work in a service or office based profession. So often young people end up just chasing the big salary without considering the other benefits of working with their hands, in a trade that offers lots of freedom and job satisfaction.

In fact many of the most successful people I know are those who have got their hands dirty and really got stuck in to a trade. Self-builders and industry professionals alike seem to excel in life and having a trade under your belt often means you can make large profits from renovating your own home or an investment property. There also appears to be a great deal of job satisfaction in completing a project. This is often on top of earning a generous hourly rate for the work you do.

I like the saying above because it sums up how I see the working population at the moment. You have those who want to simply work behind a desk usually for someone else and those who want to get stuck in, don’t mind a bit of manual labour and realise the benefits of working in a skilled trade.

This is something that I think school leavers need to understand more. Most see University as the only way to build a successful career, however apprenticeships are starting to offer real competition to the University route and the more bright students that realise this the better. At the moment apprenticeships are almost seen as a fall back option if you don’t make it into Uni.  Anyone thinking about their next step should seriously think about this saying and what it represents.


Categories: motivational signs

Are You Ready for Part P Changes on the 6th April?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 4th April 2013

Hopefully if you have been following our blog you will be fully aware of the changes that are taking place in the industry on the 6th April 2013 otherwise known as Saturday this week! Wow how time flies.

This has been a date in many electricians calendar for some time as on this date a number of changes will come into force that impact on 2 things:

1. How you notify work and the type of work that is notifiable

2. How you get qualified in order to register on a competent person scheme

So what do you need to know?

So for those already out there working in the industry actually it means that there is a little bit less paperwork to do. From the 6th April 2013 kitchens are no longer classed as special locations. As such minor works in a kitchen no longer need to be notified to building control or your Part P scheme. This is great news for kitchen fitters and the like, however the new Part P regs do stipulate that anyone installing electrics needs to be competent to do so and any installation should comply with the latest 17th edition regulations whether it is notifiable or not. If unsafe work is found then legal action can be taken.

Also from the 6th there will be a register of third party electricians who are able to sign off the work of others. Currently this role is only fulfilled by building control, however soon they will have competition from private electricians who will be able to inspect and test third party installations. It looks as if this register of third party electricians is a little way off just now. The industry is yet to confirm exactly who will be able to register on this. Anyone who has completed a 2391, 2395 or Qualified Supervisor course are most likely to get onto the register but at present this “third party register” is still to be finalised.

Currently you must have passed your 17th edition in order to register on a competent persons scheme. You must also be able to pass the assessments, which means you should be able to re-wire a house, be competent in inspection and testing as well as have a good grasp of the Part P building regs. However officially from the 6th April you will need to have also passed a qualified supervisors course before you can register. At present it appears that until these courses are more widely available in the UK some scheme providers will still register you under the current requirements. We don’t know how long this will continue so if you are looking to register the advice is speak with a scheme provider first so you know for sure you will get onto the scheme. We highlighted recently that ELECSA have already said they expect to register people under the current requirements for the foreseeable future. However that is a little vague, it does suggest at least for the next few months you should be ok, but don’t hang about if you do want to get registered.


Categories: part p

Things To Consider When Installing Solar Panels

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 3rd April 2013

The installation of solar panels is a sensible solution for any household that is environmentally conscious, however, like any significant installation, it makes sense to ensure the solar panels will be installed in an optimum environment, to ensure the maximum return on both energy saving and investment is achieved.  Solar panels are a hugely popular method of capturing the suns energy and converting this into electricity which is then used to power the everyday electrical needs in your home.  It makes sense to consider a few points before installation which will save money and potential inconvenience at a later date.

Before solar panels are installed, it makes sense to ensure your home is already kitted out with other energy saving devices and measures in particular the improvement of insulation and the minimising of draughts.  This ensures the most energy efficiency will be obtained from the solar panels.

If there are any roof repairs or home renovation planned (i.e. fitting of dormers) have this work carried out first. It can become costly to work around solar panels and if a panel needs to be removed, a solar PV installer would need to do this which of course is added cost.  In addition, solar PV panels can be built into architects plans which will not only enable the solar panels to perform to their best possible potential, but also can be incorporated into design plans so they will look good too.  Furthermore, installing solar panels to differing roof tile types can vary enormously in price, so incorporating solar panels into home renovation plans could save money on installation costs.

It is not a necessity to have a South facing, perfectly pitched roof in order to benefit from solar panels.  Ideally a roof should face South and have a pitched angle of around 30 degrees to achieve optimum performance. However, solar panels have been installed on roofs that face South-East or South-West.  The solar panels operate approximately 20% less efficiently in these locations which will reduce energy output and savings slightly.  Additionally, solar panels have been installed on flat roofs using a metal framework which acts as the pitch of the roof.  It also possible to install solar panels at ground level if there is land available also using metal frame working to obtain the correct pitch.  It is not recommended to install solar panels on North facing roofs.

It is important that shading is kept to a minimum as this can affect solar panel performance.  Common causes of shading are from trees, TV aerials and vent pipes.  Of course the solar panel installer will account for these at installation, however it is a good idea to ensure that in the future trees do not grow and obstruct the light to the solar panels.  Some shading early or late in the day is OK, however for the best output possible, solar panels should be completely free from shade between 10am and 4pm.  The good news is that solar panels still produce energy even on a cloudy day albeit at reduced output.

Once installed, solar panels are relatively maintenance free and have a long life span of at least 25 years.  The solar panels would benefit from hosing down once or twice a year to clear debris and its also a good idea to clear leaves from around the panels too.  Maintenance checks are required every few years.

Solar panels are an ideal investment for households who own their home and are settled into their property.  It is a long term investment with pay back made over several years.

Categories: solar pv