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If you want a career in the electrical industry then you're going to need to access high quality training - delivered by professionals in an intensive, structured and focused way.                                                   Unsure where to start? Use our course advisor to help point you in the right direction.  

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NICEIC Clarifies Routes for Domestic Installers & Qualified Supervisors

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 26th July 2013

Since the 6th April 2013 there has been much confusion in the industry with regards to the qualifications required to register on a Domestic Installer Scheme. Changes published by the IET in the EAS Scheme Document signalled that a new Qualified Supervisors Course was to become the main entry point to the industry.

Trade Skills 4U (as well as numerous other establishments) informed all our customers of the upcoming changes and naturally people looked to get registered before the 6th April deadline as there was a definite answer as to which qualifications would be required. Since the 6th of April there has been a lack of clarity in the industry as to who can register on a Domestic Installer Scheme.

This week NICEIC and ELECSA have been the first scheme providers to come out and firmly say that realistically it is business as usual, and that there are in fact several routes through to application. They have published a press release stating:

As of April 6 this year the technical competence requirements, as set out by the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification Management Committee (EAS), changed for proposed Qualified Supervisors.

A new “Level 3” requirement was developed and introduced for anyone wanting to apply to become a Qualified Supervisor after April 5th. Believing this may have caused some confusion, NICEIC and ELECSA have moved to allay the concerns contractors might have, and have introduced some factsheets that explain the requirements.

“In the run up to April both NICEIC and ELECSA noticed a sharp rise in applications for its schemes as contractors sought to 'beat the new requirements' – largely due to stories circulating in the media saying the new requirements would make it harder to become a Qualified Supervisor,” commented Alan Wells, Certification and Standards Director at NICEIC.

“We want to let contractors know that this is definitely not the case. The new qualification was designed to produce safer working practices within the industry and those with the relevant experience and technical competence really have nothing to fear.”

There are now five different routes for domestic installer schemes  through to satisfying the requirements for registration as a Qualified Supervisor, including on-site assessment, off-site assessment, a mixture of both and the gaining of appropriate qualifications.

To help contractors understand the new requirements NICEIC and ELECSA have produced some handy information sheets. 

To download them click here.

Categories: qualified supervisor, domestic installer

A Quick Guide to Insurance for Electricians

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 22nd July 2013

When it comes to obtaining insurance for your business, it can be a minefield to find the right policy that suits your requirements. Getting the right insurance cover is important, it needs to cover you for essentials like public liability if you have unexpected accidents whilst working in your clients home.  It is always worth checking out specialist cover for electricians as this will often provide additional benefits such as tool cover, EICR/PAT testing cover and working at height. The key thing to make sure of is whether or not a policy provides sufficient cover for the needs of your business in the event of a claim.


What’s the difference between public liability and employers liability insurance?

The type of insurance cover you need will depend on your working arrangements.  If you are a sole trader working on your own then it is highly recommended that you have public liability insurance cover in place as this protects your business if property becomes damaged during the course of your work there or if you have an accident which requires you to take time off work to recover.  There are several levels of public liability insurance available up to £5M so you can be sure that you will be protected financially in the unlikely event of a serious incident occurring.  If you are thinking about not bothering with public liability, consider, for example, how you will meet the cost of potential property damage.

“The largest public liability claim to date within the NICEIC Insurance Services was £110k due to fire damage at a property where a contractor was working.  Think about how you would meet such a cost if this happened to you.”

Employers liability cover is required if you employ other people in your business.  Employers liability is compulsory as it is your duty to protect the well-being and safety of those who you employ within your business.  Fines for not having employers liability cover in place are in excess of £2500 per day.  Employers liability insurance cover can protect you up to £10M in liability so you can have the peace of mind that you have sufficient cover in place.

“The largest employers liability claim to date through NICEIC Insurance Services was for £352k.  This claim was the result of a sub-contractor falling off a ladder.”

Optional Extra's You Should Really Consider

Tools in Transit Cover

Before you purchase your insurance cover, it is worth checking over the optional extras.  It is all too easy to overlook them in favour of cheaper cover, however of claims made to date through NICEIC Insurance Services 29% have been for theft. 78% of these claims relate to theft of tools, particularly from a van.  Having tools stolen from a van is one of the biggest bug bears among electricians and it can be very costly to replace them if they are stolen, not to mention lost days when you cannot work. As such it is worth considering some optional tools in transit cover to your policy so you are covered should you have to deal with this.  

Fee for Intervention (FFI) Cover

It is worth comparing different policies to find out what you are actually covered for.  A more expensive policy may actually cover you for items which are optional extras in another quote.  If you hold your insurance with NICEIC Insurance Services, you will also be covered for “Fee for Intervention” (FFI). If your insurance doesn't cover you for this currently you may like to read on.

Since 1st October 2012 HSE have been operating a Fee for Intervention (FFI) cost recovery scheme.  This scheme means that under the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, those that break health and safety laws are liable for the recovery of HSE's related costs including inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action.

At a cost of £124 per hour, this could prove to be very costly to electrical contractors who are involved in HSE disputes.

To help avoid this, NICEIC Insurance Services now provide limited cover up to £1000 as standard with their Public Liability Insurance.

Getting Covered

If you don't currently have any insurance cover, Trade Skills 4 U recommend obtaining a quote today and get covered before you carry on working.  It is also a good selling point to your customers who are far more likely to use your services if they know you hold the appropriate insurance cover.

If you are currently covered, now is a good time to review your insurance to ensure it matches up to the statistics mentioned in this article.

Spending a little time now on perfecting your insurance cover can save you a lot of problems in the event of something going wrong.

Check out www.niceicinsurance.com for more information.

Categories: insurance

TradeSkills4U Launch Electrical Courses In Warrington

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 12th July 2013

We are gearing up for a busy summer here at TradeSkills4U. We can now confirm that we will be delivering electrical courses in Warrington from September onwards. Initially we will be delivering our PAT Testing and 17th Edition courses, however the range of courses on offer will be expanding in the early part of next year.

In the best traditions of Trade Skills 4U we have gone all out to ensure students learn in 1st class facilities. These two classroom based courses will be delivered from The Centre at Birchwood Park. This is located just off the M62 and M6 where the two motorways meet. The guys in the office at Gatwick are a little bit jealous as the Brichwood Park facilities looks fantastic with great café’s, outdoor areas and even a lake if you need to chill out between classes. The rooms have very comfortable chairs, desks, projectors and also are fully air conditioned.

The courses will be delivered by the same team of experienced instructors who have been delivering training here at HQ for the last few years to ensure that students from the North West receive the same high standards of training that has become our trademark over the last few years.


So Why Warrington you may ask?

We chose Warrington for a number of reasons. Our Director Carl Bennett grew up in there and knows the area well. As a local he realises the strategic importance of Warrington as it is easily commutable for students from Manchester, Liverpool, Chester, Stockport and Bolton.

Although we will be delivering courses from Warrington we will still be carrying out all the administration from the Gatwick head office.

You may have spotted our northern connections before especially if you have seen our sponsorship of Rugy League hard man Paul Wood. If you follow our Twitter feed you will also see a particular love for Rugby League too. This is no coincidence as our Director is a huge fan and one of his goals in life is to bring Rugby League to the masses.

As well as bringing Rugby league to the rest of the UK Carl also intends to roll out a number of centres in the coming years so that those who can’t travel our current locations are able to benefit from the first class training that we offer.

For more information about our Warrington Location see this page!


Categories: warrington

24+ Learning Loans Now Available for Trade Skills 4U Courses

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 8th July 2013

You may have heard that 24+ advanced learning loans were on the horizon well they are now here and you can use them to pay for some or all of your training costs with Trade skills 4U. The idea is very simple and means that now those over 24 years old can access student loans for vocational training. This not only represents a great opportunity if you are looking to up skill, it also recognises the importance of vocational training and puts it on a par with many university courses.

The loans apply to courses starting from the 1st August 2013 to 31st July 2014 and as long as you will be 24 or above when the course starts you can start applying today. For details on the specifics of the loans see our 24+ Loans page.

Students can opt to pay for a whole course or just a proportion of the total cost of the course with the loans should they wish. However you can not borrow more than the total cost of the course.

You only start to repay the loans once you are earning over £21,000 per year and the repayments are made as a percentage of the amount you earn over £21,000. For example if you are earning £22,000 you will pay £7 per month back, if you are earning £25,000 you will pay £30 per month.

So what does this mean if you are thinking of training with us?

The student loans are only available to course that are registered on the QCF and are level 3 or above. At present this means that the Level 3 City & Guilds 2365 Diploma in Electrical Installation is eligible for student loans. As such you can cover the full cost or just part of the cost of this course with the student loan.

We also offer a City & Guilds 2365 Level 2 & 3 Diploma Package. Again you can apply the loan to the Level 3 part of the course meaning £2995 of the course cost will be covered by the loan.

This is the first time courses of this type can be funded via a student loan so this is actually a big change in the market place. It means students now have more choice in how they pay for their courses.

Most learners aged 24 and over, studying at level 3 and above will qualify for these new loans from the UK Government. It’s easy to apply, your household income is not taken into account and there is no credit check.

If you need more information don’t forget to visit our 24+ Advanced Learning Loans page or simply call a course advisor on 01293 529777 now.


Categories: 24+ advanced learning loans

What is an ECS Card and How do I get one?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 3rd July 2013

If you work in the electrical industry, it will make sense to get your hands on an ECS card as it will be virtually impossible to find work on a construction site without one.

The ECS card is similar to cards found in other industries such as CSCS cards and is a great way to demonstrate who you are and the type of work you are capable of doing. Importantly, it also shows you are authorised to be on site by showing your identity, qualified status and occupation.

What cards are available?

ECS stands for Electrotechnical Certification Scheme and is the only card scheme that is recognised and endorsed by the electrotechnical industry.  The ECS Card scheme runs across the entire UK – England, Wales and Northern Ireland, however there is a separate application for those in Scotland.

There are several card types available.  If you are qualified to NVQ level 3 in a relevant occupation, you can obtain a gold or platinum card at the same cost.  Whatever stage of career you are at whether trainee or site manager there is a card type for you.

The ECS Health and Safety Test

Before you can obtain the card, you may need to sit and pass the ECS Health and Safety test at an additional cost.  The idea behind this test is to minimise unsafe working practices, and improve safety and quality of work.  The test also ensures that everyone working on site has the appropriate health and safety knowledge.

Some qualifications are exempt from taking the ECS Health and Safety test so it is worth checking to see if it is necessary before booking the test.  It is also worth noting that Apprentices are exempt and can obtain a card on completion of the Apprentice application form.

What are the costs?

The costs do vary according to whether you are a member of Unite the Union or the JIB.  If you are a member of either of these organisations, there is a discounted application fee. The standard fee assuming you are not a member of either is £36 including VAT.  The Health and Safety test is normally £42 but does vary between providers.

Card renewals with less than 3 months until the expiry date cost £24 and a duplicate replacement if your current card has been misplaced is £18.

Fees paid are non-refundable even if your application is rejected, so always check you meet the eligibility criteria of the card you have selected before proceeding with the application.

How to apply

Before you complete the application form you will need:

A passport sized photograph – which needs to be endorsed by a relevant person

Photocopies of relevant certificates, qualifications, references and anything else specified on the application form

Sit and pass the Health and Safety test if applicable

The relevant fee

To ensure the correct documentation is enclosed with your application, Trade Skills 4 U highly recommend you read the guidance notes before completing the application form.

What Next?

It takes about 4 weeks to process the application form.  Once your card has been issued, it is valid for 3 years.

Don't be caught out, prove your competence with an ECS card.  It makes perfect sense for anyone working in the electrical industry to get themselves kitted out with one of these cards.