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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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10 Second Survey: Would you take on an apprentice?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 29th November 2013

This week we are launching another 10 second survey. In light of recent data that shows that the take up of electrical apprenticeships could well be improved up we are keen to find out what percentage of people are likely to take on an apprentice and whether or not taking on an apprentice is a more attractive proposition if they come fully trained?

Please take a few seconds to simply answer the questions below:


We know that the overwhelming majority of trainees who complete our Level 2&3 2365 Diploma go on to find employment in the electrical industry and those who invest in training give themselves a huge advantage over others seeking to break into the industry. It's common sense really but just want to gather your option on the matter. 







C&G Solar PV Courses Now More Accessible

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 28th November 2013

When City & Guilds launched their Solar PV course as part of the C&G 2399 framework it was regarded as the leading qualification of its kind in the market. The qualification was only open to fully qualified electricians who have completed their Level 3 NVQ, however this was not the only barrier to entry. As a more in depth qualification the course was longer and more expensive than other qualification such as the BPEC equivalent. One of the main reasons for this was the stipulation that all candidates must complete a foundation module covering all renewable technology types. This meant that an electrician would also had to of learnt about solar thermal, wind, heat pumps and other technologies before focusing on the subject of solar PV.

It seemed to be a good idea that all installers should be aware of the best technology to suit a customers need but unfortunately it did not fit with the market need. Essentially installers were not the ones deciding which technology was going to be meeting the customer’s needs. They were more likely to be simply installing it or specifying it once the customer had already decided they wanted to install Solar PV.

The other stumbling block was the entry requirements for the technology specific courses meant you would need to be a fully qualified electrician or plumber to pursue either subject. This meant it was very unlikely that anyone would take the foundation unit and then follow up with both Solar PV and Solar Thermal unless they had spent a very long time doing both plumbing and electrical apprenticeships.

Once the qualification was live it became clear that for electricians, in particular, the foundation module was not really essential and shouldn’t be compulsory for those wishing to simply focus on the one technology.

So what does this mean?

Simply put it means the course now a bit cheaper, shorter and easier to attend. Trade Skills 4U offer the course as follows:

2 Day Foundation Module (No longer compulsory)

5 Day Installation course

3 Day Fault finding and Maintenance course

This means you can now get qualified in solar PV installation over 5 days rather than 7 and save a few hundred pounds at the same time too. The market for Solar PV particularly in the commercial, social housing and public sector areas is still very buoyant. If you are interested in finding out more simply visit: http://www.tradeskills4u.co.uk/courses/city-guilds-2399-course



Categories: solar pv

What is Meter Calibration and Why is it Important?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 21st November 2013

This post was updated in September 2018

Meter calibration is an essential part of providing a quality and accurate service to your customers.

It is important that regular calibration takes place in order to ensure your test meter continues to produce accurate readings. Over time, general wear and tear as well as exposure to differing temperatures can affect meter readings.

Giving inaccurate meter readings can have serious consequences for your business and professional reputation. Although meter calibration can seem like just another expense you can do without, it is actually a small price to pay.

What you must ensure you do before your meter is calibrated?

All meter calibrations must be traceable back to the National Standards and procedures detailed in BS EN/IEC17025:2017 and carried out by suppliers who are ISO 9001:2015 certified. In basic terms, this means that the organisation who carries out meter calibrations must calibrate to these standards. Meter calibration is not something you can carry out yourself.

Additionally and most importantly, you must ensure that the organisation you use for meter calibration is UKAS accredited. Only UKAS accredited laboratories should be used to calibrate your meter. Organisations who are UKAS Accredited have demonstrated the technical competence to produce valid and accurate data and results.

There are many organisations that claim to be meter calibrators, however always check to ensure they are also UKAS accredited. Practically the entire electrical industry require the UKAS endorsement as confirmation that your business is compliant.

What happens during meter calibration?

Your test meter will be checked for accuracy by comparing the readings of your meter against known standards. These are the National Standards and procedures we mentioned earlier in our article. All measurements taken can be traced back to these National Standards.

Organisations offering meter calibration make the process as straight forward as possible for electricians. Many reputable organisations collect your equipment, calibrate it and return it to you within a few working days. The manufacturer of your test meter should be able to point you in the right direction of an UKAS Accredited supplier.

Another essential reason to use an UKAS Accredited Supplier

When you have your meter calibrated to the UKAS level, you will receive a certificate carrying the UKAS logo. This certificate will be required by all scheme providers including the NICEIC, NAPIT and ELECSA before you will be able to join.

Of course, it goes without saying that being a registered electrician is an absolute must do if you run your own business.

The risks of using non-accredited services include:

Not being considered for tenders

Losing contracts and customers

Limited jobs you are able to carry out

Poor professional reputation

Possible legal action due to results inaccuracy

Ensuring your test meter is calibrated regularly is essential to maintain compliance. It will also give peace of mind to you as the electrician who has the ultimate responsibility in the recording of test meter readings. Meter calibration is one of the most important things you will do for your business and so much depends on it – both your reputation and livelihood.  Ensure you always find the right place to calibrate your meter – so much depends on it.


Electrical Installation? Trade Skills 4U Wrote the Book on That!

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 19th November 2013

Two instructors from Trade Skills 4U have recently been published in the brand new City & Guilds text books, “Level 2 Diploma in Electrical Installations 2365” and “Level 3 Diploma in Electrical Installations (Buildings and Structures) 2365“. It’s no surprise that they have been involved since Trade Skills 4U are the leading centre in the UK that deliver the City & Guilds 2365 course. They have been teaching the qualification for over a year now since it was introduced in September 2012 and as such have a team of highly experienced tutors who know the subject inside out. Two members of this team Andy Hay-Ellis and James Deans have both contributed to the brand new books covering the Level 2 & 3 Diplomas. Other writers who contributed to the books include Paul Harris, Trevor Pickard, Howard Carey, Paul Cook and Peter Tanner, all well respected in the industry. The books have now been published and are available to buy on Amazon.

James and Andy have both been teaching at Trade Skills 4U for many years and are two of their most experienced tutors. Both work full time within the centre, Andy as the Director of Education and James as a senior tutor.  Both have put in a lot of extra hours over the past year to bring this book to fruition.

Andy Hay-Ellis said “I am very pleased to finally see these books published. It makes all the hard work worthwhile. These two books will form a comprehensive resource for all learners undertaking these new qualifications.”

James Deans said “I still teach the 2365 every day and am one of the first instructors in the UK to deliver this course. I believe the books will make an excellent companion for my classes and hope to see students arriving with them under their arm in the near future.”

Trade Skills 4U continue to strive to deliver outstanding teaching in the electrical and renewable energy fields. They recently had a number of their courses, including the City and Guilds 2365 Electrical Installation Diploma, accepted into the IET Centre of Excellence and were the first electrical training company in the UK to gain this accolade.

The fact that two of their staff are involved in the authorship of a course book approved by both the IET and City and Guilds, demonstrates that they are much more than just a training company. Trade Skills 4U continue to be thought leaders in this industry led by the outstanding knowledge of their team of specialist electrical trainers.

The level 2 and 3 Electrical Installation Diplomas are recognised throughout the industry as the key qualifications to enable electrical installers to get qualified and gain work. Students will often self-fund their course in order to get a foot on the ladder to becoming fully qualified as an electrician. Once completed, most students will gain work in industry and complete an NVQ which is essentially a portfolio of work that is assessed on site.

The qualification has grown in popularity over the past year especially since students can now take out a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan to cover the cost of the Level 3 part of the course.

If you are looking to take electrical training you can speak with specialist course advisors who will guide you through the different options available to you.


Categories: book, 2365

Domestic vs Commercial? Which Way should I go?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 12th November 2013

When starting a new career as an electrician most people realise they have to make a choice between becoming a domestic installer or a fully qualified electrician that can work on both domestic and commercial projects. You will find yourself asking:

Which should you become? 

Which is best? 

Which will give you a better life and job satisfaction?

What is the difference? 

Well in the most simple terms, new entrant Domestic Installers are limited to installing single phase in domestic dwellings (houses, flats, bungalows etc etc) as where Commercial Contractors are not limited to just single phase, they can install a variety of cables including single and 3 phase in all sectors (Industrial, Agricultural etc.) However there is a lot more to it than that so don’t make your decisions just yet!


To start working you obviously need the qualifications and there is a considerable difference in time and cost to consider.

Typically you are looking at around 4 -5 weeks and £2200- 2500 for a full domestic package (Practical workshops, 2392 Inspect & Test, Part-P and 17th Edition) we offer this in our Bronze package for £2245.

The commercial qualification the City and Guilds 2365 takes around 16 weeks to complete and costs £6990 with ourselves.


You need to ask yourself what sort of lifestyle you want with your new career.

Most domestic installers that train with Trade Skills 4U tend to become self-employed and set up their own company’s. There are pros and cons to running your own company however wouldn’t it be nice to choose your own working hours and for you to be financially rewarded for working that little bit harder than the guy next to you?

However if you are looking for the stability of a yearly salary and set hours then the commercial route may be your preferred option, below I have listed the advantages to both routes:

Uncapped Pay

Better social working hours


Variety of jobs

Face to face interaction with customers

Quicker and low cost of training

Good salary

Job security

Length of jobs

Working in a team

Working in exciting sector and venues

Good career progression

Lower initial start-up cost (tools, van)

Areas to specialise

What do our customers tend to do?

Below is a table showing the split of courses that new entrants to the industry take with Trade Skills 4U. We can see that domestic installers appear to be the more popular option:


















However with 24+ loans and the economy on the turn we have noticed a shift in 2013 of learners taking the longer course options to get full qualified.

At the end of the day everyone’s situation is different so you have to weigh up the pro’s and con’s for yourself. Ask yourself these questions:

1. How much time and money can you afford to spend training?

2. How quickly do you need to start earning?

3. Do you prefer working on your own or as part of a team?

4. Do you want to run your own business or would you prefer to be employed?

Generally we would summarise it as simply as this, if you are a mature career changer then the domestic route has a lot more to offer you. We say this on the basis that people normally have family’s to support and bills to pay, the domestic route gets you working within the industry much faster and gives you all the skills you need to work with a firm or become self-employed.

At a later date if you want to up skill to offer commercial skills then you can finish the modules in order to do so but you will be working in the industry and find it much easier to support yourself.

If you are looking to start your new career and have the time and finances then the commercial route is the obvious course to select as you will be trained in a much broader spectrum of work and will be able to take on more work.

Categories: commercial electrician, domestic installer

Last Call for the EAL Level 3 NVQ in Electrotechnical Services

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 5th November 2013

At the end of 2012 City & Guilds phased out their Level 3 2356 NVQ in favour of the new 2357. The 2356 was the ideal accompaniment for electricians looking to gain fully qualified status with the JIB who had already completed their level 2 and 3 Tech Certs (Most commonly the City & Guilds 2330’s).

At the time it was expected that EAL would do exactly the same, however they extended their equivalent qualification until the end of this year. They do say time flies and it certainly has, we are now only 2 months from the final deadline for anyone looking to take the EAL NVQ. The EAL NVQ is only open to electricians and installers who have been working in the industry before 2011 or have already achieved their tech certs (There were a variety of these but mainly the 2330, 2365’s etc) and are aiming to also complete their AM2 qualifications.

Why not simply take the latest qualification?

The new set of quals contain extra units and it is actually advisable for those working in the industry to take the latest courses on offer as these will give you extra skills and knowledge. However many people who have been working in the industry for years may simply be able to complete the old style NVQ in a much shorter time and at a lower costs than trying to get the latest quals.

The breadth of work required for the new NVQ is much greater and as such you will need to spend more time gathering evidence, have more visits from an assessor and it is more likely that simulation will be required for candidates to complete the qualification.

For those who may not be clear on what an NVQ is it involves building a portfolio of your work to prove your competence on site. In many cases those who have been working in the industry for years are likely to have a bank of work they can use towards their NVQ and then simply fill in the gap with new installations. The length of time it takes to complete the NVQ will depend on the variety of jobs you are able to complete in your day to day work and as such it is possible to complete an NVQ in as little as a few months right up to 4 years.

When do I need to register?

If you are keen to register do not leave it to the last minute. You need to register now as the application process can take some time and realistically it is likely that there will be a backlog of applications as we approach the final deadline on the 31/12/2013.

What if I miss the deadline?

Don’t worry you will simply have to register for the new version. As stated above this will cover a greater range of work and probably be better for you in the long run. Do be prepared to maybe spend a little more than before and for the NVQ to take a little longer to complete.

We deliver our NVQ in partnership with JTL and they can deliver this to electricians all over the UK. If you need any more information please contact us on 01293 529777.