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NAPIT Highlight Construction Skills Shortage

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 22nd August 2014

NAPIT one of the UK’s leading competent persons scheme provider have highlighted the need for more to be done to meet the increasing skills shortage in the construction sector. Recent reports show that the industry is needs to fill 182,000 jobs in the next five years to keep the economic recovery on track. The latest Construction Trade Survey from the Construction Products Association states that the sector has continued to grow despite various challenges. This means more demand for installers on wide variety of projects both domestic and commercial.

Ian Halton, NAPIT’s Training and Business Relationship Director said: “The construction industry desperately needs an influx of skilled installers to meet increasing demand and apprenticeships are a great way to achieve this. We feel that more must be done to ensure younger people are still entering various trades within the construction industry and gaining the appropriate skills to do so. If this skills gap is allowed to grow, the future of the industry is not looking secure.”

NAPIT has called on its members to take part in a scheme to help create work experience and apprenticeship placements as a means to help bridge this gap and we fully support this campaign. Here at Trade Skills 4U we know just how hard it is to find an installer willing to take on an apprentice these days. Despite the fact that 96 per cent of employers who take on an apprentice report it has a positive impact for their company, the fact remains that in an industry where 90% of the companies are micro-businesses it is still near on impossible for many to find a placement.

This has been the case for many years and our customers know it too, which is why many choose to self-fund their training, front load it and then enter the industry with skills that immediately add value for employers. Of those attending our City & Guilds 2365 Diploma courses over 90% find employment either during or shortly after completing the course. Most will then also self-fund their NVQ essentially funding the whole apprenticeship process themselves.

This model helps break the main issue with the traditional apprenticeship which is the chicken and egg scenario of needing an employer first to get trained. For many this simply serves as a huge barrier to starting out in the industry. What is important is that installers get the right training and the right experience be that on an apprenticeship scheme or by self funding their training to break into the industry.

We agree that more needs to be done to encourage both employers to take on an apprentice and also for brighter students to be encouraged to recognise that apprenticeships are an excellent way to progress their careers.

With the industry continuing to take off the demand for Domestic Installers will continue to rise also. The route to qualifying as a domestic electrician is much shorter than a full apprenticeship and this could help relieve the pressure on the commercial sector and help us meet the increasing demand. It could be that a shorter apprenticeship scheme for domestic electricians comes into force which would be a great way for new entrants to take their first steps as an installer.

We too are working with employers to help our students find placements. We have set up www.trade-buddy.co.uk and expanding our relationships with employers looking to take on trainee electricians or electricians mates.

What is clear is that to meet any of these demands we need to somehow convince the micro businesses of the benefits of an extra pair of hands especially in a growing market. If you can take on apprentice or provide a work experience placement for an electrical installer please contact us and we can help you find someone who fits your needs.

Are you an installer who’s looking to take on apprentices? Contact NAPIT on 0845 5430330 or email awes@napit.org.uk for more information about the scheme. All NAPIT installers who take on apprentices will get £30 off their renewal fees and up to £30 off for providing a work experience placement, depending on the length of the placement.


The Impact of Help To Buy On Home Building in 2014

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 19th August 2014

With the UK now officially out of recession and large house price increases seen over the last 12 months , things seem to have really turned a corner. In particular the governments Help to Buy Scheme has really made a difference with demand for new homes in particular benefiting from the incentive. This in turn has lead to increases in demand for skilled labour to work on larger projects. So we thought we would take a closer look at predictions for the future and the scheme itself.

Where is the growth going to come from?

Private housing is expected to grow by 15% by the end of 2014.  This signifies an end to the worst recession seen in the UK for 35 years. This is a welcome boost to the construction industry which is currently valued at £111 billion.  By 2017, the Construction Products Associations is anticipating growth of 19%.  This growth will be achieved through focusing on major policies such  as the Help To Buy scheme along with other capital investments which will focus on repairs and renewals.

More about the help to buy scheme

There are two components to the help to buy scheme.

The Help to Buy Equity Loan enables people to buy a newly-built home with a deposit of at least 5% of the property price, while the government offers a loan of up to 20%. The rest is covered by a mortgage.

Meanwhile, the Mortgage Guarantee offers mortgage lenders the option to purchase a guarantee on mortgages where a borrower has a deposit of between 5% and 20%. Because of this support, participating lenders are able to offer more mortgage products to borrowers with small deposits.

How the help to buy scheme can help

As the name suggests, the help to buy scheme helps individuals to get on the property ladder who might otherwise be held back by financial restraints such as a lack of deposit or a latent sellers market.  The scheme, which is for people who want to purchase a brand new property is designed to assist people to up size or get on the property ladder.  This in turn creates more demand in the construction industry for private housing.

A gov.uk press release published on the 29th May 2014 reports that 27,861 people have brought a new home through the help to buy scheme.  The Help to Buy scheme is opening up home ownership to 1000's of people who would otherwise not be able to buy a new property and is part of Governmental plans designed to reward hard working people build a better future.

Although the figure makes up less than 3% of overall home ownership, the scheme has demonstrated how to successfully target people who need a hand to get on the property ladder.

Is help to buy boosting trade?

The private housing sector is seeing rapid growth which, back in October 2013, was forecast by Construction Products Association as lasting for 18 months with concern cited uncertainty when the Help to Buy policy was due to end.  This is because without such policies in place the housing market would not be able to self sustain itself.

However, there was great news in May 2014 when the Government announced that the Help to Buy scheme was to be extended until March 2020 meaning that the scheme will now support the building of 200,000 new homes.

The construction industry output has been forecast to grow 4.6% in 2015.  With the Help to Buy scheme off to a strong start and more Governmental commitment to support both the construction industry and home buyers, it will be interesting to see how this commitment will affect the growth forecasts of the construction industry in the coming months.

Will the scheme be closed early?

The biggest question on everyone's lips is will the Government pull the plug early? Recent house price rises have increased fears that a housing bubble is building. It has been suggested that help to buy may be responsible and that the Government needs to halt the scheme to adjust the market. However the Bank of England has recently hinted that interest rate rises could happen within the next 12 months and it appears that this in itself will cool the market with no need to pull the plug on help to buy early. 

At the end of the day growth in the housing sector should not just be about house prices but should be about more houses. As long as the scheme continues then this will continue to encourage more buyers of new homes and help generate more work and job opportunities for all kinds of tradesmen. 


Product Review: Megger MFT1735 - The Ultimate Multi-Function Tester

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 6th August 2014

Known for their state of the art, market leading testing equipment, Megger has been the name of choice for electricians for many years – in fact Megger was established in the late 1800's and has been designing and making test instruments ever since.

The Megger brand is recognised worldwide, thanks to the constant product development and ground breaking innovations that meet the growing demands and pressures faced by the electrical industry, in particular issues surrounding earth electrode resistance measurements.   This is where the latest multi-function installation tester comes into play.  The Megger MFT1735.

The Megger MFT1735

Instantly recognisable as being part of the Megger family, in particular the MFT series, the MFT1735 comes with state of the art facilities including two pole, three pole, stakeless and ART earth electrode resistance measurements.

Naturally, all functions with Megger instruments enable electricians to test low voltage electrical installations in line with the latest 17th edition of the IET wiring regulations.  It provides all the tests required to complete the necessary electrical certification for domestic, commercial and industrial fixed wiring installations.

Combined with ultimate reliability and the ability to withstand accidental misuse and voltage transients that other testers on the market cannot match, the Megger MFT1735 is an ideal testing instrument for electricians at all stages of their career from trainee to full scope.

User friendly but technologically advanced

The MFT1735, like the other MFT models is renowned for it's user friendly interface.  However this is not all it has to offer.  The MFT1735 is also packed with a host of other features designed to reduce maintenance costs and save time on completing tests.  Standard features such as:

internal, fast recharging batteries,

built in memory and bluetooth communications to speed up test results

simple menu functions using colour coded rotary switches – never search around for hidden menu features again!

These are designed to make your working life as an electrician easier.  However the technical side is far from overlooked, with a whole host of additional features that round off the MFT1735 as being the best test instrument yet from Megger and these include:

Two and three wire non-trip loop testing for RCD protected circuits

Type B RCD and 3-phase RCD testing for industrial applications with no earth

3-terminal earth test and stakeless testing for spike resistance measurement

EN61010 CATIV safety ratings and tough IP54 case

Megger not only ensures that you remain fully compliant but also ensures the MFT1735 is up for the job. Whether you are working in dusty or humid environments or even in a time pressed customers front room, you can rely on this test instrument to come up with the goods.


Megger doesn't just stop at environmental hazards.  The MFT1735 is equally at home working at height on ladder platforms, hung round the neck or hand-held.  Whatever your working situation you can be sure that the MFT1735 can be operated easily with either your right or left hand with dual lock and test buttons located at each end of the instrument.

The robust moulded case that the MFT1735 is supplied with has plenty of additional storage pockets for essentials such as the earth electrode kit and any optional extras you may chose to purchase.

Megger accessories

The great thing about Megger is that everything you need to get started is included – there are no costly additional leads or calibrations to purchase, the MFT1735 is ready to go when you are!  Included in the price is:

A mains test lead

A switched probe for fast and easy testing

A full 12 month calibration certificate

A an upgradeable warranty

If you are looking for an ultimate piece of testing equipment that will be a huge compliment to your tool box then you should be looking no further than the MFT1735.  Not only is it a piece of equipment to rely on, it will also give many years of outstanding service.

If your current tester is becoming a bit of an embarrassment and is short on features and functionality, the MFT1735 is worth serious consideration.

Categories: megger, reviews, multi-function tester