We use cookies to deliver the best experience possible as described in our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy. Close this box to accept cookies whilst browsing our site.

Courses For Adults, Contractors & Companies

Call 0800 856 4448 or 03330 123 123

Course FinderNew EntrantsDomesticCommercialRenewablesContractor


BackAll Electrical Courses

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.  

Course finder
Pay now

It’s Our 10th Birthday (Well Almost!) - Find How We Were Founded

Posted by Kirsten Beckwith on 24th April 2015

birthday cake

So here we are 10 years on since Trade Skills 4U were first established. Who would have guessed that in that time we would have become the UK’s no.1 electrical training company training over 2000 students every year delivering courses in Gatwick, London and Warrington. So we thought we would give you some insight into how the company was born and interviewed our founding director Carl Bennett.

The story behind our beginnings is quite an interesting one, Trade Skills 4U nearly didn’t happen at all. 14 years ago our CEO Carl Bennett was recovering from a serious operation and facing a major cross roads in his life. Having spent 22 years in the Met police in London as a Specialist Firearms Officer in Dept SO19, Carl was forced into medical discharge due to an operation to remove a brain tumour. It left him with disabilities that meant he was unable to continue doing the job he had dedicated his life to.

Once over the physical challenges of his recovery Carl now had to overcome the challenge of providing for his family. His career had ended, he couldn’t walk or even sit up in a chair at first, his life was in a crisis and Carl had to consider what he should do about it.

“Actually my first thought was to feel sorry for myself, just curl up and say ‘why me?, I wouldn’t blame anyone who faces difficulties in life to behave that way, if you’re a good bloke and you get dealt a dodgy hand that’s the way you feel. But for my kids and my wife, I had to tell myself to pull myself together. So as is my nature I reasoned it out and sought a solution and considered my options. ”

“So I asked myself what were my best skills and how could I best use them?”.

Whilst a team leader in SO19, (widely considered to one of the best Firearms training departments in the world), Carl learned how to train and develop the skills of his team into becoming an ‘elite’, so he knew about training and he led and organised a team of committed people in a high pressure job, so he knew about leadership and organisation. Whilst a copper, he had built his own house, so he learned about the trades and their skills and the importance of good quality trades people.

So it was obvious to him, combine what he felt confident he knew about with the skills he already had at his disposal and with his small pension lump sum and the help of his also ex-cop wife Tracey, he started Trade Skills 4U.

“We started originally as a sort of school for Grand Designs self-builders in a scruffy little unit on a scruffy little industrial estate teaching all kinds of stuff relevant to self-builders. It was hard, and a massive learning curve.” Carl say’s

carl bennett ceo

“The challenges of owning and running a small business were easily as difficult as undertaking operations against terrorists and armed robbers, at least in SO19  I knew what I was doing!”

“I had many sleepless nights and new business money worries, how am I going to pay the rent? my blokes, myself ? But we got through. One thing I don’t do is give up. We’ve plastered our walls with posters here at Trade Skills 4U, encouraging people who train with us, to work hard, never give up, do your best, if you don’t put effort in here, you won’t get the rewards. That message worked for me, I want it to work for them. We’ve now got the most successful electrical training company in the UK, I want to show people who come to us, many at crossroads like I was, that if you believe in yourself and roll your sleeves up you can turn adversity into achievement. I’m no Alan Sugar, I’m a regular bloke, but as a business owner my thought is this ‘build it and they will come’. Do your best in every way, give the best service for your customers, give them what they need, don’t over promise and under deliver, do the opposite, and they will come, and thankfully they do.”

“Sparkies often say to me. How can you own the most successful electrical training business in the UK, You’re not even a sparky”. Well it’s precisely because I’m not a sparky that I do. You don’t want me as your sparky anyway, I’m not technically smart enough to work in electrics, I’m an organiser, an educator, a facilitator, my tutors are the experts, I’ve built a team of the best that’s available, its taken years to get my team together. Knowledge of electrics is not my job, giving a customer the best service is definitely my job and I think we do it better than anyone else.”

“I would like to thank all our customers and staff for their hard work and support over the years. Without a great team and fantastic customers we could never have done it. That’s why we would like to give something back.”

Huge Van Giveaway!

So here we are, 10 years on and Carl is so happy with how things have gone that he has decided to give away a van to one lucky customer. All customers who book a course between the 1st April and 31st May will be entered into a prize draw to win a brand new Vauxhall Combo Van worth nearly £17,000. At the start of June Trade Skills 4U will draw 3 finalists out of a hat. Those 3 finalists will be invited back to Trade Skills 4U to compete in a game of Giant Buzzwire. Whoever completes the Buzzwire challenge the quickest or gets the furthest will win the Van and the two runners up will also receive prizes for their efforts.

The great thing about the competition is that there is very little for customers to do and the odds on winning this fantastic prize are very good indeed. It is estimated that the customers will have around a 1 in 400 chance of winning this prize.

To enter the competition could not be simpler. All you need to do is book a course between the key dates and you will be in with a chance. It doesn’t matter when you will be taking your course as long as the booking is made by the final deadline of 31st May 2015.





10 Second Survey – Which card do you hold?

Posted by Kirsten Beckwith on 22nd April 2015

ecs card


We’re interested to find out which card most of the electricians who visit our blog hold? Please take a few seconds to let us know which cards you hold: 


Many employers have been asking for ECS cards however more and more they’re asking for CSCS cards. Which card do you hold when working in the industry? We’re very interested to hear from you. 



Categories: survey

How many C3's are acceptable when carrying out an EICR?

Posted by Kirsten Beckwith on 15th April 2015

electrician working on electrics

Having an EICR carried out is an important milestone in determining the electrical condition of your home.  An accurate EICR is essential if the householder is to obtain an accurate report of the condition of the electrics inside their home.

What do the codes mean?

As an electrician, coding an EICR can sometimes not be as straightforward as the the electrical regulations suggest. When coding an EICR a decision is made based on the findings of the EICR.  Supporting evidence needs to be given for all codes – it is not as simple as just filling in the form and giving the electrics a cursory glance.

A total of 62 items have to be checked within the inspection schedule before testing can begin.  For the EICR to be accurate, time has to be taken over it.  It is simply not possible to walk around a house just ticking boxes contrary to what some customers – and even electrical firms consider.

There are three possible codes within an EICR they are known as C1. C2 and C3.  The final decision over which code to issue is down to the individual electrician and there can sometimes be differences of option between electricians over the classification of certain items within the inspection schedule.

C1 – There is a danger present, risk of injury and immediate remedial action required

C2 – There is a potential danger present and urgent remedial work is required

C3 – Improvement is recommended

Issuing codes

It is not hard to find discussions between electricians on line who are reluctant to issue a C2 code.  This is because ultimately the customer has to spend money on fixing the problem and has an unsatisfactory EICR.

However, what an electrician cannot do is to make a C3 into an C2 simply because the report has a majority of C3's where improvement is only recommended.

Changing codes

Certainly a code C2 should not be changed into a C3 in order to 'fraudulently' produce a satisfactory EICR.  Here at Trade Skills 4 U we have heard that some electricians have been asked to turn a code C2 into a code C3.  Last month we had an experienced electrician tell us about a burnt wire he had discovered a burnt wire within an insulated enclosure and the QS had changed the report to read the wire was discoloured in an attempt to change the code.

Is a code 3 playing it safe?

Some electrician argue that a C3 is neither one thing or the other.  Although the installation is not dangerous as it presently stands, it also doesn't comply to the latest 17th edition electrical regulations.  In an ideal world, the customer would opt to have their electrics upgraded so it does comply, however in reality this rarely happens.

One solution that has come from you guys is to have the rules changed to state that the installation would need to comply with either the 15th or 16th edition in order to be coded a C3.  This would turn many of the present C3's into C2's.

Why it is important to code correctly

Electricians should be given the freedom to code an EICR on their findings and not be pressured to change codes by supervisors.  A C2 coding for example means that a householder is at risk of electrical shock or injury.  By allowing the code to be 'downgraded' to a C3, the electrical problem could turn into a case of serious injury or even death.  Giving the householder the knowledge that their electrical installation is dangerous gives them the opportunity to do something about it.  This is particularly true for landlords who often rely on the outcome of an EICR to ensure that their tenants are electrically safe as they have a duty to ensure that the installation is safe to use.

It is important that as an electrician, the correct codes are diligently applied  If that means that the reports consists of C3's then that is what the outcome is.  There should be no need to change a C3 into a C2 for no reason other than the passage of time.

If a customer chooses not to action a C2 then that is their responsibility but as an electrician, codes should always be applied accurately.

Should a customer fix a C3?

That is their decision ultimately.  They are not obligated to do so and electricians we speak to in our training centre find that in nearly every case, a customer is happy to fix C1 or C2 problems but anything to do with C3 they tend to leave.

There is nothing wrong with recommended to a customer that they fix a few of the C3's but ultimately it is their decision as to whether they do so or not.

Is there any such thing as too many C3's?

In our opinion, no there isn't so long as the C3 has not been deliberately changed.  What is the most important is that the customer knows fully where they stand with regards to the condition of the electrics within their property.




10 Reasons Why You Should Become An Electrician

Posted by Kirsten Beckwith on 13th April 2015



Did you ever wonder what life was like before electricity? Electricity is hugely important to modern day life and where would we be without all those important electricians who maintain this on our behalf? If you’re thinking about becoming an electrician but considering other trades we thought we'd give you the top 10 reasons why we think you should become an electrician today:

It pays the most of all the trades

In a resent blog post we discussed the salary expectations for electricians in 2015, the average salary for an employed electrician is £30,172 which has increased by 4.60% since 2013 and this is nearly £2000 more than plumbers who rank second in the trades pay scale. We’ve seen this increase due to a skill shortage in this sector since the recession hit in 2008 when the skilled labourers of the time left the industry for pastures new, therefore the electricians left are in short supply since the market recovery meaning they can charge more!

Obviously for those who become an electrician it is possible to supplement their salaries by going self employed, working over time, becoming approved with a JIB Card, or investing in an inspection and testing course, becoming management or moving into office work after completing our 2396 Electrical Design course, which means if you work hard you can earn a lot more than the average. There is career progression available for all electricians and there are various paths you can take!

Challenging interesting work

Dealing with electrics can be a tricky job, you have to have a great understanding of practical installation skills, electrical diagrams and health and safety. You need to be able to think quickly to provide solutions for problems working away making sure your work is compliant to the UK’s wiring and building regulations. One day you may be carrying out a standard install, the next you could be fault finding and then you could be inspecting and testing. This challenge and variety will keep you sharp and ensure that no two days are ever the same.


new job

A career and skills for life

Once you learn your trade it’s a skill which will see you through until the end of your life, this is a sort after skill which your friends and colleagues will be interested in seeking your help and advice for.

Property side projects

Most tradesman or women have a lot of friends within the industry which means its easy for them to do up houses cheaply and sell these on, which is a healthy way of topping up that income.

The van office space

One of the most appealing reasons to become an electrician would be to own your own office on wheels this is where you can have business meetings with employees, keep your old sandwiches you decided to swap for fast food, newspapers and dirty old boots this is away from prying eyes which you can call your bachelors escape from the world.

The working environment

This is possibly the most tempting part of becoming an electrician. Not everyone is interested in working behind a desk, writing emails, and signing contracts if you want a career with your hands then electrics could be for you. Electricians are often on the move working in various homes and areas even electricians who perform electrical work for a single company will likely be on the move from day to day. You’re not tied down to the same four walls of an office building with the same co-workers to strict working hours allowing you the experience a variety of homes and businesses around the country. We would always highly recommend our blog on the do’s and don’ts when working in a domestic dwelling, this will assist new entrants to the trade.

be your own boss

Be your own boss

If you’re interested in starting your own business many electricians are self employed who own and manage their own business, this can be fun and exciting and a good reason to become an electrician. You will know a lot more than any normal DIY’er with the knowledge and understanding when it comes avoiding fires and electric shocks.

Cheap training

A huge benefit to becoming an electrician is that you won’t accumulate an unimaginable amount of student debt similar to other university courses on the market, training to become an electrician can be a lot cheaper, and with a company like Trade Skills 4U, you can continue working whilst you train.

Career opportunities

As an electrician you will experience the opportunity for advancement in your career. After starting as an electrician, hard-working and committed Electricians can become promoted to Electrical Engineer, Contract Manager and even Electrical Design Engineer within their company and field.

Skills shortage means increasing demand

We believe that we’ll see an explosion of jobs over the next ten years with more than 130,000 jobs becoming available. It’s also a wanted occupation if you wanted to move to Australia!

So as you can see there are some fantastic reasons to become an electrician. It is a great idea if you're someone who is interested in a secure job for the future, if you want to work with your hands, and make money while you learn, with a high salary potential at the end then look no further than training with Trade Skills 4U.






Win A Van with Our 10th Birthday Giveaway!

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 1st April 2015

win a van banner

Well we know it is April the 1st but this is no April Fools Joke. April 2015 sees us celebrate our 10th Birthday. To celebrate we are doing 2 things:

We are opening up our 17th edition 3rd amendment seminar video for all to enjoy completely free. Simply click here to view our interactive video.

We are going to be giving away a brand new Vauxhall Combo van away to one lucky customer

Whilst the free 17th edition 3rd amendment seminar video is a huge bonus it is probably the brand new van that will tweak most people’s interest.

So how do you win a van?

All customers who book a course between the 1st April and 31st May 2015 will be automatically entered into a prize draw to win a brand new Vauxhall Combo Van worth nearly £17,000 inc VAT. At the start of June Trade Skills 4U will draw 3 finalists out of a hat. Those 3 finalists will be invited back to Trade Skills 4U to compete in a game of Giant Buzzwire. Whoever completes the Buzzwire challenge the quickest or gets the furthest will win the Van and the two runners up will also receive a brand new Kewtech KT63 Multifunction tester for their efforts.

The great thing about the competition is that there is very little for customers to do and the odds on winning this fantastic prize are very good indeed. It is estimated that the customers will have around a 1 in 600 chance of winning this prize. 

To enter the competition could not be simpler. All you need to do is book a course between the key dates and you will be in with a chance. It doesn’t matter when you will be taking your course as long as the booking is made by the final deadline of 31st May 2015.

However as an extra bonus any booking in April will receive two entries into the competition doubling your chances to win!

About the Prize

vauxhall combo van

Trade Skills 4U will be giving away a brand new Vauxhall Combo Van worth nearly £17,000. This is a huge prize and not something that is likely to happen again in the near future. The van itself is perfect for electricians. The Vauxhall Combo has won light van of the year two years running and like Trade Skills 4U is a leader in its field. The 1.3 Diesel engine makes it super-efficient but with plenty of power to get you and your tools from A to B.

Compact, spacious and easy to load, the Combo can carry a class-leading payload of up to one tonne and a capacity of up to 3.4m3. It has both rear and side door access with a fantastic interior that will make you feel as if you a driving a new car.

Features include:

Electric power steering

Rake- and reach-adjustable steering column

Power front windows

Remote central door locking with deadlocks

Driver’s airbag

Anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD)

On-board computer

12V power outlet in dashboard

Driver seat with length and rake adjustment

Tyre repair kit

Nearside / offside sliding side-access doors

The winner of the van will simply have to insure it and drive away. As a brand new van all the servicing will be taken care of by Vauxhall for 3 years so you can enjoy your van hassle and cost free.

The van has been supplied by Trade Skills 4U neighbours Go Vauxhall who are based literally over the road from their head office. For any more details on this van or any other vehicle please visit: http://www.vauxhall.co.uk/vehicles/vauxhall-range/vans/new-combo/index.html


Categories: birthday, win a van

The Pitta Power Revolution: Global Energy Crisis Solved With Pitta Bread

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 1st April 2015

pitta bread roof

Anyone who has ever taken pitta bread out of the toaster will know that it has an exceptional ability absorb and retain heat. One Greek man had his eureka moment when making his lunch one day and thought what if he could put his pitta to better use? Petros Psomi was an engineer for many years, however with the current economic climate he found himself unemployed and struggling to pay his bills. Things went from bad to worse when the traditional solar thermal heating system on his roof broke leaving Petros, his wife and their fifteen children without any form of hot water. Petros had his brainwave when helping his wife bake fresh pitta bread for a village festival.

“Every time I picked the pita bread out of the oven it was like picking molten lava from a volcano. No matter how long I waited once I cut it open the steam burnt my hands. I realised that this pitta bread could possibly be the most heat absorbent material known to man and could be the solution to our heating issues. I got to work straight away”

Petros initially set about making a scale model utilising the pitta bread and immediately found it was easy to heat a bucket of water using some copper tubing threaded through the bread and down into a sealed bucket.

He then worked on the pitta bread itself to see if it was possible to improve the recipe and increase its solar absorbing potential. Amazingly he and his wife believe they have come up with the perfect recipe, however they keep this a closely guarded and are likely to patent this in the near future.

Then came the real test. Petros unhooked his existing solar thermal system, ran copper tubing across the roof and connected this back up to his existing hot water tank. His wife Maria then set about baking 750 pitta breads in order to cover as much of the roof as possible.  The resulting system has proved to be super-efficient and very cost effective:

“When we turned the system on we couldn’t believe how efficient it was. We can get all 15 kids washed on a good day and even when the sun isn’t shining it still makes the water pretty warm. When you think some people pay thousands of pounds for their solar thermal systems, yet here we are with free hot water for just a mere £200!”

Petros believes he can use the system to help revive the flagging Greek economy.

“One thing we have plenty of in Greece is pitta bread and sunshine so combining the two to make free energy is a win win! We want to share this technology for free and power the nation. We believe that this could really save the country billions of pounds.”

We asked Petros how he overcame the one of the most obvious flaws with his system. How do you keep the birds from eating the bread? Petros pulled out a shotgun and replied:

“This is how. It actually is another positive as we can now heat and eat for free. The roof attracts many birds every day and I can now feed my family much easier than before. If the pitta bread does get eaten we simply bake a bit more.”

We are not sure if this will catch on in the UK but one thing is for sure this is something that will turn some heads! Petros says that he has been overwhelmed by support from his local and national communities and is now working on new solutions involving hummous and taramasalata but is not at liberty to disclose any further details at this stage.


Categories: april fools