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Nightmare on Regs Street

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 31st October 2016

Go on admit it, we’re all scared of the dark. There’s nothing worse than the thought of sitting in complete darkness on fright night. Did you know there could be some electrical horrors lurking in your home ready to scare you unexpectedly? We have found some real Nightmares on Regs Street. Check them out below:

1. Remember taping old wiring is a major fire hazard! Keeping up to date with the latest wiring can ensure your safety


2. Now this is bad! The wires are all over the place- time to tidy up the joint box!

3. This is a bad example of a distribution board with no front- what a nightmare!

4. We all know water and electrics do not mix!

5. Again, tape should never be used


6. The real lottery here is who will get electrocuted first!

7. Suitable IPA rating?


8. We think this is a suitable image for Halloween!

9.We definitely think this sign prevented the fire hazard!

10. Revenge is a dish best served cold!


11.Perfect lighting for your Halloween disco!

These electrics would definitely give you nightmares! If you think any of your electrics might be faulty contact a qualified and registered electrician ASAP.

Categories: halloween, electrical horrors

Case Study - Steve Kulka

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 28th October 2016

Today, we spoke with Steve, who at 61 has embarked on a new career as an electrician. He speaks to us about the decision behind his career change and what his plans for the future are.



Steve Kulka




Redhill, Surrey



Bronze domestic installer

What did you do before studying to become an electrician?

I've been in IT support most of my working life. Until I was 'let go' due to budget constraints, I was a Resources Manager in an IT department for over 10 years. I managed a small team of technicians and between us we were responsible for software support, networking, CCTV, telephones and we dealt with anything that had a 13A plug on it.

Why did you decide to train as an electrician?

I've always felt that 'electrics' was something that appealed to me and I'm the sort of person who needs to be doing something useful that I could take some pride in. When I didn't have a job to go to every morning I started volunteering for a charity that repaired furniture for people who didn't have any (Furnistore) and a weekly computer class for elderly people. I wanted a career where, as long as I was capable, I could work 'til I dropped.

What made you choose Trade Skills 4U?

Once I'd decided what I needed to do to become an electrician, I looked around for organisations that provided the necessary courses. I spoke to people on the phone, checked out websites and prices. Not only could Trade Skills 4U provide what I needed at a reasonable price, but they have an 'open house' facility. I popped round and a very well informed chap in the office showed round all the facilities and answered all my questions. All the staff were very helpful, which is comforting when you are starting something new.

What difference has training with us made to you?

Right from the beginning, I got the impression that the staff were willing to help explain what you needed in a way that made sense. It's not all academic learning. The practical hints and tips from tutors who are seasoned professionals give you a great confidence boost.

Were there any elements of the course you struggled with?

Unless you have some previous which I hadn't, the going can be tough. Most blokes think they can do minor electrical work. The important thing is to do it the safe and correct way. It's important to get the most out of the practical sessions and do the theory homework.

What were the highlights of the course?

Working through the sessions with the tutors and a great bunch of students, some of whom were 'newbies' like me. Passing all the exams!

What are your plans now you have finished the training?

Having completed the Bronze course, I am now updating my CV and LinkedIn. I am contacting companies in my area to see if they would be willing to trust me and let me help out. I need to get some practical experience and put my fresh training to good use. After a while, I'll review my situation to see if I need more training to allow me to specialise. Energy efficiency would be interesting.

Would you recommend Trade Skills 4U?

Definitely. The facilities and the staff are excellent and it's easy to get to. When you are investing that much of your own money, value is important.

What’s the best advice you could give to someone who is thinking about changing their career later on in life?

Be realistic. Starting on a new career path is a bit like starting from scratch when you're young, except you have much more experience and maturity to offer. A change in career probably means that you won't have a lot of useful contacts, so you'll need to network. Don't expect to just be offered a job. You need to convince people that you have something of value to them. Be prepared to be flexible in exchange for the experience.

Steve is proof that anything is possible at any age. Although the thought of a career change can be daunting, you will be surprised that when you finally make that leap you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

Steve we wish you the best of luck finding employment. 


Categories: training, qualified, case study

Former Student Invents the Speedy Sparky!

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 21st October 2016


We recently came across a new interesting product when browsing through a trade website and were excited to find out more about it. After a little digging, we found out the new creation on the scene, Speedy Sparky, was actually invented by one of our former students Barry Shaw from Hemel Hempstead!

We contacted Barry to find out more about his product, what inspired him to create it and how Trade Skills 4U helped him.

Barry explains the idea of the Speedy Sparky first came about in 2011 when he was completing the first-fix on a run of three-storey town houses. He realised he would be duplicating work across all the properties and knew there was a way he could speed the process up. That was when he had a lightning bolt moment, he carefully thought of a new tool that would comply with regulations and help his workflow and speed on site.

That evening after work, he decided to create a makeshift stencil that would pinpoint and mark up where each socket would go, ensuring they were level and conformed to BS7671 and Building Regulations Part M.   

The next day, he took his new homemade tool into work and finished his job in no time. He claims the new piece of equipment sped up his work five-fold and was completed to a high standard. Barry admitted his first proto-type needed some extra thought and attention with regards to the design so decided to flatten the model and incorporate a spirit level for extra accuracy.

The overall Speedy Sparky design now consists of:

Tough, lightweight plastic with structural ribbing on the back

30°angle markings to clearly position your sockets

40°angle markings for drilling holes

Spirit level to ensure precision

The tool can be used on various surfaces including; plasterboard and worktops which Barry demonstrates in his video below:

So how did Barry go from being a complete novice to an inventor?

Barry had a few different roles before becoming an electrician including, graphic designer and a model promotional staffing agency owner. After doing these jobs for several years he decided he wanted a reliable income, and thought to himself he had never come across a tradesman who struggled financially so he decided to retrain as an electrician.

He found Trade Skills 4U and initially did the C&G 2330 Level 2 and 3 in 2009 (now C&G 2365). Since then Barry has completed the Inspection and Testing courses as well as Commercial Solar PV installation too.

Since finishing his initial training he has worked with a few electrical training companies from building firms to solar installation. It was within the first 5 months of finishing the training he came up with the Speedy Sparky invention.

Barry believes his time at Trade Skills 4U helped him develop the problem solving knowledge and thought processing techniques to enable him to create the Speedy Sparky product.

Here at Trade Skills 4U we are really impressed with Barry and his product, it's always great to hear back from students who have achieved success once they have finished their qualifications.

We wish you the best of luck for the future Barry! 

Categories: ex student, speedy sparky, inventor

Case Study - Luke Lowson

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 12th October 2016


We caught up with Luke to see what he is up to now he has completed some qualifications with us at the Gatwick training centre. Luke is one of the youngest students we have had train through the company, he completed his first qualification in back in 2013 and has been coming back for numerous qualifications since.

How did you hear about Trade Skills 4U? 

My parents told me Trade Skills 4U were having a taster day for young people who were interested in electrical careers. As I wasn’t sure about my career at the time I thought I’d give it a go to see if I enjoyed the course as well as find out more about how to become an electrician.

Which courses are you studying and when did you take them?

C&G 2365 Diploma course and 17th Edition which I finished about four years ago; since then I have been back to do a PAT testing courses which my current employer has paid for.

How are you finding the courses?

Really good, I really enjoy the classes. The tutors are really helpful in breaking things down in a way that I can understand. I’ve always found the maths slightly difficult, however the more I’ve practised the easier it’s getting. One way I’ve overcome the maths barrier is applying the maths to a practical situation. For some reason this helped me understand how maths is used by an electrician.  

What did you most enjoy about the course? 

I really enjoyed learning the science behind how electrics works. The practical’s were also great because it broke the day up between theory and practical.

Have you found employment since taking the course and who is it through?

Before the course I tried to find some hands-on experience, so I helped on the electrical team at Chessington World of Adventures. Then after enrolling on the course I spent about eight months self-employed. More recently I have started working for Fishers Farm Park as a maintenance electrician.

What made you choose Trade Skills 4U?

The taster day really swayed it for me. The tutors were friendly and approachable, it made me realise this is really what I want to do as a career.

What were your initial goals when training for Trade Skills 4U?

To learn about the electrical trade and start a career.


Would you recommend Trade Skills 4U?

Yes definitely. I keep coming back to do the courses and each time I’ve had the best experience so they must be doing something right!


We think it’s great Luke has managed to find employment in the electrical industry at such a young age. Since coming to the taster day a few years back, he has been dedicated to achieving his goals through hard work and with a genuine interest for the trade.

We wish you the best of luck Luke.


Categories: case study