Hi and welcome again to my diary of practical training. This week’s assessments will be sheet lead weathering’s. Also I have two exams:one on Electrical supply and earth continuity and the other on sheet lead weathering’s .
As with every other first day I am not sure who is going to be in my group or who my tutor is going to be, when I arrive at the ATL centre in Featherstone I get straight down to business finding out who is in my group and introducing myself.
There are 14 other students in my group again made up of people mainly from the northern counties and Scotland of varying ages, everyone is pretty calm as we have all been here to this centre before. The group is split into two immediately depending on whether individuals are there for one or two week stints but as this would make the groups uneven I am put with the group who are only doing a one week stint. We are to do our sheet lead while the other group will be doing their final bathroom assessment.
My tutor for the week is Mike. It’s the first I have had Mike as a tutor but he is from the same area of Bradford as me and we hit it off straight away. First he does an introduction to the health and safety issues concerning lead it being extremely heavy and toxic so barrier cream and careful handling are a must. We are then introduced to the welding equipment which would normally be an oxyacetylene and oxygen torch but because lead is going to be dropped from the syllabus soon, we are to be using a miniature propane torch; they are much cheaper if somewhat less accurate.
We spend the rest of the morning practicing welding techniques, and I have to say at this point it is very different from what we learned in copper jointing and also much more an acquired skill that takes patience and a steady hand. In the afternoon we are given our first assignment which is a lead slate to go over the soil vent pipe protruding a roof plus a written summary description, materials list and two photographs for supporting evidence,
It is a more complicated task than it may first appear, getting the roof pitch onto the upright cylinder is a 10 stage process that I’m not going into now as you will be guided through it by a tutor, needless to say the task takes all afternoon to complete.
We start the day with a bit of welding practice just to make sure we haven’t forgotten everything overnight and I find it much easier than I had the previous day and are introduced to lead bossing and spend the time up until morning break beating bits of lead into various shapes.
We are then given our second assessment task which is manufacture and install a full chimney weathering set, written summary description, materials list and two photographs for supporting evidence. The first part of which is the front apron this is to be formed using bossing only and takes a whole hour to form the required shape, hopefully this would not normally take that amount of time with more experience I would expect to half that time, but we are in no rush as we have the rest of the week to complete the assessment.
The roof and chimney we are using for this task is a low level purpose made facade so the whole installation can be done without leaving the ground and the manufacturing of the parts can be done on the bench and be taken out to check how well each part fits and or final adjustments.
As it is nearly lunchtime I take an early break and spend a long lunch chatting with other students in the centre as there are people at various stages and trades within the centre and I personally think it’s good to spend time talking with them also. After lunch I set about manufacturing the side flashing’s again this is quite complicated and takes several hours to make fit snugly, so even though I start to make the back gutter I don’t get far into it before it’s time to pack up for the day.
Got off to a bad start today and I don’t arrive at the centre until 10am this turns out not to be to much of a problem as our tutor has been taken ill in the night and won’t be back to work for several days we are now handed over to Robert whom I have been tutored before in weeks three and four.
So I get on with completing the back gutter this part is made with a combination of bossing and welding but by now I am really getting the hang of forming lead and have it finished very quickly and set about get all my parts installed on the low level chimney (in the rain) I was very pleased with the end result and Robert gave me a nice appraisal, there is just enough time before lunch to dismantle the installation.
During lunch I can feel the tension in the air as Wednesday is exam day starting straight after lunch as there are lots students we can’t all fit in at once so I have a little time to wait before I can get in to the exam room to do mine but I eventually get in at 2.30pm and start with my Electrical Supply and Earth Continuity exam which goes very well and I know I have done well even though I will have to wait for my results. However with my second exam Sheet Lead Weathering
Feeling tired this morning but all my practical assessments are complete and I just have my summaries to write up, this to me is the hardest part and I more than expect it to take all day in the centre because of the constant activity and people wanting to chat. But I like it that way as it forces you to take regular breaks which I find allows me to concentrate better during the time I am writing.
Robert my tutor also spends some time with me one to one on sheet lead theory which was an excellent way to revise, as a home study course it is something I don’t really have access to other than down a phone line which is definitely not the same. Anyway I decide to leave early so I can get my photographs and write ups printed ready for tomorrow.
Last day all ready the week has gone very quick as always, I have my re-sit at 9am so I just sit chatting with the other students who also have re-sits, the time soon passes and I am in and out again in 20 minutes and I am pretty sure that it’s in the bag, so I spend some time with Robert reading through my summaries and he is not impressed and request me to expand them as they are not even half long enough and would be failed by the City & Guilds examiner.
We go through the rest of my portfolio and make sure everything is signed and up to date, and then I get the result of my exam (PASS). So knowing that I have lot of writing to do to expand my summaries I decide to get off home.
That’s it for my practical training diary for this week except to say that I have re-written my summaries before I wrote this diary and I am quite happy with them but we will have to wait until next week to see if Robert feels the same way.
Thanks for reading, Kind regards Cliff.
Want to read other practical training diaries by Cliff about his Train4TradeSkills Course? Then head over to Cliff’s Plumbing Blog at www.plumbing-student.blogspot.com
- Cliff’s Diary of his Train4TradeSkills Practical Training – Part 3 (train4tradeskills.wordpress.com)
- Cliff’s Diary of his Train4TradeSkills Practical Training – Week 4 (t4tshowtoguides.wordpress.com)