Category Archives: student
Well it’s Week 6 and the beginning of the end of level 2 this morning. There’s another group of students arriving for their practical, whether it be plumbing or electrics, week one or eleven all are mingling around the canteen chatting about their journeys, meeting new people or even some familiar faces met on previous visits.
I already know what I have in-store for me this week it’s my bathroom install assessment, and I am looking forward to getting on with it. The ATL centre is still down one tutor due to sickness so Robert is going to have to spread his time between two groups again, which is not a problem as we are supposed to do the install without any help from the tutors.
Nevertheless he spends twenty minutes with us explaining the requirements of the task, which include designing the layout, a full materials list, a written summary description and photographic evidence. So a good part of the morning is spent planning and setting out, we are to use plastic pipe and John Guest Speedfit® fittings below floor level and copper above floor level so it is going to be quite a quick install and I have almost finished the first fix by 4.30pm so I call it a day.
Not feeling so good this morning as I am aching all over and have the sniffles first signs of man flu -just what I need this week! I get down to work regardless and soon complete the first fix and notching of the floor boards and proceed to pressure test the first fix.
Out in the real world this would be no problem as all my fitting would be new but here in the centre we re-use old fittings, so after changing several faulty service valves I manage to complete a successful pressure test and with the help of another student take the first of my photographic evidence photo’s.
I have been trying since I arrived yesterday to get Robert to read my updated summary description from last week so that I can sign the work off in my portfolio, but he is hard to pin down for long and I have to literally stand in front of him with my work and a pen to get him to check it and even then he only has time to scan it briefly before we are informed that we have exams in five minutes, Ouch wasn’t expecting that Wednesday is the usual day for exams but due to the amount of exams to get through this week they had decided to start earlier in the week.
So I have two exams Environmental Awareness In Plumbing and Effective Working Relationships In The Plumbing Industry, It feels very thrust upon us and my head is banging with the onset of flu, I Have a real problem keeping focused in the exam and am not happy when I leave the examination room and with good reason as it turned out.
I flunked the environmental awareness exam which surprises me as it’s a bit of a pet subject for me, re-sits Thursday before I can sit the end GOLA exam. So a bit disconsolate I return to my bay to continue with my bathroom install, “at least that is going well” Robert has spotted that I am not at my best and comes and spends a bit of time with me going over the environmental awareness with me, I really like Robert and his teaching methods and I am feeling much better when I leave for home.
The Flu has really got me now and I am avoiding contact with rest of the group to avoid passing it on, fortunately I am working in a bay on my own so they should be OK as long as they keep their distance.
I get my head straight to finishing my installation and have it completed by lunchtime with no problems at all and took the other photo for the supplementary evidence and had Robert in to check and appraise the installation. I am not the first to finish this week but I am very happy with the finished job.
The sun is out today and I enjoy lunch sitting out in the fresh air and it makes my flu feel not so bad. The afternoon was spent methodically decommissioning the bathroom, counting and listing all the fixtures, fittings and pipe work used in the bathroom as I can use it to make a the accurate material’s list needed for supplementary evidence. It takes the whole afternoon to strip out, recycle and return the bay back to the blank canvas it was to begin with, I would of liked to get away early today to revise but it 5pm by the time I leave the centre tiered but satisfied that I only have my write-up left to do.
Big day today as its re-sit and my GOLA Assessment End Test, and there is no waiting around were straight into the exam room at 9.30am I have fully prepared myself with max strength flu capsules this morning and am feeling much clearer in the head the re-sit is easy and I have no problem with 18 questions then its straight on with the GOLAHOO!!! Lots of good vibes going around everyone’s done really well nobody needs to re-sit.
So congratulations to all my fellow students who completed their Level 2 plumbing. I can now look forward to starting my level 3 course work and I will be back soon with a week 7 training diary many thanks also to my friends and family for all your support, especially my partner Carmen without you none of this would have happened.
Read the rest of Cliff’s practical training diaries on his plumbing blog at www.plumbing-student.blogspot.com
- Cliff’s Train4TradeSkills Practical Training Diary – Week 5 (train4tradeskills.wordpress.com)
- Train4TradeSkills Radio: James talks about his T4TS Plumbing Course and Handyman business (train4tradeskills.wordpress.com)
T4TS How to Guides: Ex-Armed Forces Personnel talk about retraining with T4TS as plumbers and electricians
We are also keen to help servicemen and ex-servicemen make the transition from the armed forces back into civilian life and have a number of students who served in the armed forces and are now training as plumbers and electricians.
Train4TradeSkills Radio has spoken to a number of servicemen and soldiers who are preparing for life after the army by training as plumbers and electricians. These are Dev Pun, Daniel Terblanche and Darryl Johnson.
Dev is a Gurkha who has spent 11 years in the army as an engineer. Dev has served with the Gurkhas, who are part of the British Army, in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dev turned to plumbing because he was recommended to take it up by a friend who is a plumber, and he said he wants to learn new skills and have a trade under his belt.
Dev says about the practical training part of the course:
“The practical training is quite challenging and demanding because I’m learning new things every week. The teachers are helping me, and I’m learning new things on practicals.”
Daniel has spent 7 years in the army, working as a tank commander. Dan describes his job as “I basically drive, load , shoot, gun and sometimes command tanks.” Based at RAF Honington, Daniel took leave to attend his practical training and is training as an electrician.
Daniel told Train4TradeSkills Radio how he went about doing the course as well as serving in the army and his plans for the future:
“I basically just went through the chain of command. I went to my boss and spoke to him about it, saying this is what I’m doing and I’m paying for it out of my own pocket. At the end of the course the army has a scheme called Enhanced Learning Credits – if you can pay for a course with those learning credits then the army is obliged to let you go. Once I’ve finished the course I will put my application for enhanced learning credits in and they will give me some money back. I can then go back to army and say this is what I’ve done, I’ve passed a course and you’re letting me go for a few weeks at a time when it’s justified
At this stage of the game I think it will take me quite a while to finish the course and I’m in no rush at all at this stage. Once I’ve finished the course I’ll probably see if I can get permission At the end I would possibly like to be self-employed, yeah, but initially I need to get a whole lot more experience before I do that, so I would probably look to work for a big company or something along those lines.”
Darryl is a soldier and is in the 2nd Royal Welsh Battalion. He has served a tour of Afghanistan and is set to leave the army in the next month and will instead focus on plumbing.
Darryl told Train4TradeSkills Radio about how he arranged to do the practical training and his plumbing plans for when he’s left the army.
“At the moment I’m on leave so it was quite easy for me to come down here for this second week that I’m on now. When I was on week 1 I was still in my working hours so because I was leaving my platoon commander was kind enough to give me the time off because he knew I was already signed off and my contract was going to end. He was happy to give me the time off and let me complete my week 1.
With me coming out of the army this month, I’m hoping to finish my Level 2 by the end of the year. Once I’ve done that I’d like to get in with a plumber, get employed and gain some experience.
The benefit with Train4TradeSkills is that you can do it at your own pace, in the evenings or in your spare time.”
You can listen to Dev, Darryl and Daniel’s stories from Train4TradeSkills Radio at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills
Train4TradeSkills is a big supporter of the Armed forces and particularly Holidays4Heroes, a charity that gives holidays to servicemen and women who have sustained injuries whilst on duty. To find out more about Holidays4Heroes go to http://holidays4heroes.blogspot.com
- Train4TradeSkills Radio: British Army soldier Darryl talks about the army and his T4TS Plumbing course (train4tradeskills.wordpress.com)
- Gurkha Soldier retrains with Train4TradeSkills (train4tradeskills.wordpress.com)
- Train4TradeSkills Radio: Tank Commander Daniel talks about his T4TS Electrician course (train4tradeskills.wordpress.com)
Are you training to be a plumber or electrician with Train4TradeSkills and want to get some practical experience outside of your course? Train4TradeSkills Radio has spoken to a number of students who are working in the industry alongside their training and gaining valuable experience. These students offer their advice and tips of how they managed to get work placements and jobs, so you can follow in their footsteps. Here are the students and the excerpts from their T4TS Radio interviews. All of the interviews are available to listen to at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills and you can read and download the stories via Scribd at www.scribd.com/train4tradeskills
Plumbing Course“I’m a self-employed roofer. I started off working for a firm as a kid getting my experience. And then what I did from working with them I’d do weekend jobs for family and friends and jobs on the side and their friends said “you’ve done a good job, do you want to do this…” and the recommendation side of it. From that I started to get a bit busier and was trying to squeeze jobs in at the weekends, as I was working full-time for a firm Monday-Friday I didn’t have time. So I started cutting out on them so I could do my own work. It was a bit of a gamble at the start, I cut myself off from them and worked independently. Then it came to setting up a website for a few hundred pounds, advertise in a local newspaper. Luckily my mum is a local community representative and she put an ad in for the local community voice paper that goes round to all the local houses, so I got quite a bit of work through that as well.”
Plumbing Course“I met up with a chap who I’ve known for years and he’s given me a break really. He needed someone to do general labouring and it’s gone from there. I’m doing carpentry, roofing, a bit of everything really. I’m self-employed already, so initially my plans are to go out and do general plumbing, hopefully pass my solar as well. At the moment because I’ve got a fair bit of building work I might branch out on my own and do extensions and incorporate the plumbing into that.”
Plumbing Course For the last 5 years I started up a handyman company with a friend of mine and we do various types of work. Apart from plumbing, we do bathroom installations, kitchen installations and smaller jobs, from painting and decorating to laying floors, carpentry, tiling – that sort of thing. For the people who want to go self-employed and start their own business, what ways have you found are the best to get customers?It starts off as word of mouth really and then setting up the website helped and making sure it was reasonably high up in the Google rankings, advertising. After a few years we’ve found the customers have increased and we’re getting more and more queries from people.
Plumbing Course I’ve been doing some unpaid work experience with a local plumber, so I work with him a couple of times a week or when I can and he teaches me the ropes. The main thing I’m getting out of it is the experience. It’s alright doing this course but being on-site is where it’s at and it prepares you a bit more. What sort of jobs have you been doing with the plumber then? PVC plasting piping, fitting in radiators, toilets, done a central heating system and general repairing and replacing taps. It’s been pretty full-on and it’s given me the determination to finish the course and do it for real full-time. Can you tell us how you went about arranging the plumbing work experience?I just got the Yellow pages and wrote all the names down and typed up a letter saying what my name is and I’m doing a Level 2 Plumbing Course, is there any chance of any unpaid work experience to help me along. And if they replied that’s a bonus and if not, just keep on trying.
Plumbing Course “I run my own business now. It’s plumbing, property and gardening services, which I’ve been doing since February 2011. I’ve been doing bathrooms, wetrooms, kitchen sinks and replacing traps in bathrooms and kitchens, radiators”. How do you get your business then?“Word of mouth and business cards. I’ve put one advert when I first started in a local magazine. That cost me £70 to put the advert in, but on the strength of that I got 3 customers, 2 of which came back for extra work – so it more than paid for itself.”
Plumbing Course“I’m now installing solar panels on roofs – doing PV ones at the moment. The company I’m working for now are going to put me on the thermal panel and the hot water side, so I’ll be trained up for them and work there. Once I’m trained up fully, I’ll start installing those as well. The course will help me out with the job that I’m doing now – I could get on the other side instead of doing the PV panels and do the install of the thermal panels on the roofs, as people are going to push for a big drive for them to be installed on people’s houses.”
You can listen all the full interviews from Neil, Rich, James, Dan, Simon and Shaun at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills – where you can download to iTunes and your smartphones (iPhone and Android) if you have one.
- Train4TradeSkills students give you advice on how to get work placements (train4tradeskills.wordpress.com)
- Train4TradeSkills Students give you advice on how to get jobs and work placements – Part 2 (train4tradeskills.wordpress.com)
- Train4TradeSkills Students give you advice on how to get jobs and work placements – Part 3 (train4tradeskills.wordpress.com)
- Train4TradeSkills Students give you advice on how to get jobs and work placements – Part 4 (train4tradeskills.wordpress.com)