Six Train4TradeSkills students tell YOU how to get Jobs and Work Placements – October 2011

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

Rich Boden

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.”

Neil Pain

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.”

James Passas

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.

Dan Hardy

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.

Simon Venable

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.”

Shaun Burke

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.

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T4TS How to Guides: Cliff’s Train4TradeSkills Practical Training – Week 5

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 .

Monday:

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.

Tuesday:

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.

Wednesday:

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

Thursday

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.

Friday:

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

T4TS How to Guides: Rich talks about setting up his own plumbing business

Rich Boden is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. Tom Jinks from T4TS Radio spoke to Rich to find out how he was getting on with his training:

You can listen to Rich’s interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at www.train4tradeskills.blogspot.com or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills

T4TS How to Guides: Dan speaks about his plumbing work experience

Dan Hardy is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. Tom Jinks from T4TS Radio spoke to Dan to find out how he was getting on with his plumbing course:

You can listen to Dan’s interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at www.train4tradeskills.blogspot.com or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills

Train4TradeSkills student talks tanks, Afghanistan, plumbing and work experience

Daniel Terblanche is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. Tom Jinks from T4TS Radio spoke to Daniel to find out how he was getting on with his training:

You can listen to Daniel’s interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at www.train4tradeskills.blogspot.com or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills

Train4TradeSkills student James talks about his plumbing and handyman business

James Passas is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. Tom Jinks from T4TS Radio spoke to James to find out how he was getting on with his training:

You can listen to James’ interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at www.train4tradeskills.blogspot.com or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills

You can visit James’ website for his Handyman business at www.handyman.co.uk

Train4TradeSkills Students Top Studying Tips: Part 2

Are you training to be an electrician or plumber with Train4TradeSkills and want some studying tips?

Train4TradeSkills students now share their top studying tips to help you when studying on your course. All of the interviews are from Train4TradeSkills Radio, our student radio service.

Don’t forget that you can listen to all the student interviews from T4TS Radio at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills and download all the stories on our Scribd page at www.scribd.com/train4tradeskills

Megan Morphew

Plumbing Course

“When I go through the books I like to highlight the things and write them in a separate book, so it’s easy to refer to and it’s in my language, so I can understand it properly and it’s made it easier for me to learn.”

Sam O’Hemeng

Plumbing Course

“Best bit of advice is to take your time with it, don’t try and rush, because there’s quite a lot to read when you get it all through. A lot of people think the quicker I get through the quicker I’m done, but it doesn’t pay to rush through it – just take your time and make sure you understand it.”

Matthew Holly

Plumbing Course

“What I tend to do is write things down. in my Bristolian accent and things I know and it just works out for me a lot easier by doing that. Some people are very lucky and can take things down and suck it all in, but I start reading and end up staring through the pages. At least when you’re writing it down and you see a question, you sort of go back to it – and I found that really does help.

Dan Hardy

Plumbing Course

“What I do to get it lodged in my brain is make posters with little bullet points and put them all around my flat and above the toilet. So when I go to the toilet I can just read the post-it and it lodges in my mind. Just that really – that’s what I’ve been doing and it seems to work.”

Barry Dillaway

Plumbing Course

“Basically you’ve just got to buckle down to read all the books and manuals and take it stage by stage. Spend at least 2 hours a day reading the manuals.”

Craig Rushbrook

Plumbing Course

“I find reading through passages and making bullet points in a separate notebook and picking out the important parts works well for me. And then every 20 minutes just take a short break.”

You can listen to Megan, Sam, Matthew, Dan, Barry and Craig’s Interviews from Train4TradeSkills Radio and read the interviews at www.train4tradeskills.wordpress.com