- Train4TradeSkills Radio: James talks about his T4TS Plumbing Course and Handyman business (train4tradeskills.wordpress.com)
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
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.”
Here’s Stephen’s latest blog:
On my last blog I talked about the job I had applied for, which is a plumbing apprenticeship with Pennaf Housing Ltd. Just to let you know I got through the first stage and have been shortlisted, which I’m really happy with.
I found out that 113 people applied for the two jobs, which is a three year plumbing apprenticeship. They then cut it down to 13 people and 10 people arrived to the assessment day, and I was one of the 10 people chosen.
I had to go to a meeting at EF offices at St Asaph in North Wales, where we had an overview of Pennaf Housing and what the job involves. On the assessment day, we had to undertake a number of tests, an interview and a practical task.
I feel I coped well with this and told them all about my work on the course, how I have got to Unit 25, my practical training and plumbing work experience, and they said they thought highly of my application, which is good.
They are due to invite 6 people to another interview on Monday (today) and then they will decide who will get the 2 places. I’ll have more on my blog next week about whether I get through.