Tag Archives: train4tradeskills practical training

T4TS How to Guides: Sean talks about his Train4TradeSkills Plumbing course and business plans

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

You can listen to Sean’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

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T4TS How to Guides: Cliff’s Train4TradeSkills Practical Training – Week 6

Monday:

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.

Tuesday:

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.

Wednesday:

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.

Thursday:

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

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.

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

Cliff’s Diary of his Train4TradeSkills Practical Training – Week 4

Monday:

I am back in Featherstone for week 4 of my practical training there are not so many students this week and I am in a group of three. Our main task for the week is an airing cupboard fitting a hot water storage cylinder, feed and expansion tank also running a single hot feed to a hand basin.

This is part of the requirement for city & guilds 6129 course and is assessed but there is no photo and summary required. You can have two attempts to complete this task but if you are happy with your first install it is not necessary and you can move on to other things.

We don’t need a materials list for this task so it’s straight to work on the install. We can install this system any way we see fit and the only information given is that we must use as many machine bends as possible so as not to slow the flow of water.

This is quite a task as a great deal of the pipe work is in 22mm which is difficult to bend by hand, but after last week’s LCS I am feeling pretty pumped up and find it less difficult than my first attempts with 22mm pipe.

By lunchtime I am well into the install and have the feed and expansion tank completed and the feed to the cylinder also. After a catch up with the other students over lunch were back to work fitting the primary vent pipe which is the most complex of all the bends as it has a bridge, offset and two 90 ̊ bends all in one piece of 22mm tube. This takes the best part of an hour to work out and pull accurately but once complete the rest is plain sailing and by the end of the afternoon I have the system filled with water and soundness tested

Tuesday:

Having soundness tested the install the previous day and left the system filled overnight, Robert our tutor assessed the install and passed it with some nice comments on neatness and the quality of the bends and said that it was not necessary for me to do a second install and that I could decommission and move on.

The decommission takes a long time as there is a large quantity of water in the system so the morning soon passes. During lunch I spent some time with a group of students on their first week of training and am able to give some advice on what to expect during the week and hopefully helped them to avoid some of the mistakes people were making when I was there for week 1.

This was good because it allowed me to realise just how beneficial the first weeks were to me and how much I had retained to memory. In the afternoon Robert did air testing drainage systems with me and I got acquainted with a manometer, I also did two test papers ready for the exams the following day which I failed miserably much to my disgust, so out came the books and I spend the rest of the day doing some serious revision in the canteen.

Wednesday:

Feeling pretty tired today. I did another 2 hours revision when I got home last night and am just hoping I haven’t done too much and bamboozled myself with facts and figures.

I am given another task by Robert a Soil and Waste fit in one of the bays. It’s not a long task but there are two photo’s, a written summary and a materials list needed for this task. It really helps me clear my head and distracts me from worrying about the exams as I excel in the practical parts of the course.

And I am feeling much more relaxed by lunch. During lunch talking with fellow students I realise it’s not only me who has been dreading exam everyone failed the mocks and spent a long night of revision but are now all feeling pragmatic about them pass or fail, my own attitude is failure is NOT an option.

1pm: Exam time today we have Sanitation systems and Central Heating Systems both are about 30 questions multiple choice and computer based with about 60mins allocated for each which again is more time than is necessary and even spending lots of time over the papers I’m out within the hour relieved that there over with.

The rest of the day is to be a Rain Water System install again not a very long task but photo’s, materials list and a written summary is required for my portfolio, the install only take 30mins and the remainder of the day is spent doing materials lists and summaries for the last two tasks. We get our results from our exams quite late in the afternoon and I’m very pleased to say I passed both – CHUFFED!!!

Thursday:

Today is about getting my portfolio up to date and making sure everything is signed and dated correctly. Absolutely everything has to be signed and counter signed by the tutors, so Robert spends a whole morning going through our files with us, he also dose some talks on Solvents, Scaffolding Erection and The Safe Use Of Power Tools so that they can also be signed as completed.

He has also given us a talk on what to expect on our final two weeks and it sound like it’s going to be very intense with lots of summaries to do. I am all up to date with everything completed so there is no need for me to attend for the Friday. Friday’s seem to be for resit’s of exams and also any work that needs to be completed, so far I haven’t needed to attend on Fridays hope I can continue in that manner.

Hope you have enjoyed the read I have 4 more TMA’s to complete the level 2 then 2 more weeks practical so am hoping to be back with parts 5 & 6 of the diary soon.

To see photos from Week 4 of his practical training and read his other diaries, visit Cliff’s blog at www.plumbing-student.blogspot.com

Train4TradeSkills students share advice on how to get jobs and work placements

Are you training to be a plumber or electrician with Train4TradeSkills and want to get some practical experience outside of your course? T4TS 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. We’ve already done two of these guides (which you can read here), and here’s Part 3. 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

Dalton Gilbert

I’m a qualified electrician and I work for a previous small contractor firm and some big industrial firm like Sky, EDF and Virgin energy. Because the industry has grown tremendously bigger than what we anticipated and the 17th edition has become a new certificate that all employers are looking for and it’s very hard without your 17 qualification. As an electrician, I do metering, wiring, I’ve been doing all aspects of electrical industry. But without a recognised qualification then your career stalls.

Craig Holland

I was actually working as an electricians mate, I just didn’t have my qualifications. I was doing all sorts of work really – domestic, commercial, pre-face stuff. I learned the practical OK from that but coming to the training centre it’s helped with the theory side of it. Can you tell us a bit about how you arranged that experience then?When I first left school when I was 16, I sent out a CV and a letter to almost everybody within a 20-mile radius of where I live in the Yellow Pages. I didn’t really get much back from that, but then luckily a family friend offered me a job working with them as an electrician’s mate. So I ripped his arm off! (laughs)

Danny Wicks

Since I’ve been doing the course I’ve fitted three bathrooms, one for my mother and I’ve had two private jobs that I’ve done as well. Did you find that the work helps you understand the course more? I’d say that doing the course has made me understand the job more, rather than doing the jobs has made me understand the course more. You mentioned you did 2 private jobs. Can you tell us how you arranged that and how you went about it?Well it was from a a friend who was working on a customer’s house and he asked me to take a radiator off the wall from him, so he could do some plastering. This led to me being asked to fit a bathroom in the same property.

Lee O’Donnell

I’ve been helping friends out as a sparky’s mate for many, many years on the side, because I’ve always loved electrics and that kind of stuff. How did you find that helped your course then?Because I kind of knew on the practical side what cable felt like, I knew what it was like to terminate sockets and cable stripping became second nature, as we do a lot of that in IT as well with catfire cables. You pick up a lot of the practical things you need to do just by being an electricians’ mate.

Andy Knott

I’m working with a plumber now and he took me on, so I’m basically doing an apprenticeship with him, so when I’m not studying or here, I’m working with a plumber on-site and getting all the experience really. For those people that are listening and want to get work experience, can you tell us how you arranged that? There was a plumber on-site who said I was a hard worker, and I said I would like to get into plumbing. He said as long as it’s alright with your boss, I’ll take you on. You really just have to get out there, get on-site and once your out there with them, your own your way really. Have you found that the plumbing work has helped you with your course then?Most definitely. If there’s stuff in your bookwork that you don’t really understand, I can just go to him and ask him about it, he’ll explain it to me or show me if we’re on a job, on different types of systems and things like that.

You can listen all the full interviews from Dalton, Craig, Danny, Lee and Andy at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills – where you can download to iTunes and your smartphones.

Lee talks about his electrician training and working as a sparky’s mate

Lee O’Donnell is training to be an electrician with Train4TradeSkills. T4TS Radio spoke to Lee to find out how he is getting on with his training.

You can listen to Lee’s interview at www.train4tradeskills-radio.co.uk and download to iTunes and your smartphone via AudioBoo at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills