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PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS THREAD IS FOR FEEDBACK RELATING TO THE COMPANY CALLED TRADE SKILLS 4U and NOT THE COMPANY CALLED TRAIN 4 TRADE SKILLS.
 
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J

jivah

I have just finished a series of courses with Tradeskills4U and would like to post some feedback for others to get an idea of what they are like. First a little background, I have been working with computers for the last 12 years and have got to the point where I really need a change of scenery. It gets a bit much when all you do all day is stare at a screen so I wanted to do something that would get me out and about. Why electrics? I have been interested in renewable energy for a while and have been looking into fitting solar water panels on my own house, what I soon realised was if you want to do anything in this area, pretty soon you have to get involved with the electics, solar water needs pumps and controllers and they all have to be wired in. Once I started looking into it I decided that I would quite like to get the whole wiring side as it looked a lot more interesting than what I was doing at the moment.

So after a bit of reasearch I settled on doing a course with tradeskills4u, the main reason I went for them is that they were not too far away and I could do the course while still being able to get home in the evenings. So not very scientific, it was just a question of choosing the one that was nearest. I checked out a few other places and prices seem to vary but the length of the courses seems to be pretty similar, I also liked there site as there was more information on it than just about all the others. I could have gone for one of the courses run by a trade body like the NIC but I called them a couple of times and got conflicting information, where as tradeskills were much easier to deal with, I called them up and was asked questions about my background and they recomended a series of courses which I booked there and then.

One thing I should point out is that although my knowledge of domestic wiring is limited, before I drifted into computers I was a mechanical engineer working on the design and construction of large generators, so I have a pretty solid background in engineering, although all of it on the mechanical side, I am not the sort of person who has never picked up a screwdriver before.

I did the four day foundation, which was two days of practical wiring followed by two days of circuit testing. I then did my C&G 2382 17th edition, and my part p domestic installers course.

Overall impression of the course was very good, the quality of the teaching is very high especially as you have a very wide range of abilities. I would say that about 75% of those on the course had some previous experience in wiring, some were electricians who had been working in the trade for years but needed the qualifications, some were kitchen and bathroom fitters, some office site managers. Some were people like myself who have some practical knowledge but not in electrics, and some were complete novices who had never done anything like this before, although I would say that they were in the minority. Overall the spread of knowledge was quite wide but they managed to keep the whole thing moving a a good pace, quickly working out who was going to need more help and keeping a close eye on what was going on.

Beacause they were quite booked up I ended up dowing my 17th first then my part p, whereas it would have made more sense to do it the other way round. These two courses are craming exercises, what you learn on the 17th is how to find your way around the book and answer questions, it is all theory and dosen't feel like it has anything to do with wiring, we could have been studying hierogliphics. I am used to wading through computer manuals and using code that I don't understand and this was a similar exercise. I enjoyed the part p as it was a little more practical with a lot more real world examples of how the building regs apply to situations.

Overall impression of the course was very good, the quality of the teaching is very high and the lecturers teaching skills are excellent, we all learned a lot in a very short space of time. My only criticism, would be that I think there should be a more practical element to these courses. I would like to see the inspection and test expanded to say five days instead of two, with lots of testing on dodgy setups. But this is something that would need to be bought in as a compulsory element, trade skills I am sure have to compete on price against other similar courses and so if there prices are higher than others they would loose business. I think the best way to do this would be to make it a compulsory part of registering with NIC/Napit ect. that way all these centers would have to offer it as part of the package.

Overall then I would give Tradeskills a mark of 9/10, they run very good intensive courses, they are very pleasant to deal with and I think that the courses represent pretty good value for money and I only knock a point off because of the appaling quality of there coffee machine ;)

If you are looking around at doing one of these courses, I hope that helps.

Cheers
 
F

Freedo

Excellent post there jivah! Much appreciated...

I was just about to ask if anyone had any feedback from Tradeskills. My sister also lives near them so Tradeskills is closest to me also.

Just out of interest what courses did you take? I know you did Part P and 17th edition - any others? Now that you have finshed the courses what do you want to do?

About myself, I have a very basic knowledge of domestic electrics and am hoping to work with my step dad to become an domestic electrician. The courses 'I think' which are best suited to me are as follows;

- Part P Domestic Installers course £785
- City & Guilds 2381 16th Edition £450
- 2 Day Foundation Electrical course £225

Thanks again, :)
 
S

Shakey

Freedo, you wont be doing the 16th edition 2381, i think the last exam has now gone. Its 2382-10 17th edition now
 
J

jivah

Hi Freedo,

Thats what I signed up to, althought I think you meant 17th edition rather than 16th, but after doing the 2 day foundation I realised that I should do the inspection and test as well. I think it is important to stress, what these courses do is give you the basics along with some pretty intensive cramming to get you through the tests. They probably all follow a similar way of doing things, I was just very impressed at the pace at which things are done, considering the broad range of abilities.

The thing is that when you come out of one of these courses, you are not really an electrician. Its a big step in that direction but what you really need is experience to go with the bits of paper.

Personally I would like to see a lot more emphasis on the testing, I think you learn more from problem solving and working it out for yourself than you do from reading a book. What I have done is to get round this is to buy myself some test gear and I have volunteered to check all my friends electrical systems, free of charge. They don't get any paperwork, but it gives me something to test myself on.

As for value for money, I look at it from an IT perspective, if I was to go on a course to learn some programming skills I would expect to pay about 200 to 300 a day to be taught in a group. Trade skills are coming in at about 125 a day so to me that seems pretty good.

I should point out that I can't compare it to other courses because this is the only one I have been on, you may well find that there are many others out there who went some where else who were just as pleased with what they learned, I can only tell you about this place, so have a good look around and just go with the place you feel comfortable with.

Hope that helps.

Cheers
 
J

jivah

Hi,

Sorry I am begining to sound like an advert which is not really what I meant to do, what I was trying to say was this was great for me but don't expect it to suit everyone.

I was looking at some of the other comments about another course and the guy was really disappointed, he felt like he had not learnt to be an electrician, that it was nearly all theory and not much practice and he got no help afterwards. But his course was probably very similar to mine and I think all these courses are going to be very similar. I was pleased with what I got because thats what I was expecting.

If you go on one of these short courses thinking you are going to learn to be an electrician in a few days then you are going to be dissapointed because you can't compress all that learning into a few days, it's just not possible.

These courses are good for people who are in the trade and need the qualifications, people who are in related trades who need to upgrade, and people like me who have experience in other areas which help me to understand what is being taught. It's important to stress, these courses will not turn you into an electrician


This is high speed learning with the emphasis on passing tests. If you are a complete novice and you want to become an electrician then you probably need to go to college. I was pleased with my course because from my point of view it gave me exactly what I wanted, I am sure there are plenty of people out there who have a completly different view and I think they should be up here posting there comments as well so we can get a balanced point of view.

Hope that makes sense!!

Cheers
 
B

Bane

Your posts jivah are very informative mate and I'm glad you've gone through the effort to put forth your opinion.

"These courses are good for people who are in the trade and need the qualifications, people who are in related trades who need to upgrade, and people like me who have experience in other areas which help me to understand what is being taught. It's important to stress, these courses will not turn you into an electrician"

I'd already decided to enrol at college (since landing a job as a labourer/mate) BUT I was considering one of these "Fast track" courses UNTIL I saw the costs plus with the fact I was never really convinced with how proficient you could become with this condensed learning and you jivah, have worded it very eloquently and to the point.

Thanks and hope we see more of you on here.
 
C

ccrowe

jivah, your experience mirrors mine almost exactly. IT background followed by the Part P and 2382 courses at TS4U. I agree completely with what you say about them. The lecturers are very good. The course content could've done with more inspection and testing but I guess they've got so much to cover in a finite number of days that it just isn't possible.

These courses do not teach you to be an electrician, OK a DEI if you're being picky, but they give you enough to pass the tests to go on and develop your skills. Surely some training is better than none, and the people on my courses were under no illusions about how competant they'd be at the end.

All in all I'd say that TS4U are excellent at training you to exactly the level they describe.

Finally, you're absolutely correct when you say their coffee machine, and in fact their entire non-workshop/classroom facilities, are utterly dreadful.
 
C

Carl Bennett

Thanks for your feedback on this forum of our training centre. As you know, we get instant end of course feedback from everyone who attends our courses, and we always react to fair constructive comments, its the only way companies like ours improve. Sorry that the coffee isn't up to your standards, hopefully the training and qualification success you have received made up for it !

hope to see you again.

Carl Bennett
Director
TS4U
 
I

IanB

Hi all

I have just completed the 13 day Domestic Installer course at TradeSkills4U and here is a writeup.

Some background: My day job is in IT and the business side of computers (i.e. not programming etc.). I am doing these courses for interest and I would also like to do some work around my house. Who knows, it may even grow from there but currently IT remains my main 5 days a week bread and butter. I am competent with normal wiring etc. (did a year as a mate a long time ago) but had no testing experience.

I chose TradeSkills4U mainly because of location (near my parents) and price. I signed up for the 13 day block which was 5 days foundation, 5 days Part P and 3 days 17th. I chose to do these consecutively. On arrival at the centre the first thing you notice is the almost complete lack of parking. Get in early enough and you get a space but after 8:30 or so everyone struggles. This varies with the number of courses on at one time as is to be expected. Signing in is very easy and then it is off to your classroom to meet your tutor and start. There were 13 in our foundation group with a wide range of experience and abilities. There was just as wide a range of reasons for doing the course too with some wanting to become apprentices through to those wanting to renovate houses. There were none who would admit to having seen adverts for job shortages and high wages and jumped in at the deep end.

Week 1 - Foundation
The course was essentially divided into two days building circuits and three days testing. Day 1 was theory on ring final circuits including spurs etc. and then building them. Day two was theory on lighting, one way, two way and intermediate switching and again building them. This was fun and circuits were proven by simply switching them on and seeing what happened. No student hands were near them at that time. There were some odd results but no bangs. At no point did we touch live circuits and the mains were safely padlocked off. Testing was done by the tutor.

The final 3 days were testing and the theory that goes with it. Some there had scrambled brains at the end of each day but the tutor did a grand job of making sure everyone had grasped it (or at least thought they had). This is where less people in the group would have been a big improvement for those there. I was the only one there to have brought a tester with me and I used it to get to know it which was very helpful. We all learnt a lot in this stage of the course.

Summary of week 1:
Pros: We learnt a lot in a reasonable amount of detail. Hands on testing was great and the tutorage very helpful.
Cons: Coffee was awful, room way too hot and no ventilation. Too many on the course not allowing the slowest to keep up. You couldn’t quite miss the fact that the tutor didn’t like the course and what some students expected from it. For others e.g. wannabe apprentices though no such problems. This did not affect the standard of teaching.
Missing bits: Some sort of practical exercise with known problems to diagnose.
This course is well worth doing if you have no testing experience.

Week 2 – Part P
This was classroom based for the first two and a half days and then there was a 1 and a bit day assessed testing practical. The last day consisted of a revision section and off to the exam.
The lecturing was excellent with all salient points covered. Basically listen and absorb everything said and you would be ok. The testing was next with about half the class out of their depth at this point. Those doing the two day foundation for example just did not have the preparation necessary. The lecturer gave them a half hour top up and I think most completed this section after that.
The revision bit was excellent and a very worthwhile part of the course. We had what seems to be the average number (2 to 4) of people who did not pass. They all said they were coming back to retake though. There were 14 on this course.

The final 3 days – 17th edition.
This was more of the same classroom work with the tutor going through the red book pointing out all the important bits at least from an exam point of view. We were left to mark up our own red books with highlighters and labels or whatever took your fancy. It was fast and furious but ok at the end of the day. When I left no-one had failed but I did not see everyone. I think there were 16 on this course but numbers were not an issue here.

So, what did I think of it all. Well, the courses did exactly what they promised and for me at least delivered. I was more aware of what I did not know at the end of it all which was great but I am also more confident with what I do know. I have done several small jobs now and am enjoying myself a lot. I have even been to a short circuit and near fire and corrected the problem safely. This was caused by a DIY bodge the likes of which I have never seen before – amazing and just goes to show this Part P stuff is not a complete pain in the butt. Finally I would have liked to see more testing on the course but these are short courses and very intense at that. I am also happy with the value for money aspect and hope to do some more e.g. 2391 etc. in the future. I suspect better coffee is probably and sadly a pipe dream.
 
A

andy8758

Since two other posts give a detailed - and in my opinion, accurate - summary of the training TradeSkills4U delivers, I won't go into great detail. Basically the training centre gives highly focused courses that aim to get you to pass the exams. I travelled 130 miles to do the training because they offered good value, made it very clear what they were delivering (a domestic installer is not a fully qualified electrician of course) in the training, and gave real practical tuition, whilst other centres wanted up to £6000 just to get you to qualify as a domestic installer, whilst appearing to tell you that would give you a full electrical qualification.

All the Tradeskills instructors (3 of them) on my 4 courses (4 day foundation, Part P, 17th edition (2382), and Practical inspect and test of initial installations (the new 2392 course)) were extremely knowledgeable, practical, and excellent teachers. But, if you have little background in electrical installations, you will need to do a lot of hard studying to pass all the courses first time (and yes, I worked very hard and passed all first time). One of my fellow students even went home and created his own "test" board to practice on. I took the course having spent 30 years doing amateur work on vehicle, domestic and computer electrics. Now as a property renovator and developer I wanted the qualifications and training to improve my own work.

Overall I think it was a valuable investment of the £2090 I spent on the courses. As for the coffee - there is an excellent tea stall across the road...
 
I

IanB

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS THREAD IS FOR FEEDBACK RELATING TO THE COMPANY CALLED TRADE SKILLS 4U and NOT THE COMPANY CALLED TRAIN 4 TRADE SKILLS.

Hi all

Second post just to break my duck ;-)

I can understand your scepticism about good posts on the course providers. I still stand by what I said and here is an update on life post TradeSkills4U:

As I mentioned before I am primarily an IT person and I still do that 5 days a week. I am however running adverts in the Oracle (local free rag) for electrical work. Heck, I can even be found on yell.com for my sins. No work from that ad yet either for those interested. Looking like a couple of hundred smacker wasted.

So far I have been quite busy with mainly small stuff and one quite exciting short circuit (DIY bodge). I am not taking on rewires or anything like that. Small modifications and changes that can be done over a weekend or in an evening are my target and things are ok.

So, nothing to add re the training company and I am happy and confident in the work I am undertaking. I do have a very healthy respect for strange wires though and test everything with my mains tester at least three times before touching it.

Registering with one of the happy clubs is next as some of the jobs I am getting asked about need notifying. At 250 quid each time it is a no brainer really (haven’t done one yet for this reason). Best example so far is a surface mounted new spur from CU to a double socket. Must be nearly 18 inches long but at the end of the day still a new circuit so needs notifying - bummer.

I did read this and other forums extensively before booking my courses and still felt I was going in a bit blind. I had not posted previously as I simply had nothing of value to say about anything at the time.

Anyway, I hope this allays some fears and helps others trying to select a training provider. Don't forget though, you don't really start to learn until after you finish the course. They really are an exam passing exercise.

Thanks
 
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I

IanB

but if you felt that these courses were purely about passing exams, then something has gone wrong

my students, are expected to learn what they need to know to work safely and competenetly 'outside', the exam is secondary to that

of course, they may get more experienced, but that it is a different thing to not starting to learn till after you have finished the course;)
Sorry, I should have been more specific. I learnt the most in the foundation course where basic circuits and safety were covered. There was a significant section on testing too which was fantastic. This was essentially an optional course and I chose this one as I knew my testing knowledge was non existent.

The Part P course was an informative exam cram. You could absorb it and remember it or simply repeat it parrot style. You got from it what you put in. Again it was good to do the testing bit under tougher assessed conditions.

The regs course really was a cram. I remember a lot of what was said but I do that as part of my day job and not everyone is good at that anyway. I learnt my way round the regs manual which was the best outcome. I guess in a way the pressure at the time was on the exams but we all learnt quite a lot on route whether we realised it or not. The talk between the students in the Part P and regs courses was really exam based. There is no doubt we could have learnt more and become more proficient given more time but time is really limited.

I was happy the courses did their bit, some others on the course I did may not have quite the same opinion. So, did it prepare me for the outside world? Well, yes but I have to say that my previous experience here helped a lot.

As for my comment 'not starting to learn till after you have finished the course'. I did not expect anyone to take that quite literally :eek: To cite an example of what I meant (I hope) - many years ago I took an ACU motorbike course prior to starting to ride on the road. I passed the course with flying colours but didn't really start to learn how to survive on the road until after the course. It wasn't that the course didn't teach me exactly what it set out to, it was just that there was so much more that is gained from experience including the swerve balls fired at us by others.

Enough of my babbling :D
 
S

Shakey

Sorry, I should have been more specific. I learnt the most in the foundation course where basic circuits and safety were covered. There was a significant section on testing too which was fantastic. This was essentially an optional course and I chose this one as I knew my testing knowledge was non existent.

The Part P course was an informative exam cram. You could absorb it and remember it or simply repeat it parrot style. You got from it what you put in. Again it was good to do the testing bit under tougher assessed conditions.

The regs course really was a cram. I remember a lot of what was said but I do that as part of my day job and not everyone is good at that anyway. I learnt my way round the regs manual which was the best outcome. I guess in a way the pressure at the time was on the exams but we all learnt quite a lot on route whether we realised it or not. The talk between the students in the Part P and regs courses was really exam based. There is no doubt we could have learnt more and become more proficient given more time but time is really limited.

I was happy the courses did their bit, some others on the course I did may not have quite the same opinion. So, did it prepare me for the outside world? Well, yes but I have to say that my previous experience here helped a lot.

As for my comment 'not starting to learn till after you have finished the course'. I did not expect anyone to take that quite literally :eek: To cite an example of what I meant (I hope) - many years ago I took an ACU motorbike course prior to starting to ride on the road. I passed the course with flying colours but didn't really start to learn how to survive on the road until after the course. It wasn't that the course didn't teach me exactly what it set out to, it was just that there was so much more that is gained from experience including the swerve balls fired at us by others.

Enough of my babbling :D
and that was my point, you may have become more experienced, but like i said, that it is a different thing

got to be honest, your comments about learning the part p 'parrot fashion' do not sit well with me

my EAL students (assuming this is the part P you are talking about) will spend probably 15 hrs on the meter on that part of the course, never mind the 2392 and 2391 they have to go through

they simply cant learn it parrot fashion, they HAVE to prove they fundamentally understand it

and like i said, i anot criticising this particular privider, it may just be your interpretation

i am simply comparing your experiences to what i KNOW my students have to go through/acheieve;)
 
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