No matter what you’re paying for or buying, you will want to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth – particularly when investing in your career.
With continuing uncertainty and lack of job security, now more than ever, it’s essential to do what you can to future-proof yourself, your career and your earnings. For some, that means upskilling in their current field. For others, it means learning something new altogether.
You never know what life may throw at you, so it’s essential to be ready for anything. Thankfully, learning a trade means learning a skill for life. And as the housing-marketing increases, so does the demand for electricians, gas engineers and other tradespeople.
What You’re Paying For:
The process of gaining qualifications via university is pretty well known. First, you apply to student finance, and they’ll cover your course fees and student loan for the 3-4 years you’re there. Then, when you graduate, you owe £40,000-50,000, which you’ll pay back in instalments with each paycheck once you earn over a certain amount.
For example, on plan 2, which is for those who started an undergraduate course on or after 1 September 2012, you’ll repay when your income is over £524 a week, £2,274 a month or £27,295 a year (before tax and other deductions).
Trades training is different in more ways than one.
Trades training is more affordable, costing £4,000-8,000 depending on your course. In addition, training can be completed in a shorter duration, meaning you can earn in your chosen field sooner.
For example, our domestic gas training and NVQ level 3 electrical training are split into three steps and take, on average, 1-3 years to complete. Duration varies depending on whether you train on a full-time or part-time basis.
Stage One – Centre-Led Training
For the first stage of training, you’ll work closely with your trainers, taking in their knowledge and expertise in one of our training centres.
The workshops and classrooms are fully equipped with high-quality tools and materials to enable you to get the most out of the training experience. You don’t need to bring equipment or resources to the centre as we provide everything you need. During training, you’ll complete a series of practical and theoretical learning, followed by assessments to ensure you’re on the right track.
Throughout the training, your trainers and our support staff will be on hand to ensure things are running smoothly and provide any additional training or support you may need.
Stage Two – Portfolio Building
Whether you’re training to be a gas engineer or electrician, on-site experience is crucial. Stage two consists of working on-site with a qualified professional in your chosen field who will assist you in increasing your skills and knowledge of the trade. During this time, you’ll document your work in a portfolio which will be assessed before you move on to stage three.
And at Options Skills, we try our best to assist students in finding the best opportunities.
For gas students, we have a network of qualified gas engineers who regularly take our students out on-site. With them, you’ll gain invaluable experience in the trade, working alongside them on installs, services and maintenance.
For our electrical students, our career development team work hard to find employment opportunities across the UK. As a result, we have placed 150+ electrical trainees in employment since launching.
Stage Three – Final Assessments
Upon completion of your portfolio, it’s time for your final assessments.
If you’re undertaking your gas training with us, we will invite you back to the centre for your ACS Initial Assessment. This takes place over two weeks and includes refresher training, exams and assessments. You can join the Gas Safe Register when you successfully pass this assessment.
For those completing their NVQ Level 3 electrical training, your final assessment is your AM2 Assessment. You must do this at an independent centre, where you’ll be assessed on the skills and knowledge gained throughout your training.
Further Training & Upskilling
Many people, both newly qualified and existing tradespeople, choose to further their skills with upskilling training. Of course, the options available will depend on your trade, but there is plenty to choose from. And again, any kind of training, whether initial or upskilling, is you investing in your career.
For example, as a gas engineer, you may want to future-proof your career and upskill in the renewable heating industry. We’re seeing a significant increase in the number of engineers choosing to do this as the UK moves toward a low-carbon future.
You can do this through several training courses, such as:
- Energy Efficiency (Part L)
- Low-Temperature Heating Design (LTHWS)
- Ground & Air Source Heat Pumps (IMASHPS/IMHPS21)
- Unvented (G3)
- Water Regulations (WRAS)
Alternatively, if you’re part of the electrical industry, you’ll no doubt be aware of the increase in hybrid and electric cars on the road. In addition, as the government continue to push for eco-friendly alternatives, more people are choosing to opt for electric vehicles. These require electric charging points at their homes and across the travel network.
While our NVQ Level 3 electrical training now includes this qualification, if you’ve previously trained, you can easily add EV Charging Point Installation to your list of skills.
Whatever stage of training you may be at, you can always call on our team for support whenever you need it. Our trainers are happy to answer questions about the trades and your training, while our support team will take care of the admin side of things for you. So whether you need another copy of a book, to make a payment or have a question, they can help.
What Are The Payment Options?
So now that you know what you’ll invest your money in, how can you pay?
Firstly, we ask for a small deposit to secure your place once you’ve decided to train with us. As we keep class sizes to a maximum of ten, spaces get booked quickly. So paying a deposit ensures you can save a spot on the course for your chosen date.
Paying for a course in full is dependent on your financial situation. Although we encourage it, we know it’s not possible for everyone. Usually, we find those who have recently received a redundancy package, have a savings fund or have friends and family to call upon and prefer to pay the fees in full.
Otherwise, we ask that you pay your balance within two weeks of paying your deposit. Or in full if your course starts in less than 14 days.
More recently, we’ve introduced several finance options, such as Snap Finance, to help trainees spread the cost of training. To find out if you’re eligible for finance, call our advisors on 0800 802 1306!
Investing In Your Career
Whatever your reasons, investing in a new career is an important decision to make and one that we want to help you navigate.
As one of the UK’s leading training providers, we help hundreds of students earn industry-recognised qualifications each year.
“From increased lifetime earning power and unimagined opportunities, to protecting yourself from unemployment and the satisfaction that comes from personal growth and success, the returns are enormous”. Source: Monster
No matter what course you undertake with us, we guarantee high-quality training and support—helping you launch a new trades career.