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Training Courses: Expectation Vs. Reality

Two trainee electricians working on our workshop bays

Sometimes, expectations can cause us to avoid a situation entirely.

Whether you think you won’t fit in, it’ll be too difficult to complete, or you don’t have enough previous experience, many reasons may deter you from training.

But we’re here to separate the fact from the fiction, the expectation from the reality.

Expectation: Previous Experience Is A Must
Reality: There’s No Experience Required

Having previous experience or knowledge can make things a little easier, but it’s not always necessary. To get into college, you will need GCSEs or BTECs. You generally need A-Levels or an Access to Higher Education Diploma for university. However, things are different when it comes to training courses.

At Options Skills, we have designed our training courses for new entrants to the industry. Students learn essential skills and knowledge in the first eight weeks of training, so there’s no need to have prior experience.

However, should you have worked in the industry before, we can consider this. In addition, if you’re part qualified or time-served, we can tailor our courses to suit you. For example, electricians who are time-served and looking to gain their NVQ Level 3 can enrol on our Accelerated Electrical Training Course.

Expectation: Training Courses Are Expensive
Reality: They’re An Investment In Your Future

Training Courses - Gas students in the classroom

How much a training course costs depends on its content, duration and what qualification it leads to. There is a common misconception that courses can be expensive but not worth a lot. While this may be true for some out there, the opposite is true for most training courses delivered by reputable providers.

A good quality training course will not only be worth the cost, providing you with an important qualification or certification at the end of it but with that qualification comes an increase in earning potential.

For £6750*, a new entrant can enrol on our ACS Domestic Gas Training Course. Then, after eight weeks of centre-led training, on-site work experience with a mentor for a minimum of 100 days and ACS assessment, they can apply to the gas safe register. And with the average annual salary of an engineer being £32000, those cost fees will have paid for themselves in no time.

In comparison, three years of university can cost £27,000 – and that’s not including necessary living costs should you move away from home.

Undecided between the two? Have a read of our post designed to help you decide between University and Vocational Training.

Expectation: It’s Going To Be Difficult
Reality: Work Hard, And You’ll Pass

Will you be able to get your head around all the material? Will you struggle with the practical side of things? If you work hard and put your all into the training course, there’s no reason why you won’t pass.

We’re not saying training courses are easy, but they’re also not necessarily difficult if you put in the effort.

Plus, before beginning a course with Options Skills, we ask you to take an aptitude test. This test ensures you’re a suitable entrant for the course. So, if we believe in you and you’ve passed a test that proves you’re capable, all that’s left is to believe in yourself.

Throughout the centre-led stage of your course and beyond, both our trainers and student liaison managers are available for support and advice. Whether that’s going over something you’ve learnt in the workshop or if you need advice while building your portfolio, our staff are always willing to help.

Expectation: It’s Just Theoretical Work
Reality: It’s A Mixture Of Practical & Theoretical Work

Think back to your school days. You imagined science lessons filled with exciting experiments, setting up bunsen burners and mixing chemicals. In reality, more often than you, you just ended up copying from textbooks. Thankfully, your school days are over, and training courses aren’t like this.

We ensure ours are a combination of both practical skills and theoretical knowledge. In doing so, we can guarantee that our trainees learn everything they need to know and have plenty of time to practise the skills they need to have before going out to work on-site.

Expectation: I’ll Be The Odd One Out
Reality: There are People From All Backgrounds And Of All Ages

College and university typically aim their courses at those leaving school, with most of their intake being students between 18-25. But, as more people explore their options, the number of people going back into education and starting new careers increases. So, slowly but surely, more mature students fill the seats in college classrooms and university lecture halls.

We aim our training courses at a wide range of people. Whether you’re 18 or 58, we believe it’s never too late to learn a new skill, whether you’re starting a brand new career or adding another string to your bow. Whatever the reason, training courses are for you.

Students join us from all over the UK, and one thing they all have in common is their desire to be a part of the trades industry.

Expectation: They Take Too Long To Complete
Reality: The Duration Of Training Varies

College and university most likely spring to mind when you think of further education. College courses generally take about two years to complete, while a stint at university is a minimum of three years. So, it’s no surprise that people assume training courses will be the same, but that’s where they’re wrong.

Training courses can vary significantly in duration depending on the course you are undertaking. Some will take weeks; others will last for a few years.

Generally, we estimate it will take a year on a full-time basis to complete our ACS Domestic Gas Course and an extra year for our NVQ Level 3 Electrical Training. However, the duration of both of these depends on the student.

During step two, trainees must build a portfolio of work. If you’re training around an existing job, it’ll come as no surprise that it will take longer to complete your portfolio. However, if you’re training on a full-time basis, you’ll gather evidence of a range of jobs much quicker.

Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to do it, just the way that suits you best.

If you want to find out what our courses are like from past students themselves, we’ve got you covered. Not only do we have hundreds of reviews across Google, Feefo and Facebook, but we also have testimonials on our YouTube channel.

All data correct at time of publication.