Recent Student Case Studies
Barry The Electrician
"I didn't want to be a wage slave any longer and everybody dreams of having their own business - but I've made it a reality with the help of NCS..."
Matt The Electrician
"After 15 years behind a desk I needed a new lease of life. After the training I set up my own business and recently taken on an apprentice..."
Steve Hinds (31)
Steve Hinds, 31, had worked in IT for an insurance and financial company for seven years before being made redundant last Christmas. Although he enjoyed the excitement of working with new technology, sitting in front of a computer screen for eight to nine hours a day began to take its toll.
He said: “It was something I got bored of but I probably would have kept on going if I hadn’t been made redundant. My colleagues found out that we’d be losing our jobs last summer so I started thinking about using it as an opportunity to start a new career. I wanted to do something completely different. I wanted the variety of meeting different people, working inside and outside, rather than sitting in front of a screen in an office every day. After doing it for seven years my eyes were a bit tired!”
Steve, who has a degree in American Studies, developed an interest in electrics after watching a friend do some work on his house and decided to look into learning the trade himself. He said: “I think what I liked about the idea of being an electrician was being able to help people and doing something practical. Also, I knew that it would be a sensible career to get into because I could progress if I wanted to and become an electrical engineer. There was so much focus on going to university and getting a white collar job when I was younger but now I think it really is good to be qualified a trade.”
The former Derby University student did some research on the internet and came across New Career Skills, a company which specialises in retraining mature career changers for jobs as electricians and plumbers. The company, which is one of the fastest-growing businesses in the country, allows people to learn from home as well as providing practical training at its centres in Doncaster and Southampton. Students have up to 18 months to complete their qualification and are given help either finding a job or setting up their own business at the end of their studies.
Steve, a keen photographer, decided to invest in his future and use his redundancy money to pay for his New Career Skills course. He took up a casual job as a delivery driver in the mornings to help pay his mortgage and used the afternoons to study for his City & Guilds qualification.
He qualified just six months later and has now set up his own specialised PAT testing company based in Chester Green, Derby. The business has been set up to provide the best possible service to the people and businesses of Derby, Derbyshire and surrounding counties. He said: "I'd advise anyone who has been made redundant not to panic, it's really not the end of the world and you can actually use it as an opportunity to do something you've always wanted. If you do find out redundancy is on the cards, start thinking about possible careers and make sure you pick something because it's what you really want to do, not just because you think you could make a lot of money from it. Starting over again can seem daunting but you're never too old to learn something new!"« View More - Click Here « Close - Click Here
Katherine Barlow (31)
Training to become an electrician wasn't the first step for Katherine, now 27, on graduating from university.
In fact she entered a graduate training programme in retail and until last year worked full time, managing a store in London. It was a good job but it wasn't what she wanted out of life.
"I started to think about my career and I knew it was time for a change," she says.
"In the long run, I'd love to go into property development and I started looking into the skills I'd need. I enjoyed that so much that I thought I'd like to set up a company or work for a business in the electrical industry."
When Katherine began to research where she could retrain, one provider stood out.
"I did a lot of research on the internet and New Career Skills were one of - if not the only - ones I found that didn't have any negative reviews. It wasn't the most local place at the time - although they've since opened a centre in Watford - but my research suggested that it was worth the effort and that's certainly what I found."
New Career Skills specialises in retraining mature career changers for careers as plumbers, electricians and in renewables and microgeneration.
Katherine began her electrical installers course in July 2010, completing it ahead of schedule, in January.
Her current employers were supportive of Katherine retraining, "I went down to three days a week and would do my studying for two days and have weekends off. I took holidays to attend the courses.
"I really got on well with that. I've been fortunate to go through education and have a university degree so I've got the ability to pick up what I read quite quickly. And the courses themselves were really good fun."
Katherine was the only woman on the course but says that for the other students the novelty factor wore off very quickly and it wasn't an issue.
She says that the course has given her exactly what she wanted and the aftercare offered by New Career Skills has been a huge bonus.
"I've really been impressed with the aftercare. When they told me about it I thought: ‘it's free, it's not going to be that good,' but actually it's been brilliant.
"They found me work experience with their ACCESS programme which was fantastic and they found me an ex NCS student to help me finish a job I've been doing. I've been really impressed with the amount and variety of support they've had to offer.
"They've even found something that might turn into a full time job for me, so I'm looking into that at the moment."
Whether she is working for someone else or following her original plan of running her own businesses, Katherine knows that she has made the right choice for her career.
"I'm not very good at sitting down," she laughs.
"I've never had a desk job. I don't have any issues with being up ladders and things like that. When I decided to do this, I don't think anyone was surprised."
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William Kay (23)
William Kay is a professional rugby player from North Yorkshire. In 2007 at the age of 23 he faced the grim possibility of his rugby career coming to a premature end when he fractured his eye socket during a match.
“I thought I wouldn’t ever play again”
Having dedicated the last five years of his life to rugby this was a huge setback for Will. At the age of 18 he made the bold decision to give up a law degree to take up a contract as a professional rugby player. He knew the chance to become a professional sportsman was a once in a life time opportunity, but when injury struck he had no career to fall back on.
Not being the type of person to wallow in his misfortunes Will quickly made the decision to retrain as an electrician.
An internet search led Will to find New Career Skills, who subsequently provided him with a host of information about their training programmes. Will was left with no unanswered questions following a visit from an NCS advisor. He felt confident that he would receive the best possible training available. In Will’s own words:
“NCS just seemed a thousand times better than the other training companies; they were all a bit naff”
To begin with the new routine of study was a challenge. Will admits Mathematics is not his forte and that studying hadn’t featured in his life for quite some time. As a result he had to work hard initially, but it wasn’t long before he developed confidence in his abilities.
“I was quite surprised how much maths and physics was involved with the electrical training, it’s not anything people should worry about though it just takes a few weeks to get into the swing of it”.
In Will’s own words the standard of support he received during his training programme was “brilliant”. He was encouraged every step of the way. New Career Skills operates with a small but dedicated team of tutors; this meant that Will was able to develop close relationships, enabling him to feel comfortable and confident when asking the tutors for help.
“I was ringing up to the point of annoyance sometimes because I had so many questions but everyone always seemed pleased to help, and you’re not ringing up and speaking to someone you’ve never spoken to before your speaking to someone who knows you”.
This level of support continued even after Will had completed the training programme, a resource which became invaluable to him.
“I think the time where support from the tutors is most valuable is in between completing the course and passing Part P assessment because at that time you are sort of in no mans land”.
Although the New Career Skills training centre is a long distance from where Will lives in Leeds this was not a factor that fazed him. Travelling was not a hardship to him because the end destination was always worthwhile; Will always thoroughly enjoyed the practical training.
“ NCS makes it enjoyable and friendly, you think of these places as a bit like school but its not because everyone who’s there are keen to do it so everyone is up beat and enthusiastic and it’s a great atmosphere when your there”.
Fortunately half way through his training programme with New Career Skills, having fully recovered from his injury Will was able to return to playing rugby. Despite this he was determined to finish what he had started and so he continued with his electrical training, only this time with a slightly different motive.
The electrical training had become important to Will as a way of keeping his mind active. Rugby training although demanding in some ways is not a great demand on time.
“Being a sportsman without doing anything else you kind of start going mad, you’ve got so much free time, sometimes you go a bit brain numb”
“ You feel fulfilled in the fact that every weekend you know you’re going to be playing rugby and its competitive but your every day life you think I want to start doing something more”. Will currently plays rugby for Halifax Rugby Club. He has also recently finished his Part P electrical qualification and intends to set up his own electrical business to keep him active when he’s not on the rugby pitch. He is very confident about his plans and has no doubt that training with New Career Skills has been a beneficial experience both for his personal well being and for his future earning potential.« View More - Click Here « Close - Click Here
Natasha Chambers (37)
Natasha from Longstanton, Cambridge, has not only taken up the challenge, she's an inspiration to any girls who might be thinking of taking the plunge and tackling these traditionally male-dominated industries.
Natasha, 37, who is currently running her own make-up artist agency, decided to retrain as an electrician as this would provide more flexible working hours, meaning more time with her children.
After a lot of research, she selected a course at specialist training provider, New Career Skills in Eastleigh, Hampshire. Determined to succeed, she put her life experience to good use and was able to tackle both the practical and theoretical parts of the course efficiently and thoroughly and passed with flying colours.
Natasha comments "Choosing to train as an electrician was an easy choice for me as it had always been an interest of mine, but I had never thought about taking it up as a profession. Having spoken with quite a few people in the building industry, I realised that becoming an electrician would be a step in the right direction as there is a crying need for more skilled women in the plumbing and electrical trades – and not always for reasons that are immediately apparent. Having already done a bit of research, I discovered that many elderly ladies, particularly those on their own and ladies with young children, would prefer a female tradesperson in their home and some ladies, for religious reasons, are not allowed to have a male tradesman in their home whilst the man of the house is not there. This could lead to quite a dangerous situation If there was a domestic emergency, such as flooding or power failure.
Adding his voice to the debate, the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills John Denham said: "At present, nearly half of all apprentices are women . . . But we need to go further. We need more women to take up apprenticeships, to tackle current skills shortages."
Former Managing Director of New Career Skills Trevor Dormedy said: "I agree wholeheartedly with Natasha. In these days of equal opportunities, diversity and choice, there is every reason for a woman to have a fulfilling and interesting career as a plumber or an electrician. The majority of the people we see here at New Career Skills come to us for a career where they are in control. When you spend so much time at work – you might as well enjoy what you do!"« View More - Click Here « Close - Click Here
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