Becoming a multi-skilled installer will enable you to take on a wider variety of work and reduce overheads, with gas the ideal fit alongside electrical roles. Mark Krull, director at Logic4training, looks at the benefits of upskilling and how candidates with transferable skills can add ‘Gas Safe’ to their offering.
The skills shortage faced by the building service sector over recent years has led to increased opportunities for multi-skilled engineers and installers. While vacancies are rising, there are not enough suitable workers to meet current demand. One area where this is particularly prevalent is plumbing and gas installation, where an estimated third of vacancies are now related to a shortage of qualified staff.
The government’s recent efforts on behalf of apprenticeships will go some way to solving diminishing uptake of the skilled trades. However, quality training for existing workers is also needed to help fill vacancies and tradespeople with experience in electrical installation or another related trade, are often ideal candidates – you may already be helping gas installers wire-in boilers, for example. The transferable aptitudes held by many existing workers mean training requirements are reduced and a professional service delivery can be achieved in a shorter timeframe.
Upskilling also carries benefits for sole traders and small business owners. Becoming multi-skilled will enable you to widen your horizons, going for projects you wouldn’t have considered before and maybe even taking your business to pastures new. Additionally, you will be able to carry out and certify work yourself rather than using an outside contractor, saving on time and costs.
Skills obtained over years of building services engineering makes existing workers valuable candidates for gas installation training. Practical skills, such as lifting floorboards, passing pipework or wiring under floors and through walls are all key skills for gas installers and engineers. Aside from the practical elements, the ability to follow technical instructions and diagrams and confidently communicate with members of the public and other contractors are an excellent basis for a career in gas.
An industry recognised level 3 gas qualification alongside Accredited Certification Scheme (ACS) training and assessment will enable you to apply for Gas Safe Registration, a legal requirement before undertaking any gas work.
To achieve ACS accreditation, every gas installer must hold CNN1, the core certificate of competence covering gas safety for domestic installations. For new entrants, this can only be taken at the end of a Diploma, or managed learning programme that combines work experience and in-class training. You will need a qualification for each different type of appliance you’ll be working on. Once you’ve achieved ACS, it must be renewed every five years, but the reassessment process is shorter for working engineers and can be taken up to six months in advance.
Experienced trades route
For operatives with transferable skills who are familiar with working in related areas and have two years’ experience, there is the option of a New Entrants training course. Guiding candidates through the creation of an on site portfolio of work under the supervision of a registered engineer, this in-depth training programme is specifically designed to give experienced tradespeople the knowledge, training, and assessment needed to join Gas Safe Register and work safely on domestic gas appliances.
If you think domestic gas could add value to your business, why not look at the options available. Upskilling or career changing could be more straightforward than you thought, potentially giving you the edge over competitors, allowing you to reduce time on the job and offer more competitive pricing. You never know, it could lead your career in an entirely new and prosperous direction.
Logic4training has launched the ‘Ultimate Guide to Careers in Gas’, a practical and clear guide to kick starting and developing a career as a gas engineer. Available to download here.