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Able Skills Help Ex-Soldier To Become Gas Engineer

On completion of a 24 year career in the Armed Forces, I decided to embark on a new career within the gas industry. After weeks of research into training centres I came across Able Skills in the Quest magazine. As a service leaver I was drawn towards Able Skills as they are an Enhanced Learning Credit (ELC) registered company which meant I could use my training grant to cover the cost of the type of training I wanted to undertake.My initial contact with Able Skills was very reassuring, I spoke to the centre manager, Angela Wright who explained the procedure for enrolling onto my desired gas training course. I was very pleased to hear that Angela was also familiar with the procedure for using my ELC funding. This in itself was a great relief as during my resettlement time, I never had it explained to me. I was invited to visit the training centre to have a look at the training facilities available and to meet the gas training instructors, Ian, Simon and Roy.On the day of my visit I was met by the owner of Able Skills Mr Gary Measures and Angela. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were both so down to earth and accommodating. After a free brew I was given a tour of the centre and shown the gas centre where my training would be carried out. Having spent many years in the Armed Forces I have very high expectations when it comes to training, I can honestly say I was not disappointed in what I saw. I left Able Skills with a very warm feeling and extremely reassured.After arranging my ELC claim I rang Angela to enrol onto the 3 week Core Gas Safety course. As I live in Salisbury and the course was in Dartford my next challenge was to sort some accommodation, once again Able Skills came up trumps and were able to offer me a room in one of the well-equipped student houses, which are owned by Able Skills, at a very affordable price.I began my training on 28th March 2011. My instructor, Simon was an extremely knowledgeable gas engineer with well over a decade of 'on the tools' experience. The training was delivered at a pace that suited all students on the course. The thing I liked the most was that if you were unsure or didn't quite understand something, it was never any trouble for Simon to rewind and re-explain. During the training, both theory and practical, everything was provided. The only thing I had to take along was a notebook and pencil.On completion of my 3 weeks training, I had gained the underpinning knowledge to enable me to work on domestic gas installations and appliances under the supervision of a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer, in the work place. I had spoken to a few engineers in my local area to see if they would be willing to take me on and assist me in completing my gas portfolio, which I was required to enable me to sit my ACS exams and assessments. This proved very difficult as the engineers I had spoken to said that they didn't have the time to fully explain what I should be doing and supervise me.Once again Able Skills stepped in to assist me by offering a relatively new portfolio builder scheme with one of their sister companies 'Able On-Time Trade Services'. I signed up and the following day I was out on a boiler installation with Martin Thorpe a highly experienced engineer. The thing I found very useful was the fact that I was guided through everything I done and at the end of each day Martin would recap on everything we had done and gave some very sound advice and guidance on how to transpose all the information regarding the job into the portfolio folder, which by the way is provided for you.I spent 14 complete working days with Martin over a 5 week period conducting a variety of work, ranging from gas tightness tests to complete boiler installations. In this time I had completed my portfolio and fulfilled the criteria to enable me to sit my ACS.I booked my ACS date with Angela, leaving myself a couple of spare weeks just to read up on all of my notes so I was ready for the exams. My ACS gas course week was conducted by Ian, the procedures for the exams and assessments were explained thoroughly. Everything was done in a very calm and relaxed atmosphere. Ian was always on hand to explain anything I was unsure of. I finished the ACS week and successfully passed all of my exams and assessments, achieving, CCN1, CKR1, CENWAT1, HTR1, MET1 and CPA1, which is a testimonial in itself to the training I had received from all those who were involved during my training, from start to finish.I would have never believed that I could have gone from being a Soldier, to a Gas Safe registered engineer in the space of 4 Months. I am now reaping the benefits of my labour and earning a wage well beyond my expectations, all thanks to Able Skills and all the staff involved in my training. I would have no hesitation in recommending Able Skills to any service leaver who wishes to embark on a new career in any of the trades within the construction industry.