Essex Trade Training: ‘Tradespeople training tradespeople’

07 Sep 2018

LCL is able to support enterprises of all sizes set up and run their qualifications. From large colleges to one-man-bands, the LCL team is there to assist in the set-up and guide centres through the approval stage. Essex Trade Training is one of the most recent additions to the LCL family.

Set up from scratch by Michael Kline, Essex Trade Training is a small-scale centre, offering ACS training to gas installers in the Colchester area. With years of practical experience behind him and ambition too, Michael ensures that what the new enterprise lacks in size, it more than makes up for in energy and passion.

Training for the trades

At Essex Trade Training, Michael Kline is offering ACS training for experienced gas engineers who already hold a relevant qualification. They may be renewing an existing ACS certificate or a certificate that has expired in the past 12 months, or seeking certification in a new area of work.

He is also able to provide ACS training to other tradespeople able to demonstrate evidence of a recognised qualification in a trade associated with gas work, for example, plumbing, so long as they have ‘on-the-job’ experience under direct supervision of a Gas Safe Registered and competent operative.

LCL’s EV and Technical Specialist, Andrew Jones, helped guide Michael through the setting up and certification process:

AJ: You’ve done a great job here. What made you decide to move from trainer to centre owner?

MK: I’ve been a gas and electrical engineer and property developer for most of my career. Over the last seven years, working as a part-time trainer for LCL and an auditor, I started thinking how great it would be to set up somewhere where tradespeople could train tradespeople. I wanted to offer an alternative to the traditional college learning. Something small and friendly where we could help people reach their goals.

AJ: What made you choose LCL as your certification body?

MK: It was the obvious choice. The quality of their qualifications, reference material and the support they give you in setting up are second to none.  

AJ: Once you’d decided to take the plunge, how did you find your premises?

MK: Well, it was a bit of planning and a bit of chance. I was looking for a small unit, but somewhere where there would be potential to grow. I heard about the unit on the Whitehall Trading Estate and that was it. The fact that it was a blank canvas made it a great match for me and it’s a busy estate – lots of coming and going. I liked the idea of the centre being a bit of a community hub, with people dropping in for a coffee and a chat.

AJ: How did you set it all up?

MK: The fact that it was empty was a real draw. I was able to plan it out just as I wanted it. A mate helped with the fit-out. We installed an extraction unit, set up the training area and put in a small canteen.

AJ: How long did the set up and approval process take?

MK: I needed to fit the development of the centre around my other work – so it took about eight months in total. LCL was great; really flexible, on hand whenever I needed guidance but they didn’t put pressure on me, so I felt in control.

AJ: Your first candidate’s just qualified. How did it go?

MK: It was great! He was really impressed with it all. It was nice to have everything laid out in the training area as I wanted. The manuals and training aids LCL gave me set everything out clearly which made delivery of the course material straight-forward

AJ: What feedback did he give you?  Did he suggest any changes?

MK: No, he was really happy with everything, He said he’d recommend us to the local wholesalers and left saying we’d soon need a bigger car park to accommodate all our trainees!

AJ: That’s great news. How are you planning to market yourself?

MK: I think wholesalers would be a good start. I’m putting together a leaflet to distribute to our local branches and I’m thinking about advertising in some of the trade publications. We have a website too.

AJ: Have you thought about social media?

MK: Yes, I have. I thought I’d start with Facebook as that seems to be the most relevant. Perhaps initially through Gas Chat – that should get our name about a bit!

AJ: And what about the future?

MK: At the moment I employ two part-time trainers to help me run the courses and my daughter-in-law helps with the office work. I’m going to take it steady as there’s no point in trying to expand too quickly, but I do want to grow. I really want to focus on the trainees. I think there’s a real demand for vocational training at the moment and I want to respond to local need.

Right now I’m concentrating on qualified gas engineers and ACS, but I could see us moving into training new blood with MLP, later down the line. The next step will be Electrics. I’d like to offer the new 18th Edition qualification. Again, the focus would be on tradespeople training tradespeople, after all, there’s nothing like learning from someone who works directly in the field, is there?

For more information on becoming an LCL accredited training centre, please get in touch through our website:

We offer all the support and guidance you need in delivering our qualifications. Furthermore, we’re can help your centre help with promotion. If you’re an LCL centre and have an interesting story to tell, please let us know and we’ll write up a case study that can then be developed into a press release for the trade press and your local media. We’d love to hear from you!