anyone thinking of paying thousands of pounds for a fast track course should read this article first [DLMURL="http://www.ciphe.org.uk/News/Are-fast-track-plumbing-courses-just-money-down-the-drain/"]Are fast-track plumbing courses just money down the drain? - CIPHE[/DLMURL] short part of article: Some companies offering fast-track courses claim there is a nationwide shortage of plumbers. "The country is in dire need of qualified plumbers," says Train4TradeSkills on its website, quoting a former trainee who "never takes home less than £1,200 per week". New Career Skills, another private training company, says in its latest brochure: "The massive plumbing shortage provides an opportunity for those who want a lucrative, secure and fulfilling career." The reality can be very different. Ivor Bates, who runs a London plumbing firm, Bates Heating and Plumbing, says he is contacted three or four times each week by people who have completed a fast-track course and are desperate for work experience to achieve the industry-standard NVQ level 2. "Around 10% of these guys offer to work for nothing and say they have rung endless plumbing companies and will do anything to get a foot in the door," he says. "One bloke saw my van outside Asda and ran into the supermarket after me and offered to pay me to take him on. But I would never take someone from one of these short courses because they have not got experience of working on-site and I would not be confident sending them into customers' homes."