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PAT Testing Training Courses - Frequently Asked Questions

Do I really need to attend a PAT testing Course?
The Health and Safety at Work Act, together with the Electricity at Work regulations are quite clear in that you need to be competent to carry out any kind of work with electricity. Now there are clearly defined qualifications that you need to hold if you want to work as an electrician (wiring on buildings etc) but there is no 'official' qualification needed to carry out PAT Testing. Most insurance companies and official bodies would expect to see some evidence of professional training and experience - this is what our course provides. Some people carry out PAT testing after reading books or watching a video, but there is no substitute for hands-on training on a professionally run, practical based course.

What prior experience do I need?
No prior experience is needed - we start right at the beginning. PAT Testing is mainly about common sense - you don't need to be an expert in electrical theory. If you have some prior experience, so much the better but we'll teach you all the technical stuff you need to know on the day. We often find that people who have very little prior knowledge are more receptive and pick up things quicker - as long as you attend with an open mind and a willingness to learn you'll be fine. If you normally change a plug with a butter knife or have ever used a 6mm bolt instead of a fuse, we might need to try to change your habits!

Do I get a certificate at the end, and what does it cover?
Our course is certificated - which basically means that, after the course, you will be competent to carry out PAT testing. Legally, it is not up to the training company to deem you 'competent,' that has to be the employer. However, it is reasonable for your employer (or you, if you are self employed) to deem you the competent person after you have attended and completed our course.

How long does the certificate last?
You need to be competent to carry out PAT Testing, and after completing our course you will be (see above.) There is no law which says that you have to retrain after 3 years etc. We would normally suggest that as long as you carry out PAT Testing on a regular basis then the certificate does not 'run out' but you may want to think about doing the course again after 3 - 5 years just as a refresher or update.

Will I be able to PAT Test my own equipment after the course?
Yes! Many people attend our course because they want to save money by testing their own equipment. We often train caretakers and maintenance staff in care homes, offices, factories and hotels. By bringing the PAT testing In-House, they save money for their organisation - we also train staff in all sorts of businesses and organisations who all go on to test their own equipment after completing the course.

Can I Test Other Peoples' Equipment after the course?
Yes! You may be thinking about starting your own PAT testing business, or working part time in the field. Our trainer started a PAT testing business from scratch in 2003 (he's worked in the field for much longer) and has written many articles about running a PAT Testing Business in the current economic climate. He still recommends it as a career move! Although the course is designed to teach you about PAT testing (rather than the specifics of running a business) we provide lots of useful information about this during the day.

Will my employer / local authority / insurance company / environmental health officer accept the certificate as proof that I'm competent?
They certainly should! We've trained people from all manner of organisations in the past, including staff from local and national government, large companies such as the BBC, Shell, educational establishments such as Leeds, Exeter and Bath Universities, Royal College of Music, Insitute of Mechanical Engineers and many schools and FE colleges etc. We've trained hundreds of people in industry (including a one-day course at Drax Power Station as well as people in companies such as Rentokil, Ikea, Argos, Jet2, Virgin, American Airlines etc). We've trained staff from plenty of government organisations such as MoD, HMRC, Police services, various Fire Services and Trading Standards. All of these organisations have examined our training course and selected it as the most suitable for their staff to undertake - their staff are now carrying out the PAT testing in those organisations.

Is there an Examination on the course, and am I likely to fail it?
No - there doesn't need to be! We look at our competitors' courses (and we've been on most of them) and we find it laughable that they make a great play about it being a practical based course and then give you a multiple choice test at the end! PAT testing is, by and large, a practical based skill and we reflect that all the way through our course. Of course, there is important information that you need to know - we cover all of this during the day. But we also give you a long practical session (most of the afternoon) to get your hands on the equipment and test a large number of items for real.

Instead of a formal examination, we choose to run our courses with small groups, and make sure that everybody has understood the important points before moving on. In case somebody is a little stuck on something, the trainer will go over it again (on a one-to-one basis if necessary). The practical session is closely supervised, and we make sure that everybody achieves the necessary standard during the day. In the unlikely event that you don't get to grips with it by the end, then we will withold the certificate and you will be invited to attend the course again at a later date, free of charge. This is, however, extremely rare!

What makes PAT Testing Expert courses different to all the others advertised?
There are lots of reasons why we think our courses are better than the others, but the main thing has to be our trainer - Tim James! As you are probably already aware, Tim has been working in the field for over 28 years, and is regarded by many as the UK's leading expert in the field of PAT Testing. If he doesn't know the answer to a question about PAT Testing - it's probably not worth knowing. We've noticed that a few PAT testing companies have decided to 'jump on the bandwagon' recently and offer courses of their own. A chap who's been working as a PAT tester for a couple of years and has turned his hand to training other people is not likely to be the most inspiring of teachers! Tim James has been teaching people to carry out PAT Testing since 1993, and working in the field for much longer. His courses are all delivered in a lively, friendly and down-to-earth (no pun intended) manner - people often tell us that our courses are the best they have ever attended!

We also strive to make the day as enjoyable and comfortable as possible - unlike our competitors, all of our courses are held in top hotels across the UK (usually Hilton or Marriott or similar) and we go out of our way to provide a top quality service. Lunch is always included (usually this is a 2 or 3 course lunch in the hotel restaurant) and coffee and tea are free-flowing throughout the day. We always use training rooms which are large enough to set up all of the practical experiments, airconditioned for comfort and quiet enough for us to concentrate. We could shave a few quid off the course fee and hold it in the back room of a dodgy pub, but why shouldn't we go somewhere decent for a change?

Our course also includes free training materials, including a comprehensive manual, sample log-books and record keeping sheets.

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How Many other people will be on the course?
We always run our courses with small groups, and often turn people away if the course is 'full.' Our maximum group size depends on a number of factors including the room size and layout, but we usually have a maximum of 10 - 12 people on the course - frequently fewer. We never have a group so big that there isn't time to answer everybody's questions, or space to cope with the practical sessions.

What PAT Testers will I be using?
We always have a selection of industry standard PAT testers available on the day for you to use - we select the machines we use on the course very carefully so that you can learn on machines which are simple to use, but which are industry standard - in other words if you can use our machines, you can use any one! We have an old 'Irwin' tester which has an analogue display which is perfect for learning on, and we also have a number of more modern machines including Kewtech, Seaward, Fluke, Megger and First Stop Safety. If you've seen other people advertising that their course has 'one machine between 3 people' etc bear in mind that they will only use one TYPE of machine on their course - so although you might get your hands on it, that will be the only machine you are competent on at the end. (and then they'll probably try to sell you one!)

How much does it cost?
At the present time our course is a fixed price of £245.00 per person. However, you can save £50 by sending a cheque with your order or by booking on-line. We can also offer discounts for multiple bookings (2 or more people on a course) - please contact by phone for more details 01482 827744.

Is this a City and Guilds 2377 course?
No - the City and Guilds course is NOT the one to go for if you want to do PAT Testing! We get asked this so often that we've produced a short article about it - ask us for more information. In very simple terms, the C&G 2377 qualification was introduced in the late 1990's as one of a series of qualifications aimed at apprentice electricians. It was never intended to be a practical based course, and was never intended to be taken by people who just wanted to carry out PAT Testing. In fact, City and Guilds recommend that you are already a qualified electrician before taking the course. Most people who go into PAT testing are not electricians (and you don't need to be one) and so the C&G course is completely unsuitable. The 2377 course studies the IEE Code of Practice in intricate detail, with usually only a short time devoted to demonstrations and practical - testing one or two items at most. We have spoken to many people who have taken this course hoping to become competent in PAT Testing, only to find that the course was completely unsuitable. In fact, the IET offer the course, but state on their website that their course 'provides an overview only of the Code of Practice' and 'nor will attendance on this one-day course provide adequate training to enable attendees to be considered competent' to carry out PAT Testing.

The simple fact is that the C&G 2377 is a theory based qualification which is aimed at electricians who want to add electrical appliance testing in addition to their work with electrical installations. There is no legal requirement to hold the qualification to carry out PAT Testing, and you don't need it!

If you are dead set on getting the qualification (or your employer insists on it) then our advice would be to get the practical training that you need on our course, then sit the C&G examination (not the course, just the exam) at your local college or training centre. Most government funded training centres (eg Learn Direct etc) can enrol you onto the exam, and you can sit it at a time to suit you. We can of course provide you with more information.

If you want to carry out Portable Appliance Testing in your own workplace, or offer a PAT Testing Service you need a practical based PAT Testing course which will teach you what you need to know - this is exactly what you get on our course.

Can I bring my PAT Tester with me?
If you already have a PAT Tester - you are very welcome to bring it with you on the day. Even if you have an old rusty machine that hasn't seen the light of day for many years, it's still probably useful. We can check it out, and show you what it can do, and how best to use it. If you don't have a machine, or don't fancy lugging it all the way to the course, don't worry - we'll have lots of different machines for you to try on the day.

Will you help me choose a PAT Tester if I haven't got one?
Of course - and we'll give you unbiased advice on the best one for you. If you have 200 items to test in a primary school or residential home, then, chances are, that a simple machine like the BattPAT (under £200 + VAT) will be perfect for what you need - but we are amazed by the number of people who go on other courses and walk away with complicated computerised testers which cost more that £1000! We're great believers in 'keeping it simple' and this applies throughout our course, and our business! We would normally recommend you wait until after the course before you buy - if you can!

Will you show me how to keep records?
Absolutely - we will even provide you with sample log-books and sample spreadsheets to help. You can, of course, buy expensive software to do this, but our materials are available free to you.

What about 110V power tools and 3 phase equipment?
To be honest there aren't that many differences between testing a 230V drill and a 110V drill - but rest assurred we'll tell you what you need to know on the day. We'll also cover testing 3 phase appliances, and show you how to make up the necessary adaptors (or advise you where to buy them!)

What about Computers, Laptops and Office Equipment?
Testing all of the above, and much more, will be covered during the day.

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