Blog

Up and Running

Following our successful audit by IRATA we are now able to take bookings for IRATA courses at all levels.

The first week with spaces available is the 20th – 24th September. Drop us an email if you’d like to reserve a place. The Assessor for this week wil be Chris Degazon.

Courses in the weeks following will be run according to demand, so again drop us an email and we’ll book you a place.

Almost there

We’ve finally got an audit scheduled with IRATA, so all going to plan training should start in a few weeks. As soon as we get the official thumbs up we’ll post some dates and prices. In the meantime you can register your interest by sending us an email, and you’ll be assured first refusal on a place on a course.

Over the weekend Adam attended an IRATA workshop on the updating of the General Requirements – the IRATA course syllabus. This is only the beginning of the consultation process, and any changes will require a wide consensus, but some small but significant changes have been mooted. On Level 3 assessments for example, there is currently much variation in the level of risk assessment skills expected. Further defining the L3’s role should tighten this up, allowing the course to concentrate on more rope access specific work. Increasingly, supervisors carrying such responsibility are required to have the correct training anyway – as of this year, most large sites require supervisors to have attended the Supervisors’ Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) course (similar to the CSCS card most of us carry) – which covers risk assessment more thoroughly than a rope access course can.

Proposed tweaks to the other courses are minor, but run along similar lines -trying to tighten up the syllabus so that the minimum standard is the same worldwide.

Progress

Things are moving on steadily, and we’ve been hard at work sorting, rigging and cleaning. The venue is now looking great – lots of height, space and variety of structure – all of which should help make for some exciting and informative courses.

So currently we are just waiting for our membership application with IRATA to be completed. So far we have been accepted for membership but need to be audited before running any courses. The process is taking a little longer than we’d like, but we’re planning for our first course to run in August. On the plus side, it should mean we’ll have the building absolutely spot on right from the word go. We’ll update with more details as soon as we have a better idea of precise dates.

A few pictures of progress so far: Matt cleaning, the victorian steelwork, and the classroom.

Beginnings

Welcome to Access Techniques Ltd – quality Rope Access Training based in the centre of Sheffield.

Initially we’ll be using this blog to keep folk informed as we get the training centre up and running. In the longer term the plan is to post regular tips, advice and the odd special offer.

But first, a bit of background… Access Techniques may be a new firm but we are by no means new to the business.

Sheffield, along with Aberdeen, remains one of two centres for the Rope Access trade in the UK. Several of the big contracting firms (CAN, HRS etc) are based in or near the city, and there have been IRATA training courses running in the city pretty much every week for almost fifteen years. For the last few years Aide and I have been the trainers at the longest running training centre – ATS, part of The Access Group. When they ceased trading back in February, we were out of a job and a good number of abseilers were left looking for another training centre. Pretty much immediately we got together and discussed starting up on our own.

The first hurdle was to find a building. A good venue is crucial to good training – having trained in many venues over the years I know that, no matter how good the trainers are, how much you get done will depend on the venue. From our shopping list and initial search it looked like it could be a long job – we needed height more than floorspace, and ideally a roof of the right era that would give us some useful steelwork. Sheffield has a lot of old, empty industrial units, but most were too big, not high enough or lacked a decent roof. Eventually we found somewhere as close to perfect as we could have hoped for; getting on for 12m high indoors, with a bigger outside tower,  great steelwork at varying heights, all in a handy location and at the right price. With such a good venue so good it was hard not to get excited about the project and so here we are!

Things are in early stages, but so far we’ve got the most important bits; the venue and the equipment. There’s some work to be done yet but mainly its a case of jumping through a few legal hoops and battling some red tape, the most significant being audited by IRATA. As soon as that gets underway we can start setting dates and taking bookings, so keep an eye on here and the Courses page – we’re aiming for the first course to run as soon as possible, likely July.

In the meantime we’ll be working on getting the unit spick-and-span and fully rigged for everyone from first-time Level Ones to the most hoary Level Threes. We’re pretty confident this has the potential to be the best training space in the country, and want to get it right from the word go. So stay tuned – photos coming soon!

Adam