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Double money: Best paid jobs on tap; Dr Karl Gensberg is a molecular biologist who is retraining as a plumber because of low wages. Dr Gensberg hopes to double his pounds 23,000 annual salary by abandoning his post at Birmingham University, after a 13-year career in research. The academic from West Midlands, decided to change career after a chat with a tradesman.

Byline: Lou Prendergast

TRADESMEN have never been more in demand and hundreds of Scots are swapping office ties for boiler suits for a career in plumbing, with help from a new internet course.

A shortage of qualified plumbers in the UK has led to a soaring demand, making it difficult to get into traditional courses.

Plumbers now have the potential to command premium rates for their work, as well as enjoying a secure and satisfying career with a flexible lifestyle, a guaranteed income and a job for life.

This has led to more and more people, including graduates and stockbrokers, putting aside their current careers to seek places on plumbing courses.

But demand is so great that colleges are now having to turn students away.

Now training provider Open Learning Centre International has come up with an alternative to over-subscribed traditio nal college plumbing courses.

The company's affordable home-study courses are enabling people to develop plumbing skills quickly and conveniently without having to give up their current jobs.

OLCI have the widest range of distance learning courses in Europe.

They offer people who are unable to take up full-time learning the opportunity to acquire valuable new skills and pursue interests.

Learning takes place at home or in the workplace, with tutors who are dedicated to helping students achieve success.

There are no waiting lists or term start dates, so students can begin as soon as they enrol and start making money from plumbing as soon as possible.

OLCI student Alastair Cuthbertson, 29, took up the course after working in insurance for 10 years.

He's currently holding down his present post in life assurance administration while studying to be a plumber in his spare time.

Alastair said: 'I'm in the process of setting up my own kitchen installation company, so it was a logical step to be able to do the plumbing myself and progress onto bathrooms.

'I was looking for plumbing courses on the internet and the OLCI course was perfect.

'I can be qualified within 10 months by studying for 10 hours a week.'

Students on OLCI's home-study courses have exclusive access to City & Guilds accredited regional training centres, which offer short, inexpensive and practical workshops.

These optional workshops can lead to City & Guilds' plumbing qualifications.

They can also provide students with the practical experience necessary to make money from plumbing.

Alastair, who is currently on module two, is due to complete his course at the end of March.

He is looking forward to the workshops he'll be taking as part of his studies.

He added: 'I'm sure I'm going to enjoy getting down to the dirty work there's a lot of job satisfaction when you get to see a project through from the beginning to the end.

'But the course also covers in depth theoretical elements.

'You learn all about water regulations and the work standards that you have to achieve, which is also very useful.'
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 27, 2004
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