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Accreditation/Certification in UK

Last response: in Work & Education
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January 28, 2011 8:07:20 AM

Hi guys n girls,
I've escaped my usual hangout of the homebuild section to seek advice, input and hopefully some positive experience from the professionals amongst the Toms crew,
and rather than a question with answer, I've opened this as a discussion as I feel it has a lot to offer not just myself, but maybe to others who are in my position as well.

Bit of background first,
I built my first PC in January 2010, refurbed a couple of throwouts from mates and another full build in june, when I started thinking about maybe making some money from it, not lifechanging amounts, just some funtickets from doing something I enjoy
I also went a bit mad on cable management and modding,
since then theres been changes at work (more on the way) and I'm now seriously considering investing in myself to progress to selfemployed pc repairman/builder and possibly portable appliance testing as an extra (UK law requires businesses to have all equipment assessed on a regular basis for health and safety reasons)
no intentions of jacking the job in just yet, but I now need to be focussed and committed to any potential moneymaking ideas, I intend to be focussing mainly on hardware issues and cleaning to begin with as I'm not massively good with networks or software although I know I'm going to be learning more as I go :) 

So, what I would like/need from you out there is a little advice on a couple of things for now,


Insurance.

General liability seems to be the required cover, but given that I intend to quote for, design and build systems for clients, would I also require product liability? or is the workaround that the customer buys the parts on my advice, then I assemble and charge a fee for doing so a good idea?
I have no issues with having the correct cover, I just need to know from people in the know what they use/prefer.
looking through insurers requirements, they want me to be able to prove I can provide my service safely and competently which leads us nicely to...

Certification

Theres no end of online courses to choose from, I'm ignoring 'free' offerings for now as I believe if you want a return in life, it will cost you in investment, again, no issues there, but I've found several City and Guilds and Btec courses, as well as the A+ scary-looking thing :) 
Online/Home study is my only option as I can't attend college, it just wouldn't fit into the daily rota :) 
There are basic E.S.D. courses but I'm pretty sure I'm going to need more than that under my belt if I'm to get insurance

and because I was looking at courses I found one for P.A.T. which I thought will: One, be useful as a certificate and Two, is a potential extra source of income so I'm altering my ideas to fit that in, and I'm coming to the idea that maybe I can do this, and make a reasonable income from it, so what would you say is a bare minimum, and a recommended level of certification?

But basically my businessplan so far is to offer:

Routine cleaning of clients computers in situ. (Have you seen some of the pc's on youtube/ventblockers etc? the market IS there I feel)
This was my starter idea, I can clean 2-5 units a day and balance it with home/sleep/job and make a little repairfund for my Vf750 :) 

Hardware advice/faultfinding/upgrades
I expect P.s.u.'s, Ram and hard drives to be the main bread on this one (Sidenote, P.A. testing gear will allow me to test P.s.u's at load)

Basic system on stuff
like virus checks, defrags etc just to dust out the O/s as well as the case,


P.A.T. Testing
if I do get that (which I think I most likely will)

Now, the original idea was to remain in my nightshift job, and work this as a second job, mainly for fun more than actual profit (P.A.T. wasn't on the table then)
my budget for a company is whatever I can skim off my wages each month so I won't be rushing out to buy all courses and equipment anytime soon but I am more seriously seeing this as a career option now, with a possibility of ditching the nightshift in time.

So please share your ideas, experiences and advice with me, I like working with computers and this isn't a ''I want to be rich from p.c.'s'' thread, this is potentially a means to support my family and as such I'm willing to invest time, energy and if necessary money into it.
If your still with me at this point,
Thank you for taking the time to read all this :) 
Moto
January 28, 2011 1:57:48 PM

Hi! i'm Canadian and presently in night school taking A+ certification which is in two parts,hardware and software.
It's not that difficult if you're already comfortable with pc gear.
Over here in Ontario the college certificate is accepted as certification within the province.
Otherwise you can take the CompTia A+ exams(at a fee), which as far as i understand once completed successfully, accreditation is worldwide.
If you wanted to pursue A+ certification on your own it's very possible by picking up a copy of Jean Andrews Guide to Managing & Maintaining Your PC.
This text book is the reference one used in Canada/U.S. for CompTia A+ exams and includes a CD-rom with the exam questions on it in a study format for exam preparedness.
Hope that helps!
January 28, 2011 8:43:12 PM

Thanks for your input Dav,
I would like to work towards the A+ eventually and have to look into the at home options in more detail, the main one is going to be the funding there :) 
Moto
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January 29, 2011 2:22:14 AM

Hey Moto, Dogman here,

Just read your Thread. Very Good. Wish you the best!

Your mate in the United States,

Dogman_1234
March 1, 2011 1:49:15 PM

Since you obviously want valuable knowledge and not just a cert but the actually knowledge to do the best job and support your family, I would definitely check out CertGuard.com as it uncovers the illegit practices so you dont waste your money on some braindump or scam site. it also lists the best resources for quality, legit training which i am sure you will appreciate. good luck and let us know how it goes!
May 28, 2011 9:18:18 AM

Thanks Natasha, I'll check that site out
Moto
May 28, 2011 1:09:38 PM

Motopsychojdn said:
Thanks Natasha, I'll check that site out
Moto


Do the sums to see if you can do this full time and earn enough to be interesting assuming that you are not 100% utilised. I considered this years ago (without the PAT testing & Cleaning) and couldn't morally justify charging enough to make a living given how long some diagnostics can take, but I would have been leaving a £32k job to do it. I was envisaging a bench with 2-3 machines being worked on at the same time, i'dbeen fixing and building for about 5years at that point, mostly in exchange for favours with car repairs/servicing.



May 28, 2011 2:40:58 PM

Theres so much competition for I.T. services locally I'd be hard pushed to make it a fulltime enterprise of it,
I currently have a 23k nightshift which I couldn't see me being able to replace, and my neighbour just started up his own pc repair business too lol,
Moto
June 9, 2011 1:39:49 PM

How is everything coming along now?
!