Apprentice electrician

An electrical apprenticeship is kind of like a cross between a university course and a full-time job. Apprentices carry out real-life electrical work (under the supervision of an experienced electrician, of course) and get paid for it; but they also spend part of their time in the classroom, studying their new trade and the theory that underpins it. Apprentice electricians typically spend at least 20% of their working hours studying.

Some see the time-honoured apprenticeship route as a rite of passage for budding tradespeople. But an electrical apprenticeship is rarely the most efficient way to get qualified and start your career.

 

The drawbacks of an electrical apprenticeship

An apprenticeship might sound like the best of both worlds, combining the perks of being a student (i.e. self-betterment and opportunities to make new friends) with the benefits of working (i.e. getting paid).

However, apprenticeships have two major downsides:

  • They take years to complete. According to apprenticeships.gov.uk, an apprenticeship can take anywhere from 1 to 6 years. On average, electrical apprenticeships tend to take 3 or 4 years - so if you become an apprentice at the age of 18, there's a good chance you'll turn 21 before you turn professional!

  • Apprentice electricians don't make much money. As an apprentice, you won't be paid anywhere near as much as a fully-fledged pro. According to Indeed, the average salary for an electrician in the UK is £32,415 per year - but an apprentice electrician in the UK makes just £17,467 per year. And as mentioned above, you'll have to wait a few years before you can strike out on your own and start making big money.

 

Why wait years to become a professional electrician?

If you're eager to get qualified and start your electrical career ASAP, there is a speedy alternative to the traditional apprenticeship route.

Here at Access Training Academies, we offer a selection of fast-track electrical courses that are specifically designed to turn novices into fully-qualified electricians as quickly as possible. If you're not thrilled by the prospect of spending the next few years as an apprentice - not making all that much money and working with someone else looking over your shoulder - then our training courses are the perfect alternative.

With our help, you can earn industry-recognised qualifications and achieve 'professional electrician' status in a matter of months. Contact us now to check upcoming course dates, or click the button below to explore your options.

Browse Electrician Courses >

Photo from Pixabay

 

Now one and a half years on since the Covid-19 pandemic effectively shut down the world, the dust appears to be settling on the construction industry’s state of affairs. There have been numerous obstacles, triumphs, setbacks, and delays of all kinds over this period. Material shortages, fears of redundancy, social distancing measures to be overcome, and the threat of site closures. At a time where such significant construction projects as HS2 are already behind schedule and costing ever greater amounts of money, this is the last thing we need. 

For the last year and a half, industry leaders have waited with baited breath, casting hopeful speculation and quiet apprehension on the future of the construction industry. Will there be opportunities for growth on the other side? Will there be careers for skilled tradespeople? Will we have the means to provide the country with the services it so desperately needs? 

But the industry has bounced back. Thanks to perseverance, discipline and brute determination to overcome these unprecedented challenges, we have powered through lockdown after lockdown, adjusting to the circumstances and ensuring that we get the job done. 

The construction industry has served as a crucial lifeboat for those whose careers were unfortunately left untenable by the pandemic’s ruthlessness. Redundancies across a range of sectors, such as hospitality and entertainment, meant that thousands of people across the country left their jobs, either voluntarily or otherwise. 

Thankfully, many of these people decided to retrain in trade and never looked back. A few months into the pandemic, it was evident that the services of tradespeople were going to remain in full demand – and someone had to provide those services.

It takes little digging to discover some striking evidence for the construction industry’s incredible performance and recovery over the last year or so. Not only have levels of productivity and profit returned to where they left off in March 2020, but quite often they have sky-rocketed past them. 

The construction firm Clancy Group, for example, reported that their profits actually tripled during this great year of disruptions in the midst of the pandemic. Their pre-tax profit came in at £11.1m as of 28 March 2021, up from £3.5m the previous year – a figure which beggars belief considering the circumstances. 

As the pandemic took its early toll in April and May of 2020, the company’s revenue dropped by 20%, and 500 of its 2,200 staff were forced into furlough. Things were not looking good, and the future was as uncertain as it seemed for the rest of the world. They had it as tough as anybody, but benefited greatly from the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which meant they were able to avoid making redundancies. 

Kevin Clancy, Chairman of Clancy Group, said with noted optimism that ‘the vast majority [of the Clancy workforce] have returned to work successfully’, thanks to the support offered by the CJRS. He continues: 

 

‘The pandemic has had a significant impact, but it has also highlighted the fundamental strength of our business. Within a few weeks of the onset of the pandemic, our team was predominantly classified as key workers and played an essential role in maintaining the country’s infrastructure throughout the pandemic’

 

These comments demonstrate the industry’s ability to get back on its feet with determination and dignity, and to ensure that last year’s delays are erased and made up for. They highlight the industry’s fundamental purpose in our society and in our daily lives, and it injects enormous value into the role of tradespeople. ‘Key workers’, ‘essential roles’, and ‘fundamental strength’ are not phrases to be taken lightly, and it is greatly inspiring to see that highly skilled tradespeople are being given the opportunities, protection, and security they deserve.

If you are considering becoming a skilled tradesperson, then now is the time to do so. There is no doubt whatsoever that the construction industry is picking itself up and moving the country forward. It is offering employment to a vast range of skilled and hardworking people, across a huge range of roles. It could be the career you never knew you needed – it could be yours for life. 

Access Training can give you the step up that you need to become trained, become confident in your skills, and to set out on your career. It’s only a call away. 


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

The easing of lockdown has brought with it countless developments within the world of construction and beyond. Our outlook on the world, our personal freedoms, and many elements of our behaviour have changed perhaps permanently. 

As we go on to explain in this article, some of our attitudes towards DIY construction projects have seemed to change over the course of the pandemic, with an increase in the amount of homeowners, especially in the younger generation, who are willing to undertake certain minor tasks across a range of vocations, whether it’s electrical, plumbing or carpentry work. 

A recent study conducted by the Plastic Sheets Shop showed that 40% of UK homeowners attempted their own DIY home improvement projects over lockdown, and that 35% are more confident in this area as a result. 

This enthusiasm and increased level of interest in being able to tackle DIY projects is very encouraging in terms of reaching our goal of supplying the construction industry with the next generation of tradespeople. If there’s a desire and enjoyment in being able to complete home improvements yourself, then why not make that your job?

 

 

Some things, however, never change, and this includes our ultimate dependency on tradespeople to complete minor and major DIY work to a high and safe standard. One most notable development in the easing of lockdown has been the upsurge in the number of tradespeople who continue to be called out to people’s homes to complete a huge range of services. 

While these numbers remained consistent throughout previous lockdowns, with tradespeople in high demand and being able to safely carry out work despite restrictions, the recent surge is extremely promising, and shows that we need trained skilled tradespeople if we want serious work carried out to a high standard. 

The same study also revealed that, fortunately, the vast majority of people are still much more likely to call in a tradesperson to carry out the required work themselves. This is great news for those working in the trade – it demonstrates the consistent high demand and high rates that have been promised over the last year, and offers a bright light at the end of the tunnel for thousands of those working in the industry. 

 

Generating trust in your customers is crucial to forming a steady client base, and the figures revealed by this study suggest that the general public do have a very high level of confidence in tradespeople and the quality of work that they carry out. For example, 80.2% of those 45+, and 43.4% of those 18-45, would always bring in a tradesperson to complete work at home. 

 

Plumbing was the most in-demand trade for those who answered the survey, as it was seen as being more complex and requiring a high level of expertise. 70% of people surveyed answered that they would always call in a professional for any plumbing work. 34% answered that they would not know where to begin while performing the most minor of plumbing tasks, such as fixing leaky taps or unblocking drains, while 53% said that they would not be confident enough to attempt more major work themselves, especially complex tasks like installing plumbing fixtures such as toilets, sinks, or dishwashers.

The most revealing statistic, however, was that 40% of respondents actually regretted attempting the work themselves instead of hiring a professional! This is not a particularly good indicator of the quality of the work performed, and it goes without saying that hiring a professional – or becoming a qualified professional yourself – is only going to give you a better, and in the long term, more cost effective, outcome. 

Some trade work can be more forgiving to the DIY amateur – putting up a wonky shelf or changing a bulb isn’t going to result in disastrous consequences. But if there’s one thing the pandemic has shown, it’s that despite increased DIY efforts, people are still devoted to the services of the tradesperson, and that there truly is no adequate replacement for high-skilled, disciplined, professional work. 

Over the course of the pandemic, thousands of people have made the leap from their struggling professions to become skilled tradespeople, often after realising that they can save – and eventually make – money doing the work themselves. The opportunities for work are abundant, as is widely reported – wherever you look, there are indications that a career in the construction industry is well paid and in high demand. The trade industry has been and always will be a highly respected and essential industry with opportunities for everyone who wants to contribute their skills. 

Access Training is the place to develop and nurture these skills, and turn them into a viable and fulfilling career. It only takes one call, and we can take it from there.


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

Average weekly earnings for self-employed construction workers are continuing to skyrocket beyond pre-pandemic levels, as Hudson Contract’s last month’s payroll data has recently been made public. 

According to Hudson Contract, the UK’s largest supplier of tax status and employment contract services in the construction industry, last month saw the average weekly earnings for self-employed tradespeople rise to £904, giving skilled workers an extra £124 per month. And this is just the average, and varies from region to region within England and Wales. In the East Midlands, for example, labour costs have hit an all-time high at £1,014 a week.

 

 

This is following a continuous surge in demand as the construction industry, and indeed other projects around the UK, get back on their feet. The construction sector, along with the country, has been injected with a surge of energy, following the introduction of regeneration, housing and infrastructural projects which are already underway. The opportunities and necessity for skilled workers is breath taking, and is being reflected by these figures of rocketing wages. 

The cost of skilled labour rose by 3.6% in July of this year, a rise which arrived at a fortuitous time for the industry: Hudson Contract reported in June that the construction sector saw the most substantial rise in earnings out of any UK sector since the beginning of the pandemic, at an enormous 14% increase. Earnings have been steadily rising throughout this year too, with evident growth from March through to the present time. In May, average weekly earnings were up 20% on pre-pandemic levels.

This substantial increase in weekly average pay is generating a very hopeful and vibrant feeling within the construction industry. Hudson Contract, the largest UK supplier of tax status and employment contract services for those working in the construction industry, have given indicators over the past year and a half of the superb health of the construction industry. 

 

Managing Director of Hudson Contract, Ian Anfield, exudes this optimism, and gives the healthy state of the housing market as one of the reasons for this continued surge in high productivity for the industry and high pay for workers: 

 

‘The housing market is booming with the price of the average UK home increasing by nearly £25,000 over the last year’, he says, and predicts that this advantageous state of affairs will be likely ‘to continue for the foreseeable future’. 

 

He puts this down to ‘big infrastructure investments’, backed by the government ‘as part of its “leveling up” agenda, which is adding to confidence in the sector’. 

Hopeful and confident times indeed for the construction industry, though there are, as ever, notable challenges ahead. Anfield notes that ‘shortages in building materials and skilled labour’ is one such obstacle, compounded by the global pandemic, after-effects of Brexit and the like. 

But one way of solving this issue is to ensure that potential skilled workers are aware of the multifarious opportunities for professional and personal growth within the construction industry at present – judging by the statistics and expert opinions, these conditions are only set to improve, with higher wages and higher demand ever on the horizon. 

Now is the perfect time to become trained as a tradesperson – this is indisputable. Train as a tradesperson now in order to reap the benefits of a healthy sector – the healthiest in the UK – which is repaying the price of training ten times over. Becoming a tradesperson is a lifelong investment, a quick way into a rewarding, fulfilling, and financially secure career. It will equip you with the skills, employability, self-confidence and discipline you’ve been looking for, and will give you work to be proud of. 

That £1000 a week could be yours in no time – all it takes is a call to Access Training. 


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

We are approaching a time where the lives of thousands of young people are at a crossroads. Significant life decisions are due to be made in their lives: whether to continue with further education either in university or to go down the vocational trade route. 

Despite having their own perceptions and stereotypes, these two routes are not so different from one another as was once assumed; you can achieve great levels of success travelling along both paths. However, it might surprise you to discover that our typical impressions of the route into the trade industry, for example, are somewhat different to what we are brought up to expect. 

Outdated stereotypes and preconceived notions have caused the trade industry to be disregarded as a plausible alternative to university. Below, we observe the results of a recent study commissioned by Selco, which surveyed 500 manual skilled workers to see how they are faring in the trade industry. Here we consider the real benefits of being aware all career options. You never know – it might be the very thing you’ve been looking for.

 

 

Financial Security

The most startling figures uncovered by Selco determine that tradespeople are, on average, far more financially stable than students after their education is complete. While the average student debt is around £45,000, the typical tradesperson’s debt is at only £5,600. 

This can be explained by the fact that tradespeople are able to earn a salary much earlier on in their careers; vocational training courses also tend to be shorter and more inexpensive than university courses. Students will typically have to wait beyond their graduation until they can find employment, and are then playing catchup to pay back their fees. 

Not only this, but having fewer debts will allow for greater financial flexibility and even opportunities for investment. 70% of tradespeople asked have savings, and ⅓ said they invested their earnings in ventures such as property, stocks and shares, or crypto currency, allowing them to grow their wealth and continue to remain financially stable. Such opportunities seldom lend themselves to students who have to scrimp and save throughout their degrees. 

Not only are tradespeople earning earlier in their lives, but they are typically earning more, sooner. A living wage can be expected to be earnt by age 22 as a tradesperson, and while this is also a possible achievement for a university graduate, it can take as long as age 29 before they can earn the same.

 

Lifestyle

It goes without saying that money troubles and financial comfort lend themselves to all other kinds of benefits in life. 73% of tradespeople asked in the survey said that they were happy with their jobs, which is considerably higher than the average figure of UK job satisfaction, between 41-65%. 

But why is this figure significantly higher than the rest of UK workers? The primary reason is undoubtedly about a sense of pride. 72% of the tradespeople in the survey said that pride was the single most fulfilling element of their job happiness. 67% answered that the satisfaction of hard work was the reason, 54% gave a sense of responsibility, 49% suggested that it was the confidence generated by trade work, 37% noted the work’s required dedication, while 34% put it down to the demand for focus. 

It goes without saying that work in the trade industry requires all of these characteristics, as of course do other academic vocations. But it’s far easier to enjoy hard work, and to feel pride in your work, while you’re also earning and feel yourself progressing, rather than slipping into an ever steeper pit of debt. The primary motive of work in the trade industry for many is that feeling of progress, pride, worthwhile perseverance, and to feel yourself moving forward in life.

 

Home Ownership

And this leads us to another major difference between the university and trade routes. Statistically, you are more likely to be a homeowner at a younger age as a tradesperson than as a student – three years younger, to be exact – and are typically leaving home one year sooner than your student equivalents. 

Tradespeople are generally homeowners by the time they are 27, whereas the rest of the UK are on average aged 30 before they are given the keys to their own place. Not only this, but 44% of tradespeople are likely to have owned multiple properties than average workers, and 1 in 6 tradespeople will have statistically owned more than one property at the same time.

 

Settling Down

Without exaggerating the importance of these decisions, their outcomes do define, to a certain extent, the way your life will progress. The decisions you take after leaving school can impact things further down the line, and according to the results of this survey, these can be as significant as how soon you get married and have children. 

Along with home ownership, tradespeople are typically married and settled, and will even have had their first child, at an earlier age than their student counterparts. The average male tradesperson’s marriage happens on average five years earlier than other men, and for women this is three years earlier. 

Tradespeople will statistically have had their first child by the age of 26 – this is two years before the female average (28), and a whopping seven years before the male average (33). 

 

Success

Success in life is ultimately subjective, and can be measured in a number of ways. By no means is it true that the life of a tradesperson is necessarily any more successful than that of a university student, and it goes without saying that, you can make the most of any decision you make. 

But it’s worth emphasising that the trade industry can be an option for a highly successful career, perhaps more so than is typically expected. 1 in 4 tradespeople have gone on to start their own businesses, and have taken their futures into their own hands. It’s a career which offers promise, growth, self-discovery, and autonomy. 

Unfortunately, a debt-free life is no longer a guarantee for anyone, but university graduates are particularly vulnerable in today’s job market. Job security is increasingly hard to find in the wider world. 

But the trade industry is providing this secure option for thousands of people. The past year has seen the construction industry go from strength to strength, continuing to work around the clock to provide essential services for people, and offering education and training for thousands who decided to retrain and increase their employability. 

The trade industry could be the safety net – and even saving grace – for you and your future. Access Training is one of the UK’s biggest training companies, and can provide you with the skills and direction you need to invest in your future and establish your career. 

Give yourself a career – give Access Training a call today.


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

BIRMINGHAM, NORWICH AND CARDIFF LEAD THE CHARGE FOR ELECTRICIAN GRADUATES

  • Access Training UK reveals a 29% increase in applicants to its trade courses in 2020, including a 14% increase in female applicants
  • Gas courses prove most popular in Leicester with a 175% increase in graduates year-on-year
  • Whilst, Plymouth carves top spot for carpentry (100%), Edinburgh sees biggest increase in plumbing (75%) and Birmingham leads the charge for electrician graduates (66%)

The construction and manual trade industry is one of a few that has remained open for business throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only have workers and businesses been able to operate within social distancing guidelines (following an initial lockdown early last year), but the industry has gone from strength to strength, and with it, its appeal as a profession has rocketed.

Online learning portal, Access Training UK revealed a 29% increase in applicants to its trade courses in 2020, including a noticeable 14% increase in female applicants. This noticeable increase could not come at a better time as construction activity levels have experienced a seven year high, whilst demand for home improvements have soared significantly, as homeowners look to renovate and re-design homes to adapt to a new way of living.

Training to be an electrician has been the most popular avenue over the last year with a 38% increase in trainees at Access Training UK, closely followed by gas engineer courses (29%), plumber courses (24%) and carpentry courses (13%). Access Training UK offers ultimate flexibility to students with unique, online and flexible training packages available for key trade skills. With all learning online, and attendance to one of three course centers (Kent, Cardiff or Hertfordshire), limited to practical training and exams, it is easier than ever before to change your career. 

With career specific courses delivering industry recognised qualifications wherever you are in the country, Access Training UK has highlighted which regions of the UK are leading the charge when it comes to specific trades:

 

Region

Percentage increase in graduates when comparing 2019/20 to 2020/21

PLUMBING COURSES

Edinburgh

75%

Oxford

68%

Leeds

50%

Brighton and Bristol

36%

Nottingham

33%

ELECTRICIAN COURSES

Birmingham

66%

Norwich

50%

Cardiff

34%

Oxford and Liverpool

33%

Bristol

28%

GAS COURSES

Leicester

175%

Edinburgh

100%

Manchester

75%

Cambridge and Liverpool

50%

Birmingham

45%

CARPENTRY COURSES

Plymouth

100%

Cambridge and Bristol

50%

Norwich and Brighton

20%

Cardiff

18%

Oxford and London

15%

 

Jamie Jefferies, CEO of Access Training UK, comments:

Construction and manual trades were some of the UK’s strongest sectors during the pandemic. There is also a huge skill shortage within the industry.  Therefore, it is no surprise to see an increase in the number of graduates across the board, with the industry appealing to those looking for employment, but also those looking for a career change. 

Access Training UK’s fully accredited trade courses follow an industry leading 3-stage training programme. We recognise the need for both flexibility in our online theory training to fit around our students' lives and also the importance of hands-on practical training with professional trainers. We are always focusing on making sure we not only provide the best training possible, but we strengthen the industry with ambassadors for their chosen career."

 

 

Despite a high rate of productivity over the course of the pandemic, the UK construction industry is not in the clear yet. 

Recent months have seen construction firms across the country struck by a shortage of materials, as well as a decline in the number of workers available. As prices for a wide range of building materials rise, firms are finding it increasingly difficult to make a profit – and things are set to prove even more challenging as the months tick by.

In their latest report, consultant firm EY warned that the number of profit warnings in construction and materials firms were at a five-year low during the first half of 2021. Although projects have continued thus far, the continued shortage of both materials and workforce, and general ill health of the supply line, could make things considerably worse for the second half of this year. 

A range of crucial building materials, particularly cement and timber, have become concerningly limited in supply due to the continued impacts of both Brexit and Covid-19. Orders of bulk cement have been constrained, despite the fact that kilns at UK cement suppliers are all fully operational – this is an issue whose source lies at the very heart of the construction industry and the wider global economy. Stock shortages, delivery delays, and steeply rising inflation, have all coincided with an increased demand for the materials themselves.

Inflation on materials has risen by 10-15% compared to 2020, but some individual products have been struck more sharply than others. The price of most timber products, for example, has risen by between 20-50%. Plastic products, roofing products, landscaping products, insulation and more, have all faced shortages, causing some suppliers to simply cease stocking certain products due to their lack of economic viability. Not only are fundamental materials harder to find and more expensive to buy – they aren’t affordable whatsoever.

This is a crisis hitting each and every element of the construction industry, and predictions are being made of project delays further down the line. Ian Marson, the construction leader of EY-Parthenon UK, warns that ‘cost inflation may put new projects at risk’, despite the fact that ‘existing projects are continuing’. The issue might be, he suggests, in funding and developing future projects, even though current ones are underway. He goes on to say:

 

‘Companies with inflation clauses in their contracts should be able to weather short-term price increases but if prices remain high and shortages continue, project delays may become inevitable’. 

 

So what might the solutions be? The initial answer would be to continue the drive for training and upskilling, to turn the tide against the falling labour force. Meg Wilson, the turnaround and restructuring strategist for EY-Parthenon, suggests that the way forward lies in the ability of firms to ‘strike a balance responding to current demand while defending themselves from potential problems’:

 

‘Businesses reopening or expanding trading are balancing the investment and costs needed to meet increased demand against the removal of government support and the potential for setbacks’. 

 

A cautionary approach, forward thinking, and sensible investment, then, is the way forward for an industry battling the trials and tribulations of a world still dominated by Covid-19 and the political developments of recent years. The industry is well-stocked with individuals who understand the challenges ahead. Whatever happens, we know only too well how the construction industry has weathered many storms over the last year. It is a resilient machine, and there is no doubt that, despite the difficulties ahead, it will emerge stronger than ever. 

Construction industry leaders have called upon the government to end self-isolation requirements as thousands of site workers are being wrongfully told to self isolate by the NHS app, in an issue being dubbed the ‘pingdemic’. 

Trading bodies including the CLC, the NBF, and the CBI, have lobbied the government to consider bringing forward the date at which double-jabbed workers no longer have to self-isolate, as the workforce dwindles at the hands of unnecessary technical errors. The current cut-off date is August 16th, but industry leaders argue that an earlier date is essential if the industry is to get back on its feet.

It goes without saying that the industry has been significantly affected by this. While Covid cases are indeed rising in number, and workers are having to legitimately self-isolate after having caught the illness itself, there are many others who are being incorrectly informed of their coming into contact with positive cases by the NHS app, and are having to needlessly remove themselves from their places of work.

This is causing great disruption to construction sites up and down the country, and some are even being forced to close resulting from a lack of available onsite workers. Richard Beresford, the chief executive of the National Federation of Builders, has commented on the extent to which sites have been impacted:

 

‘Every member we have spoken to has Covid-negative staff isolating. Some have had to shut sites due to a site manager’s or other key staff being pinged and no replacements available’. 

 

He warns that the very survival of some sites is at stake – a couple of weeks of closure could have severe repercussions in the current climate, and after a year of similar disruptions, there is a degree of vulnerability which could leave construction firms in danger of permanent closure.

Andy Mitchell, the co-chair of the CLC, also describes the heightened challenges faced by the recent difficulties, saying that ‘very significant pressure’ has been placed upon the construction sector as a result. He has heard ‘reports from across the industry of plants, sites and offices having to wind down activities as staff have been asked isolate’, factors which again could threaten ‘project delivery and even the viability of some firms’. It is ‘essential’, he warns, for the date to be brought forward from August 16th, to ensure ‘that the industry doesn’t grind to a halt’. 

There are other benefits to bringing the date forward, according to CLC. They argue that a nearer date would actually increase the number of people who are fully vaccinated across the population, as more people would want to reap the benefits of immunity and ensure that they are immune from the need to self-isolate. It would bring an overall advantage to both the workforce and the wider population. 

This development has arisen during the height of growing concerns about shortage in material supplies, which have been ongoing since the beginning of 2021. High demand, inflation and long lead times have led to a backlog in even the most fundamental of supplies, such as concrete and timber, and prices of materials have risen by 10-15% in the last year.

Even industry giants such as Morgan Sindall have borne the brunt of the hardship, and recently commented on the current shortages and isolation issues faced by the industry. But chief-executive John Morgan remains optimistic. ‘It’s there, but it’s manageable. I believe the shortages aren’t as much as they were a few weeks ago. We’ve had it worse in the past’. Although the company ‘are feeling’ the strain of the recent weeks, they expect the situation to improve in the month ahead when the number of fully vaccinated workers will have risen.

The construction industry has powered through admirably during the last year of lockdowns, obstacles, and disruptions of all kinds, to ensure that crucial work is able to continue. And no doubt it will power through again. Morgan Sindall themselves are a reflection of the surprising successes awarded to the construction industry in the face of such a challenging year; their half-year trading update predicts that they will ‘significantly’ surpass their 2019 results. Triumphs can be found in the most unexpected of places.

Another month to get through, another challenge to face. But industry leaders are forever inspired and hopeful that the sector will carry us through. There’s only one thing we can keep doing, and that’s inviting new workers into the field, helping them become qualified, and giving them the opportunity to jump on board. And that person could be you.

It only takes one call, one course, and one decision. Become a skilled tradesperson today – and never look back.

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

Anybody who’s lost their job, been made redundant. My advice is don’t be afraid. With hard work, preparation and the right training, you can do anything you want’ – Jimmy, Gas Trainer

 

It’s no secret that the construction industry is in great need of skilled workers. For the last few years, it has suffered from a serious skills shortage, making proposed construction projects harder and harder to achieve. 

Declining numbers of new workers entering the industry, an ageing workforce, and Brexit meaning overseas workers are more difficult to source. Demand for workers is currently at its highest level since December 2015, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The number of people entering the plumbing and heating industry, for example, declined by 4.19% over the last 16 years, from 157,400 to 150,800. If these general trends continue, where will we be in, say, five, ten, twenty, years? 

If there’s one thing the last year has taught us, it’s that the construction industry is of utmost importance to our daily lives. The public rely on construction workers to ensure basic living standards are met; they heat our homes, safely install gas appliances, and provide us with electricity. With people stuck in doors for the majority of the last year for obvious reasons, home comforts and safety have never been more important. And, it’s worth noting, demand for construction workers has never been higher.

 

‘Infrastructure is always going to need maintaining and installing. That’s why I chose a career in trades. I want my future to be safe’ – Leah, student.

 

So why is the construction industry continually struggling with the numbers of its workforce? It is a modern, vibrant industry, developing new technologies, innovative projects, and securing the next generation of infrastructure for our country. It is building hundreds of thousands of homes, hospitals, schools, and massive jobs such as HS2. These things will last multiple generations, and will transform the UK as we know it. 

The prospect of joining such a workforce ought to be seen as inspiring, and young professionals ought to be joining the industry in droves. But this message is being lost in translation, perhaps burdened by an older perception of the construction industry as a labour-intensive, male-only industry, where work is monotonous and limited. The reality couldn’t be more different: there are an incalculable amount of roles within construction, providing varied, fulfilling work for a whole range of different people, of all backgrounds and genders. This is the positive, refreshing message which needs shouting from the rooftops.

Covid-19 has threatened the livelihoods of millions of people across the country. Countless sectors have been affected, with redundancies and risk of job loss at a concerningly high level. But one industry that remained relatively secure was, you guessed it, the construction industry. Not only did wages remain stable, but they actually rose as work demand increased, with over £1000 a week a common salary for busy tradespeople. Hudson Contract, the industry’s biggest payer of subcontractors, raised their workers’ salaries by 5.6% in October, which was also the fourth consecutive month where wages went up. 

The pandemic meant that thousands of people were forced to rethink their careers. The decisions they often made resulted in them leaving their jobs, which were under threat of being lost, or had actually been lost. Career change for many seemed like an enormous undertaking – a huge upheaval which would require massive change, resources, and time. 

And indeed, the general feeling among working people is that they are unprepared for a change of career. According to a City and Guilds report, just over half (54%) of businesses have stated that they can recruit the skilled individuals they need. Most concerningly, 61% of working age adults do not feel equipped with the skills they need to unlock new opportunities for the next five years of their professional lives. 

And worse yet, 30% (the equivalent of 11 million people) have not received formal workplace training in the last five years. The answer, then, is that the workplace should integrate a continual system of training, to instill a sense of progress, ambition, and personal drive, which would account for far more people fulfilling their full professional potential. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Access Training prides itself on aiding people to make successful career changes – we’ve been doing it for a lot longer than Covid has been around. Our tutors are experts in preparing students not only to sit and pass exams, but to enjoy long-term careers. We offer fast-track, flexible training, which you can fit around your busy life. 

More importantly, we have developed a training structure which means that people from all walks of life, all levels of experience, can begin afresh, or build on skills they already have. During the pandemic, people from all different career backgrounds enrolled on a course with us. Whether they were from the hospitality or entertainment industries, teachers, pilots, chefs, taxi drivers, or even lawyers – they came to us for additional skills, to make themselves more employable, more financially independent and secure. 

They came to us to invest in their futures, not just to make sure that they could get by from day to day, but because they identified the construction industry as an industry in which sustainable, fulfilling employment was consistent and easy to find, providing you put the work in. 

 

‘The Fast Track training made this change of career an actual option for me and the others in my class. The tutors are there for you 24 hours a day to help. They feel more like mentors now’ – Michael, Student

 

And that’s why Access Training’s 3 Stage Training Programme is so effective. It doesn’t assume any prior knowledge, and it welcomes people whose backgrounds are not in construction. They are designed with this in mind. Not only does it guide you through the qualifications and learning, but it also ensures that you aren’t left alone once you finish your course. You leave Access Training prepared for employment, with continued guidance on how to find work, or how to set up your own business. 

Because we understand how crucial it is that aspiring tradespeople supply the country with their services and their skills. We understand that, if you have the capacity to learn, the motivation to work, then you can do anything. And we want more than anything for our students to thrive in the industry. 

So how does our 3 Stage Training Programme work? 

 

Stage 1 – Live Online Learning

Access Training Online is a tailored learning portal that allows you unlimited learning for 3 years from the comfort of your own home – repeat and use any part as many times as you like. This includes scheduled live tuition, tutor Q&As, lessons, tests, and much more. This is the perfect preparation for the next step of your course.

 

Stage 2 – Practical Training

Next you attend a training centre for the practical training part of your course. This hands-on, fast-track tuition is entirely flexible with you having the power to attend when you’re ready, equipping you with the skills and knowledge needed for professional qualifications.

 

Stage 3 – Career & Employment Support

From Day 1 we will provide you with a dedicated Career Support Officer who can give expert guidance and advice on all matters related to your exciting new career. Build your CV with us and find out about the potential job/placement opportunities with our network of Corporate Partners.

 

Access Training is here to produce the next generation of tradespeople for the UK. If a career in construction is what you want, then there’s only one place to come. 


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

 

The moment we have all kept in the back of our minds has now arrived. As of July 1st, the shift has begun towards the end of the furlough scheme.

553,000 people have lost their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic, and the furlough scheme has undoubtedly been responsible for this number being as relatively low as it is. At its peak, 10 million people were benefiting from furlough, while the overall cost to the government has been a knee-shaking £66bn. 

As of April 2021, 3.4 million people were still on furlough, a fall from 5.1 million in January. This number is still declining – by the end of May it was at around 2.4 million, according to HMRC figures, and current estimates for June are between 1.3-1.9 million. 

This tapering of furlough means that, from July 1st onwards, employers must contribute 10% of their employees’ wages for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, while the government contributes 70% where it previously covered 80%.

Between August and September, employers will then have to raise their portion to 20% of employees’ wages, while the government’s input drops to 60%. As of September 30th, the scheme will end entirely, and employers will pay the full amount once again. 

This is causing anxiety to both employers and employees alike, for obvious reasons, and numerous questions are being raised. Will the economy be back on its feet enough to sustain paying full wages again? Is September 30th yet another arbitrary deadline which will inevitably be extended? Or is this the real deal? 

It seems pretty set in stone. PM Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are determined to make this the final chapter of furlough support, with Johnson commenting that, ‘on the basis of what we can see now in the data … we don’t think we’ll need to change’. After the previous four extensions, the government will be highly reluctant to venture for a fifth furlough. Unless something drastic happens, with a large rise in infections and further restrictions necessary, it seems that September 30th is the final full stop to furlough.

September 30th is, in the government’s eyes, sufficient time to give businesses a chance to reopen and get back on their feet, and to prevent the need for another extension. From then on, they’re by themselves – employers will have to decide whether to take full time employees, or to make them redundant, unless another extension is decided. But for how long can this game of cat and mouse continue? 

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng adds to this sense of furlough finality, though tries to offer reassurance: 

‘The furlough isn’t simply being switched off. All we’re saying is that the employer should contribute something to the payroll, and then over time, over the next three months, the furlough will be taken away. It’s a difficult balanced decision to make, the furlough wasn’t going to last forever’. 

 

We knew this all too well, but the shock is still going to be heavy for a large number of people. Many business leaders believe that September 30th is an insufficient amount of time to be able to take on employees full time, and so the likelihood is leaning towards redundancy. Redundancy is becoming an inevitability for potentially hundreds of thousands of people.

Terry George, who owns the Mission night club in Leeds, as well as other hospitality venues, is fully anticipating having to make many of his staff redundant by the time September 30th arrives. ‘We can’t afford to pay people out of a pot that has no money coming in. We’re going to have to lose some staff’. 

What’s worse, is that we may have less time than it seems. September 30th might be the cutoff, but it’s perfectly clear to employers where things are headed. Every month between now and September is going to cost employers more money in wages – money that they don’t have. 

Redundancies will likely begin sooner rather than later, though perhaps not immediately. Hargreaves Lansdown personal finance analyst Sarah Coles has suggested that, although ‘they might not make anyone redundant on day one, their jobs will be under increasing threat as time goes on and government help is withdrawn further’. 

It might not be an instant change, then, but that’s not necessarily cause for hope. The possibility of a later redundancy is strong. The Institute for Fiscal Studies backs this speculation in their recent statement: ‘With the cost of keeping employees on furlough rising, we therefore expect to see rising redundancies over the summer even before the final end of the scheme.’ 

Realistically, there is only one way out of this. It is to embrace a change of career, to invest in your future and protect yourself from a crumbling job market. If you are still on furlough after all this time, and have not been able to resume work, the chances of facing redundancies are not slim. The next few months could see you out of work, and bereft of crucial government support.

But one sector of security, as proved by the stability of the last year, is the construction industry. Swathes of people have left their old jobs to begin afresh as a tradesperson, or have balanced retraining with their old job to supplement their falling wages. People have taken this time to upskill, to add to their employability, so that when things are back to normal, there is a career there waiting for you. 

The construction industry has survived first, second, third waves of lockdown. Trade work has still been able to continue despite restrictions, thanks to the efficiency and professionalism of its workers. The flexibility and adaptability of the industry has meant that crucial work has been able to go ahead. 

But what is clear is that construction work simply cannot be put on pause for long. Whether it’s large scale infrastructural work or domestic projects, people need tradespeople to keep working, to keep pushing through. Demand has not dwindled for a second, and has in fact continued to rise. Wages have not fallen, they have risen. Job vacancies have not been swallowed up, they continue to offer opportunities to workers. 

We need skilled, qualified tradespeople more than ever. And in the next three months, a career in construction might be the thing that makes the nightmare of the past year go away. All it takes is that burst of self belief, to take your future into your own hands, and not fall victim to furlough’s end.


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

 

The proposed furlough phase out over the next three months is causing trepidation and concern for workers and employers alike. September 30th will see all government furlough support come to an end, preceded by a three month process whereby employers are increasingly responsible for paying their workers’ wages. 

From September 30th onwards, employers will have to decide between taking on their previously furloughed workers full time, or making them redundant. It is becoming increasingly evident that the impact of this decision is going to fall heavier on a certain portion of the working population. 

People aged between 55 and 64 are currently the highest portion of the workforce who are still being furloughed. More than 1 in 4 of workers in this age bracket (26%) have had to remain on furlough for the duration of lockdown. And so in the latter half of this year, where redundancies are not only likely but inevitable, this group of workers will most likely feel the brunt of the impact. 

This situation has come about as the result of certain industries, such as hospitality and leisure, opening up sooner than others. These industries in particular have a large portion of young people working in them, and so most furloughed workers are in the older age brackets, and are now more financially vulnerable. Only 6% of currently furloughed workers are aged between 35-44, and 16% are aged between 18-34. The Resolution Foundation, who are responsible for conducting this study, explains: 

 

‘The rapid fall in furlough rates driven by the reopening of sectors like hospitality and leisure, which disproportionately employ younger workers, the age profile of over 1.5 million employees still on furlough is changing.’

 

Not only are older people likely to be unfairly impacted by changes to furlough, but even those still in work will have their wages cut significantly as redundancies take place. The Institute for Fiscal Studies anticipates that

 

 ‘Tens of thousands of workers will suffer a steep fall in income as employers react by making redundancies. It will mean big income losses for many of those who end up unemployed unless they are swiftly able to find alternative employment’.

 

The only other safety net beyond furlough is the universal credit scheme. But the government is conveniently planning a £20-a-week reduction in universal credit support in September, coinciding with the end of furlough. This double blow might leave even more people in jeopardy, without jobs or safety net. 

Of course, swiftly found alternative employment is not common at the best of times. Changing career at the drop of a hat is not something many people are forced to go through, and it can be a daunting prospect to say the least. But circumstances are looking likely to force perhaps tens of thousands of people in this direction. 



The construction industry, however, has been the lifeline that thousands of people have needed. It is perfectly suited to those people who are looking to make a fresh start, and as working prospects are squeezed once again, embarking on a career as a tradesperson has never been a better option. 

Access Training has seen a large number of people retraining and upskilling in order to continue working and have professional prospects beyond furlough. We have been retraining professionals for decades, since long before Covid, and know how to prepare people for long-term, fulfilling employment in the construction industry.

Among our previous students looking to embark on a new career path, we have had teachers, chefs, taxi drivers, lawyers, entertainers – a great range of backgrounds, professions, and ages. The reason for this appeal is quite simple: tradespeople have been able to continue working throughout the last year, despite lockdowns and all other kinds of obstructions. A great many construction projects have been able to go ahead, meaning that work has been able to continue whilst navigating restrictions. 

Demand for tradespeople has been consistently high, and so are wages. Again, the reasons are simple. Before the pandemic, the construction industry was already experiencing a skills shortage, meaning that work for tradespeople has long been plentiful and well paid. Brexit has meant that a considerable amount of the workforce from the EU have become unavailable, again opening up the opportunities and strong need for more tradespeople from the UK. 

Covid has only continued this high demand for skilled tradespeople, and the construction industry has since become a beacon of hope for those out of work, or whose prospects on furlough are not looking promising. It is not looking to change anytime soon, either, with large-scale building projects scheduled for the next decade all across the UK. It is widely documented that wages and working opportunities are rising. 

In short, now could not be a better time to retrain in the construction industry. If you have a head on your shoulders, are good with your hands and problem solving, then a trade might be the career you’ve been looking for all your life. 

If the warning signs ahead are anything to go by, then furlough is not going to provide a happy ending, and may leave you in a vulnerable position. Use the remaining time ahead to prepare yourself for the worst, and invest in a new professional direction. You’ll never look back.

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen. 

Working as a carpenter

Am I too old to retrain as a carpenter?

This is a question commonly asked by people in their forties who are considering a change of career.

If you're around 40 years of age and wondering whether it's too late for you to become a carpenter, allow us to reassure you that it most certainly is not!

In this blog post, we'll take a look at the options available to you as an adult learner and how you can become a carpenter at 40+ with the help of Access Training.

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