Many have been speculating it for a while now, but yesterday Sky News were warned by experts that the shortage of skilled workers is having a serious impact on the construction industry's recovery.

In order to keep up with the huge demand for new houses, thousands of workers will need to be recruited and trained over the next few years. Last year a total of 108.190 houses were fully built in England, falling very short of the 220,000 target the Home Builder's Federation says are needed to keep up with demand. In turn, the shortage is then driving up house prices, being cited as one of the many factors contributed to the rising costs.

The CITB estimate that around 390,000 workers left the construction industry during the recession, and since 2008 fewer apprentices have joined the sector. This has resulted in an aging workforce, with a further 410,000 estimated to retire in the next five years.

Speaking to building firms across the UK, Sky News were told that bricklayers and roofers were among the trades the industry is most struggling to get an influx of. One interviewee - Mark Aldcroft, who manages a site near Stockport, also said: "Sometimes we can't get enough of the joinery industry because they're being pulled from pillar to post, various other contractors and house builders."

Mike Bialyj from the CITB said there will "undoubtedly" be an impact on the housing sector, telling Sky: "One in 20 companies were forecasting that their business could be damaged or even irreparably damaged due to the skills shortage, so we really do need to make sure we fill the gap."

With an estimated 80% of properties now unaffordable for the average working family partially because of this, its more important than ever that this skill gap is filled. Construction workers are needed more than ever, and two year-long college courses may not be able to fill them in time. What you need is an intensive training course like the kind we offer here at Access Training. Even though your training will take place in a matter of weeks, these courses don't skip out on any of the quality you'll find elsewhere. You'll learn from experienced tradespeople as you work up from the basics and earn official City & Guilds qualifications along the way. Upon completion you'll have the skills and knowledge of a professional tradesperson and be ready to start a brand new career.

Want to find out more? Get in contact with one of our course advisers by calling 0800 345 7492 or filling in the online form here on our website. They'll be happy to speak to you in more detail, answer any queries and even provide you with a tour of our training facilities. 

The housing may be in trouble, but you could be the one to help save it. If you're tired of your current work and/or are looking for something more active and hands-on - then a construction career could be the opportunity you've been waiting for.

Set up by the Women's Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary, today is National Women in Engineering Day and its aim is to focus attention on the great opportunities available to women in the engineering sector and construction industry as a whole.

The aim is to encourage all groups - from the Government and employers to careers advisers and students, to work together toward creating an environment to encourage and increase the number of women engineers. People are doing their own things across the UK - from college talks to publishing polls of their female workforce in an attempt to highlight potential barriers. Results from construction service WSP proved quite promising, with more than 20% of their engineering workforce female and 43% of these graduate rank or below. The majority of those surveyed also didn't believe that gender hindered their career progression, that there weren't any barriers to them upon entering and that they even had engineering mentioned to them as a career at school. Hopefully these are signs that the number of women entering the industry are indeed increasing.

The gender imbalance in the construction industry is something we feel very strongly about here at Access, and something we want to do our part it down. Recently we were featured on Sky News' piece about the troubles of "White Van Women", where Sky's reporters came down and spoke to our trainees and tutors about their thoughts on women in the industry. We're in agreement that construction isn't at all a man's world, and male dominance has only really come from years of stereotyping and women being guided away from those sort of careers. Notice how a lot of people simply say "tradesman"? Little things like that are enough to simply sway young people away.

This is why for the entire month of July, Access Training will be offering up to 50% off of ALL of our courses to female trainees. In addition to that we'll be spending the month featuring testimonials from some of our female trainees who have either just finished their courses here or have now gone to to bigger and better things with their trade qualifications so you can read all about the life tradespeople lead. So if you're looking to start a career in plumbing, electric, gas, carpentry, plastering, tiling, painting/decorating or even all of the above and just need to find the right training to get those all-important qualifications - keep an eye on Access throughout July. Every little bit of saving helps and upon completion of our training courses you may find yourself well on the way to setting up your own business. 

In the meantime, for more information on our courses give our advice team a call on 0800 345 7492.

Statistics via The Construction Index

Click here for more info on National Women in Engineering Day

It's always been said that plumbers are constantly in demand, but did you know that said demand is so high that many existing plumbers are working well over 48 hours a week? It isn't just the customers that need more fully-trained professional plumbers, it looks like the plumbers themselves could use a bit of help too!

A new survey carried out by plumbing assurance scheme WaterSafe found that over half of UK plumbers are working over the maximum working hours with the Working Time Directive. Along with the 54% working over 48 hours, 26% are working between 40-48 hours - with only 13% working between 35-40 hours. What does this mean? Well, 94% of the plumbers spoken to thought that their long hours are having a negative impact on their family and social life.

So what's causing these unhealthy work shifts? 61% said that they've had to extend their working hours over the last ten years, and when asked 77% thought that the recession had impacted their business. Aditionally, 41% commented that customers think that cost is the most important factor when hiring a plumber, rather than who is suitably qualified for the job.

CIPHE CEO and WaterSafe board member Kevin Wellman said it was "concerning" to see such a large proportion of plumbers having to work such long hours in order to meet consumer demand.

He added: "It's important that the industry steps up to addresses this issue because overworked, tired plumbers could potentially result in unsafe installations and have a negative impact on their home life. Moreover, if we want to encourage young people into the industry we need to ensure hours are realistic and the industry is a well-regulated, safe place to work."

With more work available than what the current load of plumbers to handle, becoming a qualified plumber doesn't sound like a bad idea. And if you choose to take those skills and become self-employed, you'll be able to choose the hours you work. Overwork may be a problem for plumbers, but with self-employment you'll always have that option of stopping when you know you need to stop. Physical, varied, rewarding work with good pay and an opportunity for self-employment. Sounds perfect, but where do you start?

You start at the beginning of course, and that's with an intensive plumbing course with us here at Access Training. Working alongside our professional team of tutors, you'll work your way from a beginner all the way up to a trained professional, not only learning the practical skills needed but also the required theory and qualifications. Despite taking a fraction of the time it takes to complete a plumbing course in college, there's absolutely no skimping on quality as you work alongside tutors who've spent years in the plumbing industry. Not only will they be teaching you the relevant plumbing theory, but also offer their wisdom when it comes to working in the industry.

To find out more about our plumbing courses as well as all the other trades training we supply at Access, give our advice team a call on 0800 3457492 or fill in the online form found here on this website. The team are ready to answer all of your questions and explain things in more detail.

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering (CIPHE) have joined forces with BSE sector skills council SummitSkills to launch a research project exploring various aspects of the plumbing and heating sector.

The main area being explored by the project is the current apprenticeship system, specifically how EngTech registrations are working and how both can be maximised for the sector. Considering attitudes towards professional registration and competence schemes, assessing the potential for apprenticeships to meet future skills requirements and understanding the perceived value of EngTech registration are included within the research objectives.

Research will be carried out via a series of focus groups and questionnaires to be completed over the next few weeks, culminating with a report launching in the House of Lords next month.

"This is an excellent initiative which provides a great opportunity for industry to collaborate and safeguard future apprenticeships," said Kevin Wellman, Chief Executive Officer of the CIPHE. "Quality vocational training and relevant practical experience leading to Engineering Council registration is becoming increasingly important for all plumbing professionals, which is something that all our Industry Stakeholder Group partners recognise."

For more information on the research, contact Jacqui Chivers of Summit Skills on 07834 868947.

BBC Wales Cymru have unveiled plans to move to a brand new purpose-build broadcast centre in the centre of Cardiff, prompting hundreds of new construction-based jobs in Wales.

After options to upgrade the current BBC Wales centre in Llandaff were ruled out for being costlier, disruptive and more time consuming, the decision was made to relocate to Cardiff's capital square - currently the site of its Central rail and bus stations. The BBC have said that the new centre will be roughly half the size of the current premises, making it less expensive to run.

This project is also expected to kick off "one of the capital's biggest urban regeneration projects in recent decades", with a new masterplan in the works for the north and south sides to the railway station. This, along with Cardiff's Queen Street station, are already undergoing massive rennovation work.

Cardiff City Council leader, Phil Bale, said: "This is very exciting news for the city and will fast-track our plans for the area. Currently this part of Cardiff city centre doesn't give the best impression and our aim is create a place that the people of Cardiff are proud of and one that leaves a lasting impression for visitors.

"This type of investment comes around once in a generation. It boosts Cardiff’s emergence as a leading centre for creative industries in Europe. The new gateway will show Cardiff in its true light, a modern fast growing vibrant capital city which has so much to offer for business and those who choose to live here."

Hundreds of new jobs means hundreds of new opportunities for both beginner and existing tradespeople. So if you want to gain the skills and qualifications to work in the construction industry professionally or simply need a top-up of your existing toolkit, Access Training can help you. Offering courses suitable to trainees coming from a variety of background and skill level, these courses offer the same level of quality you'd find in a college course in a fraction of the time. To find out more you can get in contact with one of our course advisers on 0800 345 7492.

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