A recent survey conducted by Retail Company Screw fix, shows that two out of five tradespeople were giving more quotes for work than a year ago, and more than half of the trades people who took part in the survey said that their business was better than the previous year, in particular, plumbers, electricians and carpenters are extremely optimistic about their business outlook during 2016.

In 2015, the skilled trade industry experienced an increase in demand towards the end of the year, fortunately this trend has continued into 2016, with one in seven tradespeople stating that they have too much work on their books.Most of the tradespeople surveyed said that they expected business to remain at the same level, or improve over the next 12 months.

If you are a regular reader of our blog posts, you will notice that we write about the current skills shortage crisis that we are currently experiencing in the UK regularly. The skills shortage is a huge issue that we are currently facing. Currently in the construction industry alone there is a shortage of 35,000 people, this figure naturally increases when domestic tradespeople are added into the equation.

With the increase in demand, it is apparent that – even though good for plumbers, electricians, gas engineers and carpenters, because it means that there is no shortage of work, potential customers will soon start to run into difficulties being able to find a trades person when they need them the most.

If these projections are correct, then 2016 could mean that many tradespeople may start having to work long hours to keep up with the demand. This means that now is the perfect time for people who are thinking about learning or retraining as a skilled trades person or adding taking courses to develop their existing skill set.

Here at Access Training, we have developed alongside City & Guilds, and other awarding bodies, a wide range of fully comprehensive courses that are suitable for people who have no prior industry experience. Our courses will teach you the very basics, through to the more advanced techniques used by trade professionals. 

To find out more about our plumbing, carpentry or electrical courses, contact us today!

Today - the 8th of March, 2016 - is International Women's Day. This annual event began more than 100 years ago, and every March it serves as a great opportunity to celebrate the amazing achievements of women all over the world.

However, IWD is also an opportunity to highlight the many areas where gender equality still hasn't been achieved, and regrettably, our own field is a prime example. Female workers are still astoundingly rare in the construction and trade industries; according to this article from last year, women account for just 11% of the UK construction industry's total workforce, and only 1% of those women actually work on construction sites. Women are similarly under-represented in trades such as plumbing and electrical work, and while the ratios are beginning to shift,  it's clear that there's still a long way to go.

So how can we encourage more people to learn a trade and join these male-dominated industries? First of all, people need to change their attitudes towards tradeswomen, and that applies both to the general public and to representatives of the trades in question. A couple of years ago, the Telegraph ran an article suggesting that roughly one-third of the UK population would be "suspicious" of a female electrician, and countless tradeswomen have shared their stories of the sexist remarks that come their way . Here's one example from Hattie Hassan, founder of Stopcocks Women Plumbers (originally reported on Sky News in 2014):

"Someone sent me an email saying, 'Look, love...plain and simple, women can't be plumbers. You'll break a fingernail and have to go out shopping to console yourself. Or you'll go running screaming when you see a spider.'"

Clearly, these sort of attitudes aren't helping anybody - it's easy to see why a budding female plumber or gas engineer might be put off. For this reason, we also need to do work harder to encourage women to join these trades in the first place, and that responsibility, at least to some extent, falls to training providers like us. The promotional materials distributed by construction/trade training centres are often targeted specifically at male learners, but this approach benefits nobody - after all, it's in the training provider's interest to attract as many new students as possible, regardless of gender.

Here at Access Training, we try to make people of all genders/races/backgrounds feel welcome at our training centres. We realise that we could still be doing more - for example, most of the photos currently on our website are of men, not women. But the sad fact of the matter is that, right now, most of the people who enquire about our courses are male, and while we are keen to do whatever we can to get more women working in the trade and construction industries, it seems that this goal will be extremely difficult to achieve until people - namely the people who are "suspicious" of female electricians, the people who tell women they "can't be plumbers", and anyone else who continues to perpetuate the false notion that women aren't cut out for these jobs - adopt a more positive, welcoming attitude towards people who, at the end of the day, are just as capable of mastering these skills as any man.

Trade training courses from Access Training:

One of the great advantages that comes from training as a plumber, is the flexibility and availability of the work on offer, a benefit that has been enjoyed by many of the individuals who have previously completed our range of plumbing courses. If you're considering a career in plumbing, or if you're thinking about leaving your current job for a new profession, you'll want to gain a thorough understanding of the options available to you before you commit to a training path. To help you gain an understanding of the level of training we offer, we've included some testimonials from our previous students, which highlight the opportunities they have managed to secure since completing their training with us:

My plumbing business is going from strength to strength. I've had a dramatic change in fortune since leaving the Post Office! 
Lee Taylor 

As you can see from the statement above, it is possible to begin your career as a plumber from a completely unrelated starting point, which means that there is no call for previous experience before starting the course. It also gives you the chance to work in an industry with countless opportunities to work on a self-employed basis, as well as to start your own business. This goes to show that our training courses do not simply take you from one job to another, but are able to completely transform your work life for the better.

I had no previous experience of plumbing before, but the course simulates real life situations and the tutors are so helpful that I feel totally confident in my work. Being a self employed plumber is the best job I've ever done.
Steven Walker 

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages that comes from completing our courses, is the style and quality of the teaching on offer, which allows you to gain industry required qualifications as well a thorough understanding of the practical requirements of the job. As Stephen notes, the guidance he received whilst completing his course allowed him to have total confidence in his abilities when he went on to peruse his professional career, so much so that he was eventually able to start his own business:

I simply wouldn't have been able to start my business without Access Training. I can't praise the company enough, my plumbing business is growing, it's been going for 18 months now and I've employed two people from Access Training who did the same course as me!
Steven Walker 

Stephen's second statement also highlights another advantage of completing our courses, which is the fact that it allows you to make useful contacts in your fellow candidates. Whether you go on to seek employment with an existing company or with a view to starting your own business, it is always incredibly useful to have trustworthy contacts who can help you find employment, and support you on the road to success.

To read more testimonials from our plumbing courses, or one of the many other areas we cover here at Access Training, click here.
If you're thinking of putting your time and effort into completing a training course, you'll want to do some through research before you begin, to make sure that your investment is worthwhile. Before committing to a new career, it's important that you consider whether or not the industry is right for you, by looking into the hours you could be expected to work, job availability, and of course, the financial aspects.
 
Last week, we wrote a piece about electricians being happy workers, but what about their earnings? Well, if you're considering becoming an electrician, you'll be pleased to find out that they are, on average, the highest paid of all tradespeople in the UK. In fact, in 2015 the average wage of an electrician rose to over £30k, making it the fastest growing pay-increase of any trade. Even newly qualified electricians can expect to earn £20k as a starting salary, making it an extremely attractive prospect for those looking to start out in the industry. 
 
If you're thinking of becoming an Electrician, here are a few encouraging facts about the progress routes and earning opportunities presented by the trade:

You Have The Opportunity To Be Your Own Boss

Once you've completed your training and gained enough experience in the industry, there are a wealth of opportunities to go it alone and become your own boss, particularly if you've built a strong relationship with your customers. Electricians who are self employed tend to earn much more than those employed by others, although it's important to consider the costs that go with this, such as tool hire and insurance.

The More You Learn, The More You Earn

One of the main advantages of becoming an electrician, is that you will be able to improve your salary by adding new skills to your portfolio. Once you've completed your training or have been in the profession for a few years, it's worth your while to train in new areas so that you can complete a wider range of work. Gaining advanced inspection and testing skills can prove to be a huge advantage in this trade, and can even allow you to move up another pay grade. Qualifications like The City and Guilds 2394 and 2395, which we offer here at Access Training, can make a huge difference to your range of opportunities and your value as a skilled tradesperson, allowing you to take your career to the next level. After this, you could also move on to a more advanced course such as the 2396 Electrical Design Course, which allows you to become qualified in the planning aspects of electrical installation, making you a suitable candidate for management roles in the future.

Flexible Pay Options 

Unlike certain professions, a career as an electrician offers a diverse range of pay options, from hourly/daily rates to opportunities for overtime. Hourly rates for an experienced electrician can range between £25 to £50, although it is often the case that a domestic installer will charge for work per day, with electricians usually earning between £200 and £300, with obvious increases in more prosperous areas. Due to the nature of the work, it's also common for projects to extend past their predicted lifespan, which means that opportunities for overtime should be available if you desire. Although the JIB discourages systematic overtime, it does not place restrictions in the case of breakdown and urgent repairs, providing you with opportunities to take on extra work as and when you want it.
 
To explore our full range of electrician courses and pave your way to a new, prosperous career, click here.
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Since the 2015 General Election, Britain has seen many changes in the way that the UK is run, and this year is no different. Yes, we are talking about the hot topic of the moment – the EU Referendum.

The EU referendum has turned in a rather controversial issue, with people from every industry having their say on whether Britain should stay or leave. This is because an EU exit will have profound effects on how Britain will conduct future business – especially in the construction industry. Reassuringly, a survey conducted by Smith and Williamson found that only 15% of construction company executives favoured leaving the European Union.

One of the major issues that leaving the EU would present to the construction industry concerns access to labour. Presently, the UK is experiencing a huge skills shortage across the construction industry, which means that we are relying heavily on foreign workers to come over and help fill the gap.

One of the fundamental values of the EU is free movement, which makes immigration around EU counties relatively easy and stress-free. If Britain exits the EU then emigration into the UK will become more difficult, discouraging skilled workers from entering the country and focusing on countries still within the EU.  On a positive note, there will be more jobs within the construction industry, but fewer people to fill them.

The EU is a trading union, which has helped break down barriers that make it difficult for companies to do business and invest in each other’s businesses. With the threat of a Brexit looming, multimillion-pound manufacturing giants have already expressed concerns about investing in an independent UK. One of the biggest advantages to being in the EU is that we are granted free trade between member nations. This makes it easier and cheaper for British companies to export their goods and - more importantly for the construction industry - building materials.

Even though the vast majority of construction companies are currently in favour of staying in the EU, it is important to look at the counter arguments of the 15% minority. For instance, the chairman of JCB plans to vote in favour of a Brexit because it “could cut the costs of bureaucracy so much that any additional costs of leaving the EU would be easily covered”. He also disagrees with the claims that it will make trade more difficult with other EU countries because “it is in everyone’s interests to trade openly and freely.”

It is hard to predict what knock-on effect a Brexit will have on the UK’s construction industry because no country has ever left the EU before. Over the coming months we are going to hear a lot of arguments to stay or leave, and possibly a lot of contradictory information about what will happen if we do decide to exit. At the end of the day, it is up to us as individuals to come to an educated decision as to whether we think it will be beneficial for the UK to stay or leave.

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According to the latest figures, the UK's construction workforce has shrunk by 12.9% since 2008. This is particularly strange due to the abundance of work currently available to contractors, which would suggest that the industry in busier than ever, with workers often having to turn down work because they already have an existing contract or promise of work with another employer. In spite of the surge in demand, however, the amount of workers in the industry fell dramatically last year, with 16,000 less people in the profession between 2014 and 2015.

Industry experts have put this dramatic fall in numbers down to a shirking talent pool, with people previously trained in the profession either retiring, in work, or having moved to other industries during a low period of work after the recession in 2009. Since the recovery in 2012 and 2013, those who remained in the profession managed to regain regular employment straight away, but they were not joined by a high number of new or returning workers. This means that firms can no longer rely on a once-abundant pool of talent to recruit from, which prevents them from expanding and in turn, presents a barrier for overall industry growth.

What the construction industry now needs is an surge of new talent from young people entering the industry, as well as those from a non-construction background who have decided to change their career. Before expansion and increased job security is possible, there must be enough skilled tradespeople to meet the demands of the industry, and to ensure a high calibre work force. At Access Training, we've helped countless individuals to gain the skills so desperately needed in the industry, allowing them to access a new and fruitful career path. From total beginners to ex service men and women, we have helped a diverse pool of candidates to reach their full potential and begin a successful career in construction.

Some of the courses we offer include:
and more!

Explore the rest of our site to see our full range of courses and lay the foundations for your future, as well that of the UK construction industry. For more information about our courses, get in touch with us today!


It has been reported that unemployment in the UK has been steadily decreasing over the last few years, but looking closely at the numbers, in the UK there is currently around 1.71 million people who are unemployed, get the skilled trades industry needs at least 35,000 entrants to stand still.

With enough unemployed people to help close the trade skills gap - why are people not considering a career as an electrician, plumber, or gas engineer? We believe that there is a distinct lack of information provided by schools about the qualifications needed and the career opportunities available for young people within skilled trade industries.

Mark Beard, chief executive of regional contractor Beard, believes that “only a few young people see construction as a viable, well paid or exciting industry to work in because careers information at school is generally inadequate and out-dated”

The industry must also build better relationships with careers advisor's and teachers, said Beard, as well as ensuring that they have high-quality information and materials that provide accurate and informed advice.

He added: “By stepping into the classroom and sharing insights about apprenticeships, work placements and our own career paths, we can help young people make informed choices. We can also advise them on the skill-sets and qualifications they’ll need to succeed in the digital construction world of the future.”

In general we agree with the point raised by Mark Beard. If construction companies and trade industry experts took the time to deliver career talks or engaging educational days to children, we could motivate more people to aspire to become a plumber or an electrician.

Firstly, It is important that we work to dispel the myths about trade jobs. Many people still see trades jobs and low paid, unimportant, and physically demanding jobs which are more suited to men than women, which is simply not the case. By dispelling these myths from a young age, we may find that more women aspire to become a trades-woman.   We need to start communicating to young people that learning a skilled trade is an important, exciting job, and there will always be plenty of well-paid, work available.

Secondly, we believe there is a lack of assistance for school leavers who wish to embark on a trade career instead of going to university. In many schools, the focus for many students is to carry on their education through 6th form or college and onto university. As we know, university doesn't appeal to everyone, and the pressure to go to university that some school apply on their students, may leave many people feeling alienated and questioning what careers paths they can embark on instead of going onto further education. To help educate students about careers in trade, industry experts should be working closely with schools and colleges. Helping to open the discussion about trade jobs and providing up to date information on the qualifications needed to become a skilled trades person will help educate and inspire people from a young age.

UK companies need to become more engaged with the younger generation, and need to inform children about the importance to skilled trades, and the need for individuals with a specialist skill set and the type of career they can have. For many students, not having an extortionate amount of debt over their heads upon completion of their education could be very appealing!


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