I am a strong believer that no one should be stereotyped into specific roles and this includes the perception of men on the construction site’ – Jwerea Malik, operations manager at Balfour Beatty, and co-chair of the group’s Gender Equality Affinity Network.

 

After we spoke to our plumbing student, Leah Carney, and hearing her inspiring story, we’ve been determined to continue the dialogue surrounding women in the construction industry. 

Leah is an ambitious and driven individual: a designer who had taken to delivery driving for extra money, and then decided to train as a plumber at the outset of the pandemic. She is already qualified as a plumber, gaining new electrical qualifications, and setting up her own business. 

But Leah is just one of thousands of similarly hard-working people around the country who have made the construction industry their home and future. Over the pandemic, the construction industry has seemed to appeal to hard-working and skilled women, as a refuge from redundancy and an opportunity for a fulfilling career. According to Lianne Lawson, a construction manager who has been in the industry for 14 years:

 

The pandemic has taught all of us how quickly we can evolve and adapt to new ways of working, and I think the mindset for everyone has changed. [...] Having to work from home in many cases has opened the industry up to the possibility of more flexible working conditions.

 

It goes without saying that the construction industry should accommodate everybody who has a desire to work within it; and perhaps one inadvertent result of the pandemic is that this has happened. 

For decades, the construction industry has been perceived as a male-dominated industry. But hearing the stories of women in construction, we learn that the last decade or two has resulted in greater accessibility to footholds and successful careers for thousands of women across the UK. Since then, it has been exciting to witness the brilliant and essential contributions that women have made to the trade industry, only further demonstrating that there absolutely is a much-needed place for them within the sector.

 

When i joined the industry 10 years ago as a graduate engineer, I was, more often than not, the only woman in the room. I felt the pressure to be seen as a peer to my male colleagues. – Malik

 

Jwerea Malik also notes how, from being the only woman on a project, the industry has now developed to seeing 23% of new starters in construction being women. It’s refreshing to consider how far the construction industry has come in recent times, and these stories of success are a testimony to the freedoms and attitudes of today. 

But as important as it is to acknowledge and celebrate how far we’ve come in the construction industry, there is obviously further we can go in ensuring that everybody feels welcome, and to encourage everybody to contribute in a fast-growing and multi-faceted industry. Considering the skills shortages of today’s construction sector, and the huge demand for work, it only makes sense for the prosperity of the industry itself that we look for strong, skilled tradespeople from all aspects of society. 

 

I was considered a bit of a novelty, noticed more for my differences than the engineering skills and expertise we had in common. I felt I had to prove myself, not just in terms of delivering my work to the best of my ability, but to be seen as an equal to my teammates. The rarity of a woman on a construction site 10 years ago meant inclusion wasn’t second nature. – Malik

 

What’s more, it goes without saying that a successful business is an inclusive business. Those leaders of the trade who represent all aspects of society are those with a greater customer base, a broader image, and who ultimately thrive in a competitive market. It suits everybody to make sure that construction is not a career for the men only – frankly, why limit ourselves?

 

I think it was my own perception that I couldn’t do it, so I was trying to break that mentality, which the people around me helped to do’ – Lianne Lawson.

 

 

Success in the construction industry is all about ability, and should never be about any aspect of your gender and background. If you have an interest in joining the construction community, don’t hesitate; from an outsider perspective, it might look like a male-dominated environment, but as you can see, things are changing. It just takes some bravery, self-belief, and knowledge that you are judged on your ability and willingness to work, over any other factors.

Women in construction are no longer a novelty; they are essential to the industry’s future. Why not be a part of this future, and join women like Leah, Lianne, and Jwerea? It takes one call to Access Training to get your career on track.


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

 

 

 

‘There’s an already-growing squeeze on unskilled workers; what we’ve seen is labour rates already creeping up, particular labourers, because we’re finding it harder to find eastern European workers’ – Darin Burrows, director of recruitment agency City Sites.

 

 

Industry experts are predicting 2021 to be a fruitful and financially rewarding year for construction workers, as demand for skilled tradespeople increases rapidly

If there was ever a good time to cash in on the lifeboat that is the construction industry, then this is the year to do so. Experts and industry leaders have predicted that a 10% rise in cost for labourers and skilled tradespeople is on the way for in 2021. 

That’s right. Tradespeople are effectively being awarded a 10% pay rise. And it’s highly deserved, of course; over the last year, construction workers have been among the often unsung heroes of our communities, keeping the economy and the country afloat, giving it a much-needed boost and providing essential services.

But how has this good fortune come about, and what will it mean for those working within the industry? 

 

The primary reason for this positive development for tradespeople, is that since the onset of Covid, demand for tradespeople has increased massively. But this higher demand has collided with a significant decrease in the number of workers from Europe. The Office for National Statistics has shown that, in the aftermath of Brexit, 25% of the UK’s EU-born construction workforce left the industry between September 2019 and September 2020. 

This has left a gaping hole in a workforce already struggling to cope with an enormous workload and project demand; EU nationals previously made up as much as 80% of the labour workforce for recruitment agencies such as Darin Burrows’s City Sites, and such a large decrease means that the UK is desperate for more construction workers

Major towns and cities in the UK have been hit particularly hard by this shortage; contractors in London and Birmingham, such as the London-based contractor Golden Houses, have had to bring in workers from out of town in a desperate scramble to meet labour demands, from areas further afield such as Leicester and Nottingham.

But this is, of course, very good news for construction workers and those looking to get into the trade industry. And why? Because the skills and services you can offer are now in far more limited supply, and so are valued much higher. That is, you’ll be getting paid more than you would have before – a whopping 10% more. 

This means that the UK’s construction workforce will have far more control, freedom, and success in their work; they have more power to set their rates, another reason why the construction industry is incredibly appealing for employment and working opportunities. 

 

The construction industry’s remarkable performance in the post-Covid world has been widely commented upon, as it has continued to employ thousands of people across the country, and in many respects carry on as normal. In fact, the construction industry was one of two UK industries to report a higher number of job vacancies compared to the same in 2019. 

And now, not only has the construction industry recovered from the initial blow of Covid’s initial months with more job vacancies, but it has provided its workers with this much needed financial boost. It has given thousands of people the rare security of well-paid, guaranteed work. And the importance of this cannot go unstressed: in times like these, the construction industry is completely invaluable to those who need the stability of a long-term career

We can make you that promise: that qualifying as a tradesperson will keep you busy and earning for years to come. Access Training can make sure that you benefit from this increase in rates; Access Training can give you a long-lasting and fulfilling career, with lifelong skills; Access Training can get you where you want to be in your career. All it takes is a call.

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen. 

 

The construction industry stands ready to start creating the thousands of new homes the country needs, and building the hundreds of modern schools and colleges in which our children can be equipped with the skills they’ll need to succeed in a post-pandemic economy’ – Steeve Beechy, Wates public sector director

 

We are entering an exciting, productive, and affluent time for the construction industry. It’s continually surprising, given the circumstances, that the construction sector is experiencing what many are already calling a ‘boom’ which is seeing levels of productivity reach and surpass pre-pandemic levels. 

In November, the value of all construction work put together reached an incredible £14.01 billion, only a hair’s breadth from last year’s peak of £14.05 billion in January 2020, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Growth in the industry, led by the infrastructure sector, jumped by a massive 10% in October.

 

Growth has extended to a seven-month streak and total construction output has powered back past its pre-pandemic level for the first time.’ – Gareth Belsham, Director of Property Consultancy Naismiths.

 

Also in November, we saw the infrastructure sector earn a whopping £2 billion worth of work, the highest amount on record for the infrastructure market. Despite the UK economy shrinking by 2.6% overall in November, the construction industry entered its sixth consecutive month of growth since April, and this continued into December. If anything will get the country out of an economic slump, it’s the construction industry, and construction workers – and that could mean you too. 

What’s most promising about these developments, is that the upward trend of growth is so consistent, so solid. December was a similarly positive month of growth for construction work, which is evidence of increasing long-term demand for construction workers. Predictions are being made that the construction industry could very well be a massive help in helping the country out of a dark economic hole. 

In accordance with the government’s announcement of massive long-term financial investment into the construction industry, it’s looking likely that, whatever happens, the next five years will be a prosperous one for those working within trade. Prepare for the construction industry to ‘level-up’, as the government plans to spend the following: 

 

  • £27.5 billion on English roads until 2025

  • £7.1 billion on a National Home Building Fund

  • £23 billion extra funding for HS2 until 2025

  • £4 billion for a ‘levelling-up’ fund, allowing areas to bid for up to £20 billion to directly fund local projects.

 

This adds up to an eye-watering £61.6 billion pounds of investment, at the very least. If that’s not a sign of how great a priority this industry is for our future development as a country, then I don’t know what is.

The construction industry has been able to perform incredibly well in relation to other sectors in the UK, thanks to an abundance of work, and sanctions from the government which allowed construction work to continue under lockdown. 

It has provided work for thousands, crucially important services for tens of thousands, and a solid future of employment and stability for even more. It is yours to join, to contribute to, to be a part of – all you have to do is become qualified and start looking in the right places. We can give you all of this – just give us a call.

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

 

 

2020 was a year of unprecedented ups and downs. Life presented us with more challenges than ever, and people across the world had to adapt to many new obstacles. But one thing didn’t change: we still needed to call the plumber. 

A new survey conducted by Rated People and Vanarama asked 1000 people questions relating to their reliance on tradespeople over the past year, to find out the kind of impact that lockdowns and restrictions had on our tendency to call out a tradesperson. As it turns out, not a big impact at all.

On the contrary, the survey revealed that 64% of those questioned called on a tradesperson at some point in 2020. Of all the tradespeople that were called out to homes last year, plumbers were in highest demand, with 23% of all calls being made for plumbing-related issues. In second place were the electricians, with 11% of all calls made for them. 

 

"Lockdowns have not diminished peoples reliance on the service of tradespeople"

 

One glimpse of how much people spent on tradespeople in 2020 is enough to confirm the notion that tradespeople are still able to rake it in, despite the threat of lockdowns and restrictions. 20% of respondents to the survey said that they’d spent over £1000 on tradespeople in 2020. And to top that, 10% said that they’d spent over £5000! 

The highest proportion of costs reflected how most tradespeople thrived off a number of lower-paid odd jobs and quick fixes, as over 50% of people spent between £10-100 on domestic trade work. But keeping busy is the key factor to success as a tradespeople, and any opportunity to produce high-quality work, and to make a customer happy, is an opportunity to secure even more work. And this fact is particularly worth remembering: the survey also said that a whopping 70% of customers choose their tradespeople not according to how much they charge, but rely instead upon positive word of mouth.

Another important revelation that this survey has brought up, is that lockdowns did not diminish people’s reliance upon the services of tradespeople. In fact, it could be argued that they even increased people’s likelihood of calling out for a tradesperson, as 54% stated that more time spent in the house under lockdown meant that they noticed more issues that needed fixing. That’s right: lockdowns actually increased the chances of people getting the plumber in. 

 

"Working in the construction industry is a safe bet for guaranteed work, no matter what future pandemics throw at us. People will always need their boilers fixed, their homes powered, and their lives moving forward. Tradespeople play a massive role in making sure that this happens."

 

Not only that, but more time spent at home meant that people had the time to attempt fixing things themselves. Of course, untrained hands are going to make mistakes, and there’s a reason why becoming a qualified tradesperson takes training and commitment. 20% of respondents admitted that they were forced to call out a tradesperson to fix a DIY issue that they’d caused themselves. It just goes to show – we need tradespeople more than we think. 

The most uplifting statistic produced by this survey for those working in the construction industry, was that 68% of respondents felt comfortable having tradespeople enter their homes, even during lockdowns. It’s testimony to the fact that tradespeople undergo incredibly important work, and without them, people would be living in discomfort, or even in danger. Without power, energy, heating, particularly at a time in which our homes become our constant places of refuge, where would any of us be? 

This pandemic has shown us how truly indebted we are to our tradespeople, and how they continue to be in high demand. Working in the construction industry is a safe bet for guaranteed work, no matter what future pandemics throw at us. People will always need their boilers fixed, their homes powered, and their lives moving forward. Tradespeople play a massive role in making sure that this happens. 

Access Training can give you that certainty: a future of fulfilling work, security, and professional purpose.

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

 

 

With the arrival of a new year comes the beginning of a new era; a chance to reflect on what has been, and speculate on what is to come. 

We can now see with some clarity how the construction industry fared under two lockdowns, heavy restrictions, and an unprecedented global crisis. Most importantly, we can see where it might be heading next. And judging by the promising words of industry leaders and new statistics, it did pretty well considering the circumstances.

The take-home message is that 2021 will be a year of ‘gradual and sustained recovery’ for the construction industry, according to industry experts. And this growth is not limited to 2021, but at least to the next two years beyond that. In other words, the next three years will be a time of high productivity, high employment, and general positivity for the construction industry. But how did construction get so lucky?

The critical factor undoubtedly lies in the ability of construction workers, industry leaders, and organisations, to open up their sites quicker than expected when restrictions were loosened in the summer of 2020. By the time the second lockdown came about in November, it became clear that the construction industry did not need to shut down entirely. Sites could still operate safely, following social distancing measures, and so Boris Johnson officially gave permission for sites to remain open under a lockdown.

But things could have been so different. In the second quarter of 2020, following the pandemic, construction productivity fell by 36%. We avoided a full construction closure only because the industry is so important to the country’s economy; in 2016 it accounted for 9% of the entire economy, adding £138 billion to its value. We just can’t do without it.

And that’s why industry leaders are fighting to ensure that, even in such dire circumstances as we still face at the beginning of 2021, the construction industry remains open and functioning. So much depends upon it, that the new Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, wrote an open letter to make the case for the construction industry remaining open again: 

 

‘It is vital that construction continues through these unsettling times, and I want to reassure you that the government values the crucial contribution your sector is making. [...] I want to make it clear that where it is essential to travel or to stay in accommodation, whether to get to work or for the purposes of carrying out your work, those in the [construction] industry are able to do so’.

 

This ringing endorsement of the construction industry just goes to show that, if the prospect of becoming an electrician, gas engineer, carpenter, plumber, or any role within construction appeals to you – then you will have the government’s support and the freedom to work at a time when thousands of people are out of a job

The proof is truly in the numbers. A survey conducted by the CHAS found that 56% of construction businesses they questioned have all their staff now back in work, and of the 44% that don’t, 43% said staff are on furlough. 

The security of construction jobs comes as no surprise when you look at the industry’s performance in the second half of 2020. Output grew by 41.7% in September, the biggest quarterly growth since records began in 1997. Work on new housing grew by 88.7%, driven by a 102.9% growth in public housing. Private housing and infrastructure grew above their pre-pandemic levels in February 2020. 

It’s mouth-watering stuff for those in the industry, and should be highly appealing for those outside it who are looking for job security. Now is your chance to get your foot in the door of construction and give yourself a career. If your job is looking increasingly like a lost cause, stopping and starting when rules allow, with redundancy a likely exit, then look no further. 

You can become anything you set your sights to, with a call and some commitment. We can take it from there.

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

 

 

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