In September, the number of job vacancies for skilled tradespeople was above 40,000 for the first time since records began. Construction firms are now experiencing a large absence of available qualified tradespeople to fill positions. Battling material shortages and delays, as well as a dwindling workforce, firms are putting out the call for more skilled workers to carry out the rising demand for construction work. But despite rising salaries, higher rates, and plenty of work opportunities, it’s still a difficult feat to meet their needs. In the first week of November, 221,000 adverts were posted across all sectors, taking the number of advertised roles up to a record high of 2.68 million, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, which tracks the number of job vacancy adverts.
With vacancies already at a notable high, Ian Anfield, the managing director of payroll firm Hudson Contract, suggests that the numbers are going to continue to rise. Although the end of lockdown support schemes helped get a number of people back into work, ‘there is still stiff competition for skilled labour and plenty of work for those who want it’,
If the strain on the trade workforce has shown any positives, it has highlighted the opportunities available to people looking to join the sector. The industry needs more workers, and, once qualified, the job possibilities are there waiting for you. To get involved, get working, and get earning, call Access Training today.
The price cap around energy is increasing by 54% in April this year. As such, many consumers are concerned that their energy bills are about to increase significantly – it’s believed that that bills will soar to more than £2000 a year for the average consumer. Research has shown that nearly nine in ten (89%) people think it is important that the government acts to combat the rise in energy bills, with 91% feeling that the government should be introducing new support schemes for consumers if the price cap increases again in October. Our professionals have some top tips to save on electricity consumption, and battle the rise in living costs.
- Smart Meters: installing smart meters in your home can be a great way of monitoring your spending each month. It is estimated that homes with smart meters could save up to 49% on their annual energy bills.
- Energy Efficient Appliances: When purchasing new appliances, it’s always worth checking the energy efficiency rating. The ratings span from A down to G, and labels will even tell you the energy consumption of the appliance to allow accurate comparisons. Transitioning from a 100 Watt bulb to a 10 Watt not only helps the environment, but can have a massive impact on your electricity consumption when implemented throughout a home.
- Turn Your Appliances Off: The desire to have tech at our fingertips has meant that it has become common to leave appliances on standby. However, every appliance left on standby continues to use energy when not in use, the average UK home wastes £55 a year on appliances left on standby. Smart plugs can be a great way to cut energy costs for appliances typically left on standby and can save you £86 per year.
- Turning unused lights off: walking out of a room and leaving the light on is a classic way we all waste energy. Passive Infrared sensors do the work for you, turning lights on and off based on motion detected within a space. These can save up to 50% on a home’s lighting energy costs.
- Renewable Energy: In the long term, there are of course more drastic solutions to the price increases. Renewable energy, although daunting to some, can be worth the while when you factor in the overall savings and impact on the environment. The recent announcement of cutting the 5% VAT from April for homeowners with solar panels, heat pumps and insulation installed means that the next 5 years are the optimal time to invest in the switch to renewable energy within the home.
Although we can’t avoid the rise in energy costs, hope is not lost. There are options out there for the average homeowner to maintain a manageable monthly spend and, incidentally, make positive contributions to the battle against climate change.
The Lifetime Skills Guarantee is an initiative by the Government to fund qualifications in sectors such as engineering, construction and social care to any adult who has not already achieved a qualification at Level 3. There have been consistent warnings about the government’s approach to the Lifetime Skills Guarantee from politicians across the political divide while the bill was passing through the House of Commons.
The current offering falls short in three major areas, accessibility, affordability, and sustainability. The Government needs to provide clearer criteria and a broader selection of qualifications for people looking to begin a career in the industry. By voting against amendments to strengthen the Bill, it is clear that encouraging the trade sector is not currently a priority. We need more support for potential students to find out exactly what qualifications they need and how to use them to build a career. Although the lifetime skills initiative provides funding for level 3 qualifications, students still need options for funding their level 1 and 2. Initiatives such as Access' Earn While You Learn, coupled with the prolonged career support offering, provide students with realistic means to create a sustainable career in the industry.
During the lockdowns in 2020-2021, the Government's priorities became clearer than ever as they selected the sectors worthy of the term "essential workers". Despite trade acting as a lynchpin to keep the UK economy running throughout this time, tradespeople were given no recognition of their utility. The fallout from this is still being felt across the sector. There is no need to predict the consequences of a lack of action as these consequences are already a reality. A dwindling workforce in trade impacts the infrastructure, facilities, and utilities available to everyone - including the Government itself - for new projects. This, in turn, impacts company productivity and creates a drop in service which would hit the already fragile economic environment. Despite having vowed to help the country "Build Back Better", the Government seems to have forgotten that you can't build anything without a well grounded workforce of tradespeople.
On 8th April, we hosted our Access Training Open Day showcasing our Edenbridge centre with affiliates offering recruitment opportunities and demonstrating new tools. Current students were invited to come along and meet with businesses such as Dyno Plumbing to interview for industry roles and to discuss self employment opportunities with our associates Rezigo and Sort It. Our Earn While You Learn initiative, in partnership with our companies such as CitySite, provides potential students with the ability to get into employment before gaining their qualifications.
Many visitors took advantage of CitySite’s attendance, combining talks on our Earn While You Learn initiative with walkaround tours from our Course Advisors to ensure that they chose the best suited training and employment programme. Products were displayed from providers such as Anton by Crowcon, ViperGas, Condensate Pro, CK Tools, Nerrad, and Uponor. These providers, spanning across all trades, highlighted the importance of starting your career with the right kit, as well as providing explanations on what you need to be successful in the industry.
Our next Open Day on the 6th May is a great opportunity for aspiring Gas Engineers and Electricians to visit the centre and speak to industry professionals about potential career paths. Get in touch today to find out more