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?

DIY disasters

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.

 

Self-employed tradespeople

 

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.

 

Education vs money

 

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. 

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