Anybody who’s lost their job, been made redundant. My advice is don’t be afraid. With hard work, preparation and the right training, you can do anything you want’ – Jimmy, Gas Trainer

 

It’s no secret that the construction industry is in great need of skilled workers. For the last few years, it has suffered from a serious skills shortage, making proposed construction projects harder and harder to achieve. 

Declining numbers of new workers entering the industry, an ageing workforce, and Brexit meaning overseas workers are more difficult to source. Demand for workers is currently at its highest level since December 2015, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The number of people entering the plumbing and heating industry, for example, declined by 4.19% over the last 16 years, from 157,400 to 150,800. If these general trends continue, where will we be in, say, five, ten, twenty, years? 

If there’s one thing the last year has taught us, it’s that the construction industry is of utmost importance to our daily lives. The public rely on construction workers to ensure basic living standards are met; they heat our homes, safely install gas appliances, and provide us with electricity. With people stuck in doors for the majority of the last year for obvious reasons, home comforts and safety have never been more important. And, it’s worth noting, demand for construction workers has never been higher.

 

‘Infrastructure is always going to need maintaining and installing. That’s why I chose a career in trades. I want my future to be safe’ – Leah, student.

 

So why is the construction industry continually struggling with the numbers of its workforce? It is a modern, vibrant industry, developing new technologies, innovative projects, and securing the next generation of infrastructure for our country. It is building hundreds of thousands of homes, hospitals, schools, and massive jobs such as HS2. These things will last multiple generations, and will transform the UK as we know it. 

The prospect of joining such a workforce ought to be seen as inspiring, and young professionals ought to be joining the industry in droves. But this message is being lost in translation, perhaps burdened by an older perception of the construction industry as a labour-intensive, male-only industry, where work is monotonous and limited. The reality couldn’t be more different: there are an incalculable amount of roles within construction, providing varied, fulfilling work for a whole range of different people, of all backgrounds and genders. This is the positive, refreshing message which needs shouting from the rooftops.

Covid-19 has threatened the livelihoods of millions of people across the country. Countless sectors have been affected, with redundancies and risk of job loss at a concerningly high level. But one industry that remained relatively secure was, you guessed it, the construction industry. Not only did wages remain stable, but they actually rose as work demand increased, with over £1000 a week a common salary for busy tradespeople. Hudson Contract, the industry’s biggest payer of subcontractors, raised their workers’ salaries by 5.6% in October, which was also the fourth consecutive month where wages went up. 

The pandemic meant that thousands of people were forced to rethink their careers. The decisions they often made resulted in them leaving their jobs, which were under threat of being lost, or had actually been lost. Career change for many seemed like an enormous undertaking – a huge upheaval which would require massive change, resources, and time. 

And indeed, the general feeling among working people is that they are unprepared for a change of career. According to a City and Guilds report, just over half (54%) of businesses have stated that they can recruit the skilled individuals they need. Most concerningly, 61% of working age adults do not feel equipped with the skills they need to unlock new opportunities for the next five years of their professional lives. 

And worse yet, 30% (the equivalent of 11 million people) have not received formal workplace training in the last five years. The answer, then, is that the workplace should integrate a continual system of training, to instill a sense of progress, ambition, and personal drive, which would account for far more people fulfilling their full professional potential. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Access Training prides itself on aiding people to make successful career changes – we’ve been doing it for a lot longer than Covid has been around. Our tutors are experts in preparing students not only to sit and pass exams, but to enjoy long-term careers. We offer fast-track, flexible training, which you can fit around your busy life. 

More importantly, we have developed a training structure which means that people from all walks of life, all levels of experience, can begin afresh, or build on skills they already have. During the pandemic, people from all different career backgrounds enrolled on a course with us. Whether they were from the hospitality or entertainment industries, teachers, pilots, chefs, taxi drivers, or even lawyers – they came to us for additional skills, to make themselves more employable, more financially independent and secure. 

They came to us to invest in their futures, not just to make sure that they could get by from day to day, but because they identified the construction industry as an industry in which sustainable, fulfilling employment was consistent and easy to find, providing you put the work in. 

 

‘The Fast Track training made this change of career an actual option for me and the others in my class. The tutors are there for you 24 hours a day to help. They feel more like mentors now’ – Michael, Student

 

And that’s why Access Training’s 3 Stage Training Programme is so effective. It doesn’t assume any prior knowledge, and it welcomes people whose backgrounds are not in construction. They are designed with this in mind. Not only does it guide you through the qualifications and learning, but it also ensures that you aren’t left alone once you finish your course. You leave Access Training prepared for employment, with continued guidance on how to find work, or how to set up your own business. 

Because we understand how crucial it is that aspiring tradespeople supply the country with their services and their skills. We understand that, if you have the capacity to learn, the motivation to work, then you can do anything. And we want more than anything for our students to thrive in the industry. 

So how does our 3 Stage Training Programme work? 

 

Stage 1 – Live Online Learning

Access Training Online is a tailored learning portal that allows you unlimited learning for 3 years from the comfort of your own home – repeat and use any part as many times as you like. This includes scheduled live tuition, tutor Q&As, lessons, tests, and much more. This is the perfect preparation for the next step of your course.

 

Stage 2 – Practical Training

Next you attend a training centre for the practical training part of your course. This hands-on, fast-track tuition is entirely flexible with you having the power to attend when you’re ready, equipping you with the skills and knowledge needed for professional qualifications.

 

Stage 3 – Career & Employment Support

From Day 1 we will provide you with a dedicated Career Support Officer who can give expert guidance and advice on all matters related to your exciting new career. Build your CV with us and find out about the potential job/placement opportunities with our network of Corporate Partners.

 

Access Training is here to produce the next generation of tradespeople for the UK. If a career in construction is what you want, then there’s only one place to come. 


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

Here we are, in the first week of 2021, facing another national lockdown.

If there’s one thing that continuous lockdowns have done to us, it’s that it’s made us more aware than ever of the importance of our jobs and professions; how much we rely upon our work for the security of our future. Even the very language we use to describe our different occupations within society has changed: phrases like ‘front-line workers’, or ‘essential workers’, have made us reconsider what is ‘essential’, important, and most valued in our country. 

On top of this, different industries and sectors have faced different struggles; some have fared better than others, having been considered ‘essential’, or having the good fortune to be able to operate relatively unaffected by the pandemic. Some people have been better assured than others that their roles will still be around once the lockdown is over. It comes as no surprise, then, that an increasing number of people want to change their careers. Statistics released since August have shown that, with the country in and out of lockdown, many people are reconsidering their futures in their current roles, and are thinking about jumping ship.

It goes without saying that the one thing everybody wants during this time is what we might call ‘lockdown immunity’. That is, the ability to keep working, earning, and living as close to a normal life as possible, in absolute safety. To be professionals, to contribute a service to society. There are not many, if any, of these sorts of jobs around at the moment. But one place you will definitely find them is in the construction industry.

With Boris Johnson’s assurance in November that construction work is still possible under lockdown restrictions, this is a prime time to be working as a tradesman. Not only are people still able to become qualified, but they are able to go out and seek work, and complete that work. Construction companies are not only still opening their doors, but are actually improving on their 2019 performances. Take Barratt, for example, who ended 2020 with cash reserves of £1.11bn, up from £308.2mn in June the same year. They still managed to make a 9.2% increase on their house building rate in 2019. 

Would this have been possible if the construction industry was on its knees? If it was nonfunctional under a lockdown? Of course not. And the only response to that, from somebody desperate to get back to work, is surely a no-brainer. We have often stressed the importance of using lockdown time to your advantage; access online, virtual training courses to build your skillset and gain employment for when the time comes, and work opportunities restart. And one thing that recurring lockdowns have done is confirm that our advice was bang on.

Lockdowns, as is now very clear, are not going away any time soon. It is evident that the potential optimism brought upon us by the new year is now unfounded, as complications relating to new Covid strands arise, delayed vaccinations are likely, and case numbers soar. It’s safe to say that restrictions will remain with us for a while to come.

Despite Rishi Sunak’s continued promises of grants and further extensions of furlough, what you really need is security, stability, and assurance for what comes next. You need to be able to hit the ground running when normality returns, and not have to depend on government money. You want to ensure that there is a career waiting for you, an income to support you and your family, and some sense of freedom and security to rest upon. All of this meaning that you may need to start preparing yourself for a potential change of career.

Because if and when another lockdown potentially happens beyond this one, or if restrictions tighten up further on down the line, you don’t want to be left stranded and powerless. You want to be working, productive, still developing as a professional. You want to continue doing what you’re good at, do fulfilling work, and offer a valuable service. 

Access Training can and will give you this. It’s all in your hands – nobody will make the decision for you. All it takes is commitment, dedication, and a call.


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

The Covid-19 pandemic has threatened the jobs of millions of people across the UK. Since March, the UK has seen an unemployment crisis not seen in this country for decades, with 181,000 people having been made redundant, and counting. If recent forecasts have told us anything, it’s that the damage done to our economy as a result of the pandemic will be permanent. That we’re in it for the long haul.

The most up-to-date statistics, as given by the Office of National Statistics in September, puts the UK’s unemployment rate at 4.8%, having risen by 300,000 since last year. This indicates a current level of 1.62 million unemployed people. But predictions for the next year are much, much higher, with the number reaching 2.6 million by the middle of 2021. That accounts for 7.5% of the working population, a level of unemployment not seen since the aftermath of the financial crisis ten years ago. 

However, some predictions relating to the scale of UK unemployment are even higher. The Bank of England suggests that the unemployment rate will peak at around 7.7% between April-June 2021. And other sources predict that this percentage could even reach beyond 10%. Some factors, such as the government’s extension of furlough, might reduce these figures temporarily. But these varied predictions tell us one important thing: that although we know that times ahead will be tough, we simply don’t know just how bad things are going to get. Are we merely taming the inevitable storm which will, at some point, cause widespread and long-term unemployment? How can the working population of the UK possibly prepare for such a large-scale crisis?

Unfortunately, Rishi Sunak’s spending review in November gave us little cause for hope. In order to deal with the demands of the pandemic, the UK government has had to borrow £349bn – ‘the highest [amount] in peacetime history’, according to Sunak. He announces that the economy is expected to contract by 11.3% this year – ‘the largest fall in output for more than 300 years’, Sunak says. He does not expect to return to pre-Covid levels of economic growth until ‘the fourth quarter of 2022’. And, to top it all off, he describes the damage done to the economy as ‘lasting’.

It goes without saying that now, more than ever, we are all desperate to hear words of comfort, security and hope. And despite Mr. Sunak’s insistence that the government will ‘ensure nobody is left without hope’, hope is seeming increasingly difficult to find. With continuous reports of redundancies, thousands across the country are falling victim to what has repeatedly been described as the ‘Coronavirus jobs bloodbath’ of recent months. 

But our purpose is to offer just this: hope. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learnt during the months of the pandemic, it’s that our tutors, our students, and individuals and organisations across the construction industry, are highly resourceful, determined, and efficient workers. We have demonstrated our ability to keep operating, despite the restrictions of the pandemic, in a safe and efficient way; just notice how all construction work has been allowed to go ahead in the second wave of lockdowns and restrictions. 

Most importantly, though, there are many, many job opportunities available in the construction industry. Construction sites were among the first working environments to open in August, and construction sites have been allowed to remain open, even over lockdowns. Construction work is absolutely essential to the growth and recovery of the UK’s economy, not only in the months ahead, but in the years, decades to come. Hospitals, schools, roads, houses – all these things will continue to need building, rebuilding, repairing. Large infrastructural projects, like HS2, still need completing, and are all vital to our economy. 

And this is why we at Access Training have adapted our services as best we can, by creating an online portal to ensure that the theoretical aspects of our training can still be completed in spite of lockdowns, isolations, and anything a pandemic can throw at us. 

This is why we, and other independent companies across the UK, are taking the initiative and networking with other industry leaders to create a stronger job market, and supply the construction industry with the workforce it so desperately needs. 

This is why Access is dedicated to training the next generation of tradespeople in our centres; because we know that the opportunities are there for years to come. That having skilled, experienced tradespeople working in the UK, has never been more important.

The construction industry has been, and will continue to be, an absolutely essential element of the UK’s future development. Mr. Sunak’s hopes for economic recovery are highly dependent on a thriving construction industry.

The UK construction industry needs tradespeople – needs you – more than you can imagine. Take a leap of faith and join a fast growing industry, where you won’t have to find work – it will find you. 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

A controversial advertising campaign commissioned by the Government to encourage people to change career if they’re in danger of redundancy or at risk as furlough as about to come to an end, has been pulled following complaints abouts its content and the lockdown conditions changing once again. 

 

Social media reacted with fury after the adverts called for people employed within the arts and culture, struggling sectors to ‘Rethink, Reskill, Reboot’, with an emphasis on considering a career in ‘cyber’. The ‘Cyber First’ adverts featured 4 different people in different roles but primarily a ballerina named Fatima who is pictured tying up her ballet shoes next to the words, ‘ Fatima’s next job could be in cyber. (She just doesn't know it yet)

The reaction has been ‘negative’ to say the least, with many responding to the calls to ‘Rethink, Reskill, Reboot’, with accusations of condescension and a dismissive attitude by those in the arts and culture sector, as it asked for them to consider other new careers, in ‘cyber’. 

Whilst this is obviously an area of future growth with the digitisation of virtually every aspect of our lives, the connection of people directly to specific areas is a risky approach for many reasons. When interviewed recently, Rishi Sunak admitted that many people are going to have to abandon their current jobs and retrain in ‘sustainable’ and ‘viable’ sectors: ‘I can’t pretend that everyone can do exactly the same job that they were doing at the beginning of the crisis’, he said.

 

“If you’ve spent years, possibly even decades, working in a specific job role, then the expectation to shift suddenly and seamlessly to another is obviously a tricky prospect.” 

 

This is a wiser approach in our view, to offer advice and to suggest there are other options is far more subtle. But compounding this, the government has devised an ingenious and comprehensive online questionnaire to help you answer the big question: what to retrain as? Based on your preferences and skills, the intention was to make finding a suitable new career much, much easier. Unfortunately, however, it hasn’t quite gone exactly to plan either...

Some questionnaire results have produced some, unlikely results. And people have found much hilarity in this bizarre but welcome bit of light relief, with ‘fair-ground worker’, ‘boxer’, ‘fish-monger’, ‘stonemason’ and ‘countryside rangers’. One person reported that she was apparently assessed as being suitable to be a ‘Bomb Disposal Technician’ or ‘Bingo Caller’.

Among the thousands of unsuitable job suggestions was one lady in her fifties recommended as a stunt-double; responding on Twitter, she optimistically suggested that she should retrain as she ‘could be a stunt-double for an unfit woman in her 50s?’.

Another slight miscalculation involved a self-proclaimed ‘painfully unfit PhD student (who loathed PE throughout her school career and continues to avoid any form of exercise) should retrain as a... ‘professional sportsman’. 

But some results have, at least, shown that the test gives some accurate results, as partakers in this quiz have ended up being told to retrain in… their current job: 

 

‘I’ve just done the government assessment to see what I should retrain as’, wrote one bemused user. ‘I’m going to leave my job as a teacher to become...a teacher’. 

 

You may want to take a look and see what vocations your skills match up to (but don't say we didn't warn you about unexpected outcomes):

https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/skills-assessment

On a serious note, however, this only reflects the gravity of the situation. Many thousands of people across the country are due to have their worlds turned upside down, and forced out of happy, prosperous careers. They are being forced to consider changes that were not part of anyone's plan only a few months ago.

Thankfully though, Access Training offers the perfect way out, but for those who have a desire to get a trade. We are quite clear that there are many other options out there for new careers and training courses to get you there but we will only ever offer advice to those who have asked for it. Not preach it to everyone regardless of their situation. 

Serving those wanting to retrain and change careers to get a trade has been a goal of ours since the beginning, 2003 to be axact; thousands of people from across the employment spectrum have approached us with the aim of retraining and starting out on a fresh path into trades training. 

Now our services may be needed more than ever – and we may be the service that you need. We will however, never condescend you or take your previous experience for granted. Our Career Support Team is here to listen and advise you.

 

"Guys who’ve come from all sorts of backgrounds, taxi drivers, entertainment, even to the point where I’ve had some solicitors because they’re unsure of whether they’re ever going to go back to working in the office.

Anybody who's lost their job... my advice is don't be afraid. With hard work and the right training... you can do anything that you want."

Jimmy Adkins, Access Training Academies Tutor speaking to Robert Peston from ITV



Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.



“Output has increased for two months in a row and momentum is increasing. June’s 23.5% surge was triple the 7.6% growth seen in May… The recovery is still young and fragile, but so far it is taking the hoped-for V-shape.”

Gareth Belsham, Naismiths. Construction Enquirer, June 2020


The wider economic outlook is grim for the UK, that's been extensively reported. The OECD has forecast that the UK’s national income will slump by 11.5 per cent this year, greater than that of France, Italy, Spain and Germany. Brexit will also have an impact on the economy, but that’s another potential issue.

However in spite of all the negative predictions, the trades sector has much potential as it represents the spearhead by which government investment generates growth. These measures will seek to boost the economy in a manner not seen since the end of the Second World War.



“History shows the construction industry is the tried and tested means of driving economic recovery, just as it did after the Second World War”

Paul Gandy, managing director of Interserve Construction, Construction News 3rd July 2020



An article in Construction News in July of this year, written by Paul Gandy, managing director of Interserve Construction, highlighted the positives that could then filter down through all areas of the industry. He highlighted that jobs would be secured and created across manufacturing, architecture, planning, engineering, distribution and construction, plus many other indirectly related jobs.

He also goes on to state that the construction industry as a whole provides people with new jobs quickly and the money that is invested gives a speedy return. With the government now looking to prioritise their spending they could do no better than to provide people with a level of funding needed to create these new skilled jobs in the trades.



“If the government prioritises job creation, skills and infrastructure spending – as the prime minister has pledged – the industry could be well placed to bounce back quickly following an extremely challenging period.”

 

Paul Gandy also made it clear how valuable the sector is to the UK economy as a whole: 

 

“In 2018, the economic output of the construction sector, according to the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), was worth £413bn, equivalent to 8.6 per cent of GDP. This is nearly four times the combined annual output of the aerospace and automotive industries.”



The construction sector itself is huge with over 900,000 sole traders amongst the 3,000,000 people who are directly or indirectly working in the industry - There are also just under 1,000,000 people that are regarded as self-employed.

There is still a long way to go to ensure that these prospects are fulfilled and we have some way to go before we reach a full and sustained recovery. Demand for construction projects will continue to increase, although nobody knows exactly when this will happen, as Ragene Raithata, a senior associate in the construction and infrastructure practice at DWF Group, importantly reminds us: 



“In a post-pandemic world there will still be a requirement for more homes, urban regeneration, improved infrastructure, improved offices, retail space and more distribution facilities. We all know from past downturns that a robust construction sector will emerge but how and when, we just do not know.”



Homes will always need building, infrastructure will always need developing, modernising, adapting – and we will need it now more than ever before. When things do return to normal, Britain needs the workforce to contribute to its road to recovery, to fulfill its prophecy of re-growth. We need to create our own masterplan for revival to see us out the other end – but most importantly, we need skilled tradespeople who are able to get the job done.

It is no overstatement to predict that the construction industry will provide the means of rebuilding our country: physically, economically, and mentally. And who knows? The next decade might see the UK economy becoming dependent on the continued growth of the construction industry. 

Whatever happens, we’ll need skilled tradespeople to get the job done – and you could be one of them.

Enquire for a course today



Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

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