From Solicitor to Plumber: How People Are Retraining to Cope During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Robert Peston interviews Access Training on ITV

ITV News, 24th September 2020

Access Training was recently featured on a special edition of ITV's Tonight. Titled 'Can We Save Our Jobs?' and presented by Robert Peston, the programme highlighted the trials and tribulations that people have endured while on furlough during the coronavirus pandemic: the stress of having no work, the strain of having to provide for your family, and the hopelessness of a jobless future.

But it's not all doom and gloom.

 

"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."

Access Training tutor Jimmy Adkins, speaking to ITV's Robert Peston

 

The programme featured several Access Training students - people from a variety of backgrounds who felt the economic impact of the pandemic and made the wise decision to pursue a career in the trade industry. Chefs have become gas engineers, cab drivers have taken up plumbing, and even solicitors are jumping on the bandwagon.

Talking to Peston, our gas tutor Jimmy Adkins gives an excellent summary of the situation, detailing the enormous spike in demand for construction courses that followed the COVID-19 crisis:

 

"It went absolutely crazy. Guys have 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."

Access Training tutor Jimmy Adkins

 

One of our students, Chris Kruger, was also interviewed for the programme. Chris recently left his job as a chef, citing job uncertainty as the main reason for this decision. He speaks of the "very stressful and very worrying" threat to his job, and indeed the whole catering industry:

 

"Not knowing whether things were going to go back to normal, whether I would still have a job, the situation at home - expecting a baby and so forth - and my partner also being in the hospitality industry... both of us sitting on furlough, you can imagine the stress."

Access Training student Chris Kruger

 

Access Training on ITV

ITV Tonight: Can We Save Our Jobs?

Chris very wisely decided that retraining as a plumber would secure his young family's future in these increasingly unsettling and unstable times. Instead of sitting back and letting everything crumble around him, Chris took it upon himself to prepare for the future: "I just said, no, I need to utilise this time to study."

If Chris can do it, so can you. The furlough scheme has now ended, but the pandemic is ongoing and there is still a lot of uncertainty about the future - especially in sectors like entertainment and hospitality, which were hit especially hard by Covid and which will bear the brunt of any future lockdowns.

The Access Training students who appeared on ITV's Tonight programme took the right steps at the right time to become qualified tradespeople. They invested in their careers, and made the choice to be proactive and determined.

Access Training can be your stepping stone to a secure and fulfilling career; the safety net you need in these unforgiving times.

 

Demand is high, and the time is now. Take the initiative today - get in touch now to speak to a course advisor.

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Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

"As I look back on my life, I realise that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better" - Vala Afshar, July 2020

Smiling face

Has COVID-19 given us a new perspective on the value of work?

The global pandemic has had a huge impact on our working lives. It has forced many of us to consider just how much we value our work and how much we enjoy our current jobs - if we enjoy them at all!

The boundaries between work life and home life have been blurred by the lockdown, and it can be difficult to strike the correct balance. Most types of work, while important, are not as important as feeling the fulfilment of one's family, hobbies and the home itself. This leads to one question:

Do you really enjoy your work?

Many supposedly 'low-skilled' jobs have recently gained an air of heightened importance - perhaps even prestige. At the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, the UK government recognised cleaners, delivery drivers, retail staff and so on as 'Key Workers' and acknowledged that the country would grind to a halt without their continued efforts.

This 'Key Worker' label means a great deal to many and has generated some well-earned respect for professionals whom we too often forget. But being 'key' does not always mean making a good salary, even though many of these people have recently been working longer hours in extraordinarily stressful circumstances.

And amid all the current chaos, it's easy to forget reports from recent years suggesting that workplace morale is very low in general - for instance, a 2017 Gallup poll reported that 87% of workers in the UK felt disengaged in their job.

Still, with more people working from home lately, we now seem to be collectively appreciating the value of work and recognising that it does play a crucial role in our wellbeing. We can be happy in our work as long as the job is enjoyable, rewarding and reasonably secure.

What job will make you happiest?

The economic slump that will surely follow this pandemic is likely to see many workers looking for new roles that offer the right amount of job security and longevity. A lot of people are already seeking a new purpose in life; finding the 'right' career is paramount for one's personal identity, but happiness is the key factor for most of us.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important is to have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs, 2005

So what's the secret to professional happiness? A survey commissioned back in 2018 by Boundless found that Britain's plumbers are the happiest professionals in the country, with 55% of plumbers saying they were 'very happy' in life.

The survey was designed to uncover who is happy, both at home and at work, and what makes them feel good about themselves and their lives. Plumbers ranked highly in the survey for quality of sleep and physical activity. Not a single plumber said they were 'unhappy' in their job. Compare this to those who work in customer service, and to lawyers, police officers and chefs, all of whom were reported as being unhappy in their work.

Electricians, at 50%, were also one of the happiest groups, with tradespeople in general being way ahead in their happiness index. Builders were also high up on the list.

The Boundless job happiness index

Very happy in life:

  1. Plumbers (55%)
  2. Builders (38%)
  3. Marketing (36%)
  4. Taxi & Lorry Drivers (32%)
  5. Bankers (32%)
  6. Doctors (31%)

[Source]

Browse Plumbing Courses   Browse Electrical Courses

Photo from Pexels

"A new programme to give hundreds of thousands of young people, in every region and nation of Britain, the best possible chance of getting on and getting a job." - Rishi Sunak

Photo by Chris McAndrew (Wikimedia Commons)

Last Wednesday's mini-budget saw the Chancellor put jobs at the heart of his £2 billion scheme to prevent a surge in unemployment.

Rishi Sunak will unveil a plan designed to keep up to 300,000 young people off the dole as the COVID-19 recession bites.

Under the Kickstart Scheme, the Treasury will pay the wages of thousands of youngsters if firms agree to hire them for six months.

Mr Sunak went on to say:

"We cannot lose this generation, so today, I am announcing the Kickstart Scheme - a new programme to give hundreds of thousands of young people, in every region and nation of Britain, the best possible chance of getting on and getting a job.

"These will be new jobs - with the funding conditional on the firm proving these jobs are additional. These will be decent jobs with a minimum of 25 hours per week, and new hires will be paid at least the National Minimum Wage."

 

"A very hopeful message for the trades industry"

Training providers are now getting ready for the thousands of new students who will be looking​ to get qualified in order to take advantage of the new jobs being offered.

One construction training specialist said:

"We are expecting a huge demand for training in the last 5 months of 2020. This is a very hopeful message for the trades industry.

"The educational norm has changed to incorporate online training and the flexibility that offers students, so there is now no reason why anyone can't take advantage of the government's Kickstart Scheme."

If you're looking to learn a trade and pursue a new career, Access Training Academies can help - call 0800 345 7492 now to speak to a course advisor.

Contact Access Training   Browse Trade Courses

What Trade Should I Learn

If the office 9-to-5 life isn't for you, you're probably looking for a career that offers you diversity and a chance to get out and try your hand at new tasks. For this reason, you may have decided that you would be well suited to a job in the trade industry. However, with so many to choose from you may be having a difficult time pinpointing which to specialise in. You may be set on going into the trade industry but be asking yourself, what trade should I learn?

In general, trade jobs are appealing; they can result in good salaries and a chance to be your own boss, learn useful manual skills and a whole other range of opportunities. Of course, every job has pros and cons and your personal preferences will determine what trade you are best suited to learning. To help you make that decision, we've come up with a few key things you should consider before diving into a trade.

Whichever trade you decide to learn you will be able to find a course that suits you at Access Training, take a look:

Click here to browse all of our trade courses

 

Are you more interested in building something, or fixing something?

Manual work is great because it teaches you skills that you can use in your life as well as that of your client's. But some things may interest you more than others, perhaps you're a problem solver, who upon seeing a task is set on working it out and fixing the problem. On the other hand, you may not want to fix problems; you may be interested in creating things from scratch.

Building something: If you want the chance to create something then carpentry is a good move for you. From small projects to buildings, you'll be constantly creating with your ability to turn materials into something else entirely.

Fixing something: Plumbers and electricians are often called out when something goes wrong with someone's plumbing or electrical systems. It'll be your job to find out what is wrong and fix it.

 

Do you prefer working on one project for a while or a new one each day?

If you like the stability of working in one place for an amount of time then you may be more interested in a job in carpentry and other jobs that are needed in construction work. If you are working on a building site these projects can last a varied amount of time and you are likely to see your creation grow over time.

In comparison, electricians, plumbers and gas engineers often work on multiple jobs over the course of a single day. Moving from project to project offers you the opportunity to solve new problems in a short amount of time. Although you may be asked to work on bigger projects like wiring a house or constructing the plumbing system for a building.

 

Would you rather spend time working indoors or outdoors?

This will depend on what kind of job you are carrying out, as most of the trades will have jobs that are outside or indoors, so hopefully, you don't mind either! Of course, there are some trades where you are more likely to work inside more than others, such as a kitchen fitter. However, locations for electricians, plumbers and gas engineers will depend if you're involved with domestic work or industrial work - but again, this will depend on the job!

If you prefer working outside then you may enjoy construction work. Construction workers are often working outside building houses or other buildings.

Browse Our Construction Courses >

Do you get claustrophobic working in tight places?

Some trade jobs will require working in tight spaces more than others. Electricians for instance often will have to crawl into tight areas such as ceiling spaces to access wires and other electrical systems. Plumbers are also sometimes required to work in confined spaces to access pipes and drains and other tighter work areas.

If you know this isn't for you, then you are less likely to come across this when working in carpentry, plastering and kitchen fitting as you are often in larger areas. These trade jobs give you more opportunities to stretch your legs in general. However, you may then need to consider how you feel about working at heights and other factors. Our advisors are more than happy to discuss this with you further so contact us today.

 

Are you colour blind?

If you are colour blind, one trade you may want to rule out is a career as an electrician. If you have trouble distinguishing colour then working with colour-coded wires will be a problem, and this could be dangerous. Wiring mistakes can damage what you're working on or even lead to electrocution.

Luckily, this is less of a problem with the other trades, so you should still be able to find one that you'll love learning!

Training classroom

Here are links to some of the courses we offer:

DISCLAIMER: Of course, we've listed some things you may want to consider when choosing a trade to learn, but your daily works will depend on the type of job you end up doing - e.g. whether you are working on domestic or industrial projects. Once you begin learning your trade, you will learn more about how you can specialise and what these roles will involve.

If you are still unsure about what the benefits of learning a trade are, you may be interested in our two helpful infographics:

If you are still unsure which trade you are most suited for, get in touch with one of our expert course advisors. We pride ourselves on being able to help people find the career they love, so feel free to get in touch!

Contact Us >

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now offering live online training sessions that allow you to start learning your trade from home. Join our virtual tutorials, interact with your instructor, and ask questions just as you would in a classroom setting; then, when you attend our training centre in person, you will be ready to focus on developing your practical skills. Click here to learn more about our online training packages.

 

If the office life isn’t for you because you prefer working with your hands and learning practical skills you should consider learning a trade skill. These skills are in high demand here in the UK due to a countywide skills shortage. Learning a trade skill can be fun and rewarding and you won’t need to spend years in University before starting your career. Here are more reasons why you should start training with Access Training Academies.

Should I Be a Plasterer or a Carpenter?

Gain these qualifications and learn the practical skills required with Access Training Academies.


Access Training intensive courses are built to suit you, whether you are a beginner wanting to learn a new skill, or a professional wanting to enhance your qualifications, there is a course to suit you.

If you'd like advice about any of the courses we offer we are more than happy to help. Feel free to contact us today.

Get in touch to learn more about our training courses!

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