There is a longstanding argument about the benefits or negatives of being self-employed over direct employment. This extends beyond the construction industry, into all facets of the world of work. There has been a significant rise in those registered as self-employed; between 2001 and 2017, self-employment in the UK rose from 3.3 million to 4.8 million. But there is no right or wrong answer – whether you become self-employed or not, depends on your personal preference, your professional situation, and what you want out of a career. 

Nevertheless, it is important to have the facts and figures when you’re preparing to get out into the world of work. The nature of your working status will change your lifestyle, your expectations and responsibilities; it will impact the taxes you pay, your paid leave, and the opportunities you have for professional development. Below we have listed some of the pros and cons of being either self-employed or employed, so that you can move forward with a clearer vision of your professional route.

 

Pros of Self-Employment

Being your own boss

The headline for those self-employed workers is that it gives you autonomy over your working life. Everything from the hours you work, how much you earn, and the kind of work you do, can be regulated by yourself. Naturally, this kind of freedom comes with its own responsibilities and challenges. But if you’re looking for flexibility above all else, without having to operate within the confines of a larger company, then this model might be for you.

 

You reap your own rewards

Everybody wants to see the benefits of their own hard work, and being self-employed means exactly this. Running your own business in the construction industry can be incredibly financially rewarding; you take out what you put in. Working hard for other people may not be as satisfying and personally motivating as earning money for yourself, and seeing your business skills go from strength to strength. Working for an employer might not offer the same potential for the same growth, though it does undoubtedly have its own benefits.

 

Professional flexibility

Nobody understands your own strengths and limitations better than you do yourself, which is why as a self-employed worker you don’t have to be restricted in your working opportunities – and that means a bigger financial reward for yourself. 

An employer might underestimate you, and even limit you to one job at a time, when you know that you could be stretching yourself. When self-employed, you can challenge yourself to achieve tasks to the best of your abilities, and have full control over your ongoing projects. You negotiate the contract you have with each individual customer, and base your progress on this – full autonomy, and maximum opportunity.

 

Personal development

Becoming self-employed is an undeniable challenge. But some of the things which make self-employment seem less appealing, like the added responsibilities, might ultimately themselves be positives. The skills you learn as an individual could be ones you’d never learn in any other capacity; things like self-motivation, self-discipline, planning, resourcefulness, and thinking on your toes. You need to generate and pursue your own opportunities – but this doesn’t need to sound daunting or high-pressured. For certain people with the capacity to do well, this could be the perfect lifestyle. 

 

Pros of Employment

 

Financial security

Despite the obvious freedoms of being self-employed, there are some inevitable downsides. The obvious benefits of working for a wider company is financial stability, and the legal perks that go with being a regular employee. You are paid a regular wage, given consistent work, and awarded a job security which is far more difficult to achieve as a self-employed worker. In addition to this, taxation is also covered by being employed. That is, you pay it automatically through PAYE, meaning you can enjoy your earnings while those who are self-employed have to stay on top of how much they owe to the taxman. 

 

Regular work

Working for an employer means that much of the responsibility for finding work rests with those above. You enjoy the reputation or influence of a larger marketed entity, meaning that your opportunities won’t fizzle out (as long as the company itself is still trading of course). You can without having to worry about marketing yourself, broadening your customer base, or networking. The big company does that work for you.For those who are self-employed, finding work is itself a huge part of the challenge; working for an employer, however, you can simply turn up, do the job, and leave your work at the doorstep. 

 

You get to enjoy employment rights

Employment rights are legal perks which come as a result of being employed, as opposed to being self-employed. That is, the right to earn a national living wage, statutory paid leave, a minimum level of paid holiday and rest breaks, and sick pay. Not only does it offer you rights which help you financially, but also legally: you have a certain amount of protection in the workplace against things like unlawful discrimination, or protection against whistleblowing. 

As a self-employed person, you would of course be entitled to health and safety and discrimination rights; but other rights are set out by terms of the contract you have with your individual clients, so it can be a lot to think about.

 

But regardless of the route you choose through the construction industry, it will still be a fulfilling and rewarding one. The forthcoming years are going to be successful years for tradespeople, and will see demand rising, opportunities increasing, and work plentiful. Whatever your career ambitions – whether you want to impress potential employers or be your own boss – Access Training can help to make them a reality. 

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen. 

 

If there’s one thing that 2020 has shown us, it’s that construction jobs are not going anywhere soon. Demand has surged during the pandemic for a multitude of reasons; people spending more time at home and finding the time to carry out home improvements, as well as the usual maintenance and servicing reasons which won’t go away. The developments of Brexit have meant that the construction sector desperately needs to rely on its homegrown UK-born workforce. Not to mention the enormous backlog of construction projects that were stalled in the initial months of lockdown, causing an enormous demand which has spilled over into 2021. 

All construction jobs are very much valued, and all contribute to the overall bigger picture. The construction industry is currently experiencing a large skills shortage, and has done for years. A major factor of this skills shortage is that the current working population is ageing. A recent study, conducted by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), that only 20% of construction workers are under 30 years old.

The IPPR has also estimated that 750,000 construction workers will retire, or will be on the verge of retiring, in the next 15 years

 

But this is very good news for those looking to get into the construction world, as it means that there are more jobs available than there are skilled workers to fill them. So, in short, whichever career path you take within the construction industry, it’ll bring you fulfilling, well-paid work, and a secure professional future.

Having said that, there are particular construction roles within the industry which have a particular demand. The surge in construction projects has meant that plumbers, electricians, carpenters and many other kinds of skilled laborers are particularly sought after. 

These kind of workers are essential in our everyday lives, and so the services they provide us are simply always going to be valuable. Boilers need servicing, electrical appliances need maintenance, the plumbing in our homes needs fixing from time to time. And in every single new building which is built, these fundamental things need to be fitted correctly, safely, and professionally. They then need to be maintained from time to time, to make sure that they are still safe for years to come. It might be stating the obvious, but construction workers are invaluable for all of these reasons. 

Joining the construction industry has never been a better idea. The timing is perfect. Make the most of your time, and become a qualified tradesperson in a matter of weeks.

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

 

The light at the end of the Covid tunnel is now perhaps within sight. A year of lockdowns, redundancies, economic struggle and suffering is possibly about to come to an end, with June 21st as our ticket out. But there is one, potentially long-lasting, victim: today’s youth.

Young people, along with women and those in the hospitality industry, have been among the hardest hit by the redundancies and unemployment crisis that this country has faced over the past year. It is predicted that, by the middle of 2021, the unemployment rate will be a dire 7.5%, with 4.7 million people furloughed. Three months before the end of 2020, when things were bad enough, the unemployment rate was only 5.1%. 

Even at the best of times, young people are some of the most vulnerable when it comes to the job market, and finding a secure career in this steadily worsening climate will be nigh-on impossible. Young people are typically the first to be fired, and last to be hired. They are often considered dispensable baggage, usually the ones with least experience, and as a result, most at risk of finding it difficult to gain employment. Crucial opportunities for work experience, which normally lead to growth in both experience and confidence, are now practically non-existent. We might find ourselves facing a generation of unprepared, uninspired young people, who rightfully feel hard done by: the unlucky Class of 2020.

But our youth need protection, and this potentially disastrous situation is avoidable. It is still possible to secure your future as a young person, and to do it with self-belief and pride in your profession. Fulfilling and honest work is not a thing of the past, and taking control of your future is still on the cards, even if it might currently seem like a mammoth task. You might be surprised to hear that, in fact, the ticket to the future is right on your doorstep.

Private training academies like Access Training offer the best possible route into the trade industry, and a prosperous career path. For young people who want to take control of their lives, provide themselves with a healthy and consistent income for decades to come, the next step should be a no-brainer. The trade industry is calling out for the next generation to offer their practical, problem-solving skills, and to serve the country for the forthcoming years of development. Boris Johnson calls for Britain to ‘Build Back Better’ – but without young people to ensure we get the job done, that might be a tall ask.

With a year of schools mostly closed, teaching severely limited, and opportunities to establish their future careers greatly suppressed, the impact on young people is likely to be wide-reaching, and indiscernible while we’re still in the eye of the storm. Not only has it impacted their future prospects, but no doubt their psychological state; it’s quite difficult to entertain optimistic plans for the future in the current situation, and ambitious dreams rarely bloom under the conditions of a pandemic. 

But with the right education, the right guidance, and awareness of the options available to young people, we can instill pride in the art of plying a trade, to promote the values and benefits of being your own boss, and of developing valuable practical skills that will serve young people, and their communities, for the rest of their lives. Let’s do our duty to the upcoming generation, and give them the opportunity for success and stability that could be so cruelly taken from them. Let’s consider it our responsibility to our young people, our communities, and the prosperity of our country. 





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.

"You cannot go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." - Vala Afshar, June 2020

Man looking out his window

Right now, we find ourselves singularly and collectively living through a period of change whose outcome none of us can confidently predict. The COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown are events that have become huge catalysts for change, the likes of which we have not seen for generations.

Will things ever return to 'normal'? That's what we're all asking - habits have changed or been broken for us, and that has given many of us the space and time to think about the future and do a bit of soul searching. From a career point of view, there are certainly some deep questions to consider: Where am I going? What is my end goal? Have I just been going through the motions, conforming to a pattern because that's what everyone else was doing - just getting on or getting by?

Here's one positive thing about the lockdown: it's shown us that other ways are possible and that not everything is predetermined. We are allowed to think differently now, and where you go from this point in your life - and your career - depends on you and your decisions as an individual.

How we learn new skills is crucial, and the speed of change in learning has been breathtaking. Universities are under threat because people are now wondering if there's something better and less expensive they could be doing to progress their careers. What are my other options, you might ask, and are traditional institutions really worth the price tag?

As an aside and by way of an example, school teaching - while undoubtedly an indispensable profession - is having to dramatically rethink its approach. Other viable ways of educating have emerged in recent months; online learning has become the new norm in some areas, with the benefits now outweighing the negatives for many. It's another example of the 'interruption of the established ways of doing things' that can have unintended consequences and lead to better solutions that focus on the outcomes or the 'goal' first and foremost.

Access Training Academies' online learning portal is a result of challenging 'the norm' and a reflection of this period of change.

There are even more drastic changes that have grown beyond all expectations. The way we consume goods and services has altered dramatically and will affect our economic model forever; with it, the jobs and careers that many are currently pursuing will change or may be negatively affected. We are clearly seeing the entertainment and hospitality sectors being badly affected, and retailers are suffering from a lack of footfall in shopping centres and high streets due to a surge in online shopping. Is this a new 'normal'? People are certainly now thinking of where to go with their careers and what their aspirations are.

Above all, everyone will want job security and to be at ease with their future prospects, as the current uncertainty has affected every part of our lives and the wider economy. LinkedIn, the social network that focuses on professional networking and career development, last week published a Workforce Confidence report showing how confident UK professionals are feeling about their job security, financial wellbeing and career prospects.

LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Report

Source: LinkedIn

"The latest data shows professionals working in the Construction and Software & IT Services industries are feeling most confident, with a score of 24, followed by Healthcare (21), Finance (18) and Manufacturing (18). Several industries were found to have a score of below 10, with Nonprofits feeling the least confident, with a score of 0, followed by Recreation & Travel (4) and Retail (6)."

The construction industry is one of two sectors with the highest level of confidence reported; job security could be high for the next few decades. The recent announcement by the UK Government regarding huge infrastructure investment means the future is bright in this sector.

The sheer volume of available construction work has increased and will continue to increase a great deal over the short, medium and long term, with lots of work required in terms of erecting buildings and modern infrastructure. Furthermore, older buildings will continue needing to be restored or refurbished, so there should be no shortage of work for tradespeople. New, sustainable practices have brought about the need for a greater volume of hi-tech construction projects, which will of course continue to require a steady supply of workers over the coming years.

The COVID-19 lockdown has not been a positive experience overall, but if there's a silver lining, it's that the lockdown has given many of us the chance to wonder where we are going and why. Maintaining a constant level of happiness throughout our lives is paramount; despite events that are out of our control, we all continually work to maintain that certain level of happiness. Making changes - such as shifting our values, our attention and our goals - allows us to be alert to our situation, and having a stable, rewarding and fulfilling career is central to that. A career in construction could be the solution for you.

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

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