Earlier this week the Guardian posted an article titled "The Rise of white van woman". Reading through it you'll see that, while perhaps not the best written article around, it does reveal one very important point - more and more women are now taking up trades such as plumbing, electrics, carpentry, bricklaying and more.

According to a study of 10,000 tradespeople across the UK from IronmongeryDirect (reported in Professional Builder magazine), women now represent 5.7% of all working tradespeople - dispelling notions by coming in higher than the proportion of migrant workers in the UK (4.6%). In the grand scheme of things this might still seem like a small figure, but is still a big leap forward that lead to further gender equality in the trades.

The Guardian's article also notes that between 2011 and 2012, B&Q reported a 400% increase in the number of women enrolling in its skills workshops. During this time Britain was also going through its economic recession, and so many women who were losing their jobs were going on to set up their own businesses. The appeal of a more physical and rewarding trade career has caught on, with more and more women starting their own businesses and groups/magazines such as Women In Trade. WIC Wales and Stopcocks forming to give support. The supposed gender barriers are breaking down at long last, and this is nothing but a good thing.

And it seems customers have no qualms with female tradespeople either, making the noticeable gender segregation in the trades even more outdated and antiquated. At Access Training we welcome female tradespeople just as we do male, which is why our doors are open to people of all ages, background and gender. These things should make no difference in a person's drive to become a qualified tradesperson, and this is reflected in the training we offer. Each week we see more and more female trainers come through our doors, all of which go on to have successful businesses in their respective trades. For example - Sarah Chandler from Cardiff was working as an administrator before she decided to change her career into something more practical. After completing both a plumbing and multi-skills construction course with us, she has now set up her own business, SLC Home Improvements, and is never short of work.

Are you looking to start a brand new career as a qualified tradesperson? Covering plumbing, electrics, gas engineering, carpentry, bricklaying, plastering, tiling and painting/decorating, Access Training offers a wide range of expertise taught under one roof by an experienced teaching staff. To find out more about our courses and to book your place, please give our advice team a call on 0800 345 7492.

UK weather isn't always the kindest of things and, after some especially bad wind and rain earlier this year, it seems Spring is finally settling in nicely. This good turn in the weather seems to be especially good for skilled tradespeople, with their demand reaching record numbers as homeowners use this time to repair, maintain and even improve their properties.

This information comes from Trustmark, the Government-endorsed quality mark and online search database for qualified plumbers, electricians, carpenters, plasterers and more. In just the last four months, the number of searches across all trades has increased by 79% compared to that of last year - putting the total figure for the year on track to double that of 2013.

Among the trades which saw the highest improvements were ones that would be needed to fix properties after the Winter's spell of bad weather, including expert roofers (up an incredible 915%), flood recovery specialists (198%), garden landscapers (94%) and tree surgeons (91%). While this seems like a huge proportion of the searches, it was in fact only around 24% for these months as homeowners were on the lookout for many other handymen and women to improve their homes. Here are just a few of the trades that have seen a sharp rise in searches this year, many of which we teach here at Access:

  • Plasterers and renderers (88%)
  • Plumbing and heating engineers (83%)
  • Air conditioning specialists (79%)
  • Painters and decorators (77%)
  • Handymen (77%)
  • Electricians (52%)

So if you've ever wondered how "in demand" these trades are, the figures should speak for themselves. If you've been considering a change of a career and qualifying in a construction trade then now is the perfect time to do so. And you can forget about college courses and apprenticeships that would take up to three years to complete - at Access Training we can get you fully trained and qualified to a professional standard in a matter of weeks.

And to make this idea all the more enticing, we're holding a special offer on all of our courses throughout May in celebration of our birthday. We're offering up to 50% off of all of our courses this month when the deposit is paid in full, however the course itself does not have to be sat in May - you can complete and complete it when you're ready to! For more information and to speak to one of our course advice team, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.

Although construction productivity is on the rise, its full potential is being held back by a worrying skills shortage across all sectors. With a significant portion of the workforce set to retire over the next few years, more needs to be done to encourage young people to take up construction training courses and join a workforce desperately in need of expansion. And a recent survey from the Edge Foundation has unearthed some rather worrying results...

It found that over a third of students are being actively discouraged from vocational education by schools, being told that they will be more successful if they choose the academic pathway. 22% were even told that they were "too clever" for vocational education. On the parent side of things, only half (51%) encouraged their child's choice to pursue a vocational career as opposed to the 74% that would much prefer to support them through an academic route.

Thankfully the survey did find out some positive results for the construction industry. Those that chose vocational careers were revealed to be just as happy with their choice as those that opted for the academic route, with earnings comparable between the two. 

In response to the survey, Edge Foundation CEO Jan Hodges was disappointed that so few parents and teachers saw vocational education as worthwhile, despite it yielding equal levels of happiness, job satisfaction and financial gain. Pointing out that a skilled workforce is essential to the British economy, she said:

"The stigma attached to vocational learning is old-fashioned and unjust."

At Access Training we agree that the negative stigma attached to joining the construction industry and other vocational careers needs to stop. The benefits of an academic pathway are not as glamorous as they are made out to be, nor are the chances of success. Think about it - if everyone is heading in that direction are there really going to be jobs to support everyone? The answer is obviously no, and this is why more and more graduates are coming out of university and heading straight into office jobs or unemployment. Meanwhile the construction industry is welcoming more new recruits than ever, but there simply aren't enough skilled labourers to fill the gap.

Construction training is not what many people make it out to be - it may rely more on physical skill than academia, but that doesn't mean there isn't an intergral element of theory to it. And this goes for all construction trades - whether it be bricklaying, carpentry, plastering, tiling or even painting and decorating. The same goes for other vocational trades such as electrics, plumbing or gas installation. A trade career can be challenging but ultimately rewarding, providing excellent job satisfaction as well as plenty of reward. Most importantly, what you learn on your trades training course is a skill for life.

Our training courses provide students with all the skills and knowledge they need for a long and prosperous career in the sector of their choosing, along with all of the relevant qualifications needed to be considered qualified by industry bodies. You will be taught in our state-of-the-art centre by industry professionals, each with a number of years' experience in their specific trade. Upon completion, you'll find a world of opportunity and career growth at your fingertips.

So does the academic route really sound that much better? Give Access a call on 0800 345 7492 to find out more about how a vocational career can change your life!

So you've completed your trades training course and are now out in the world as a self-employed tradesperson. You've got your vehicle, all your tools and are ready for long and prosperous career ahead of you. You might feel relaxed, but even then there's is still the need to be vigilant about certain things.

Statistics from Commercial Vehicle Direct Insurance Services have revealed that tradespeople have lost over £75 million due to tool thefts from their vehicles since 2008. Tradespeople are a popular target for thieves, with the average value of their tool box being over £1900 according to claims made between the 1st May 2011 and 30th November 2013.

The survey found the areas hit by the most costly thefts in the last five years are:

  • London Metropolitan - £30.6 million
  • Yorkshire - £10 million
  • Essex - £5.3 million
  • West Midlands - £4.2 million
  • Great Manchester - £2.9 million

Meanwhile certain places have also seen a significant rise in vehicle-related crime. Essex had it worse at a 68% rise, followed closely by Avon & Somerset (57%) and Greater Manchester (45%). At the bottom of the table was Suffolk (22%) and London Metropolitan, which only saw a 12% increase. The figures were obtained through a freedom of information request to UK police forces.

CVDIS director Andrew Jackson commented: "A tradesperson's toolkit is their livelihood and being without it for any period of time can be crippling. Of course, tradespeople must take precautions themselves, as leaving hundreds or sometimes thousands of pounds worth of tools in their vehicles can make them a target for thieves. But other actions are also needed."

So just remember to lock your vehicles up at night and whenever you're not around. While its not our intention to scaremonger, you never know when thieves are about! Not only that, but making sure you have the right insurance that covers everything could be the thing that saves your business should the worst happens. Even if you never use it, the security of having it there is not worth passing up.

Though all of Great Britain is shaping up for a construction boom that is predicted to last throughout 2014 and beyond, it's great to hear that the home of Access Training Academies is leading the way. The regional government is reporting that the construction industry here is outperforming the UK as a whole, once again proving that if you're thinking of learning a new trade from a construction training course - now is the time to do so. 

Wales has shown an 8.7% increase over the last four quarters in comparison to the previous four, according the date from the Office of National Statistics. Short term quarterly movements in the construction industry also showed output as increased in Wales by 2.8%.

Welsh economy minister Edwina Hart said: “Together with the latest figures showing an increase in the number of construction jobs in Wales, today’s figures show that the construction sector in Wales is outperforming the UK as whole. Also the Index of Production for Wales shows a 3.1% increase when comparing the latest four quarters to the previous four quarters, while UK output fell by 1.6%.”

With new build projects now starting all across Wales, demand for bricklayers, plasterers, carpenters and tilers is at an all-time high. This boom is expected to continue for years to come, giving skilled labourers job security as well as an eviable wage and a varied and active line of work. However a college course can take years to provide you with the skills and qualifications to turn professional, which is why our range of intensive construction courses is the best solution. We train students to a professional standard, complete with the relevant qualifications, in a fraction of that time - without skimping on any of the quality. 

We also offer a wide variety of scope with our courses - if you'd like to intensively train as a carpenter then our professional carpentry course is right there for you, however if you'd like to try a variety of different trades then you can also build up your own multiskills course. Just let us know what your plans are and we'll do our best to accomodate them.

To find out more give us a call on 0800 345 7492 or fill in the information form provided on the website. One our of advice team will be in touch shortly to answer any outstanding questions you might have.

While we try to give you as much practical and theoretical knowledge as we can on your plumbing training course, there are some things that plumbing courses can't teach. You could have all the skills you need for a successful business, but something as little as missing a few phonecalls can cost you.

In fact, research from new business-orientated phone service everreach has estimated that plumbers are potentially losing around £500's worth of business a week due to missed phone calls. The survey, entitled "Running Your Small Business Better", looked at all the issues missed calls could cause - from loss of revenue to more personal elements such as what extent out of hours work calls might impact on time with the family.

Looking at cost, the survey found that more often than not tradespeople didn't have a dedicated landline business number. With the trade being one that gets you out and about a lot, 87% of respondents use a mobile as their main business number. The survery itself wasn't specifically aimed at plumbers, however they were top when it comes to receiving the hightest number of calls for new work. It also revealed that with plumbers losing around £500 worth of business every week, the yearly total of lost income is a shocking £26,000.

Moving onto how calls affect working time, over a quarter of tradesmen surveyed said they can't switch their phones off at home as they frequently have to take work calls. 60% said either their partner/children have accidentally answered their work calls in the past, while 21% admitted to accidentally deleting a voicemail themselves before listening to it or taking the number down. A final element looked into was the risks some trademen will take when answering calls, with four out of five admitting that they would be tempted to answer the phone while in an "unsafe situation". Examples of this included while working up a ladder or lifting heavy objects.

"Missed calls mean missed revenue opportunities," said Nick Mullen, chief executive officer of everreach. "The figures equate to hundreds of thousands of pounds in potentially lost revenue just in relation to the plumbers covered by our survey." So once you've finished your plumbing training and are about to start your new life as a self-employed plumber, remember to keep those words in mind. While no tradesperson should be expected to be readily available for phonecalls are every waking hour, working out the best compromise to ensure the minimal amount of business lost is essential to making the most of your new career.

Via HVP Mag

When hiring an electrician to work in your home it's important to ensure that they've completed a suitable electrical training course and earned all of the necessary qualifications. But it seems not enough Brits are doing this, as new research from the Electrical Safety Council has found that on average a startling one in four people have hired an electrician without checking their credentials. 

The charity estimates that around 20,000 non-registered electricians are currently active in the UK, so having a casual attitude toward checking they have the right electrician qualifications is a huge risk to you and anyone else who lives in/enters your home. Electrical accidents are responsible for half of all house fires, with someone dying every week from one as well. Vigilance doesn't cost anything, but ignorance could cost you your life.

The ESC's survey also revealed that a third of people (based on a random sample of 2018 adults) have hired an electrician based on a recommendation without first checking creditials and - more more alarmingly - a quarter would KNOWINGLY use an unregistered tradesperson if they were in a hurry. The study also found that nearly 1.3 million people have paid a proper electrician to come and fix damage caused by an unregistered one.

This worrying figure shows no sign of decreasing either, as a third of registered electricians admitted to an increase of substandard or dangerous work carried out by rogue tradesmen in the last few years. They also warned of relying on other tradesmen to complete work that should be completed by someone who has completed an electrican training course, earned the right qualifications and become registered.

As part of their campaign to promote awareness towards checking an electrian's credentials, the ESC have taken on TV presenter and consumer champion Dominic Littlewood as ambassador. He warns: "Rogue traders come in many shapes and forms – from your mate down the pub, to the guy that helps your builder out with a few odds and ends. What can look legitimate, or sound convincing at first glance, may turn into a nightmare if the person doesn’t have the right qualifications."

If you're training to become an electrician, its your responsibility to your customers to ensure that you've received the right training and possess all of the relevant qualifications. By completing an Access Training electrician course, you'll gain both of these things as you learn from professional electricians with many years' experience in the industry. To find out more and book your place, give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

Now might just be the perfect time to make that career change and begin your construction training! Following on from the predictions that the construction industry will see a boom over the next four years, new survey results for quarter 3 2013 have found that the trade's recovery is well on the way.Construction Image

The construction trade survey, compiled by the Construction Products Association using data from the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, Construction Products Association, Federation of Master Builders, National Federation of Builders, National Specialist Contractors Council and the UK Contractors Group, found that activity rose for the second consecutive quarter. This growth came from across all areas of the industry with even more anticipated in the next 12 months.

After five years of difficult conditions for the construction industry, optimism is now rising as building contractors were reported to be the most positive since pre-recession 2007. 30% of specialist contactors reported that enquiries for new work rose this quarter, as well as 30% of civil engineering firms reporting a rise in order books.

However despite this it isn't all good news just yet. Rising costs are becoming a key issue, with manufacturers reporting that costs have risen over the last year. As well as citing wages as the key factor, the rising price of fuel, energy and raw materials are also responsible.

PlastererThere are two trades in particular that have had recruitment trouble - both of which we offer courses for here at Access. 34% of of firms reported difficulty recruiting bricklayers, while 32% also had a problem with plasterers. Both of these are the highest levels of difficulty reported since 2008, so those who may be considering plastering training or bricklaying courses have a clear gap in the market ahead of them. You can read more about the plastering and bricklaying courses we offer on the website.

Other key findings of the quarter three survey were:

  • 43% of building contractors, on balance, stated that activity rose in Q3, the second highest balance since 2007
  • Private new housing was the key driver of construction growth in Q3 with 22% of contractors, on balance, reporting that activity rose in Q3 compared with a year ago
  • Building contractor new orders reached their highest level since 2007
  • The most positive sector for new orders was public non-housing, which primarily covers education and health, with a balance of 9%
  • 49% of building contractors reported that costs rose in Q3, with labour costs and materials costs both contributing to the rise
  • A balance of 4% of building contractors reported that tender prices rose in Q3; however, with costs also rising, a balance of 11% reported that profit margins had continued to fall.

More information can be found via The Construction Index

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If you would like to find out more about the construction training courses we offer here at Access, which including carpentry, tiling and painting & decorating as well as the aforementioned brickwork and plastering, please get in contact with us on 0800345 7492 and our course advisers will be happy to tell you more. With a variety of flexible courses that will give you the necessary construction qualifications, Access Training is the best method to get the required skills fast without skimping on any of the quality.

The Construction Industry Training Board has issued a serious warning to the UK constructor sector, reminding them that it faces a skills "time bomb" if it fails to find new workers before potentially 400,000 people retire in the next five to ten years.

The new labour market research, published by the Office of National Statistics, breaks the information collected down into the following main points:

  • 19% of UK construction workers aged 55+ (equivalent of 406,000 people) are set to retire in the next five to ten years
  • 24% of workers aged 45-54 (518,000) will then subsequently be retiring in the next ten to twenty years
  • 37% of the UK construction workforce is self-employed, and 23% (182,800) of those are also set to retire in five to ten years

With these huge numbers in mind, the research also noted which areas would be affected more than others. The East Midlands and South West would particularly suffer, with 22% of workers (that's 31,900 and 39,500 for each place respectively) set to leave. On the other hand Greater London, which holds the largest number of construction workers in the UK at 318,000 people, is estimated to not take the hit quite so hard. There only 12% (38,500) are expected to leave. Meanwhile in Scotland and Wales, the number is set to be similar to the total number of people retiring in the North East and South West of England - which is round about 56,000 people.

When you consider all of this, its unsurprising that UK construction was found to have a higher age profile than many other UK industries (19% are set to retire in comparison to the rest's 17%). To combat this, the CITB is encouraging employers to look at recruiting more and more young people, many of whom will have only just received their GCSE or A-Level results and be considering their next steps.

CITB Interim Chief Executive William Burton said: "Almost one in five workers are set to retire from the construction industry over the next five to ten years, so not taking action now to encourage young people to join the industry or invest in the training to up-skill our existing workforce, is no longer an option. The construction sector is essential for growth and, to avoid the similar skills crisis that affected the industry in the early 1990s, we urge employers to act now."

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If you've just finished school and looking for a more physical alternative to office work or college/university, have you considered a career in the construction industry? With demand constantly growing for young skilled workers, you're unlikely to find yourself short of work and doing a job with plenty of variety. But first you'll need the right qualifications, which you can find on an Access Academies professional training course. At our state-of-the-art Cardiff training centre you can find bricklaying, plastering, carpentry and tiling training all under one roof, complete with experienced tutors and the qualifications you need to make it in the industry. To find out more and book your place just give our advisers a call on 0800 345 7492.

New Government figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government have shown an impressive surge in house building between April and June this year.

The statistics show that during this period there were a total of 29,510 new homes started - 6% highter than the previous quarter, and a third higher than the same time last year. Seasonally adjusted private enterprise completions increased by 11%.

This growth in the construction sector has been attribued to the wide range of government measures currently in play, which have also led to the hightest number of first-time buyers and lowest level of repossessions since 2007.  These include;

  • New housing supply at its highest level since 2008, with a total 334,000 new homes built in England over the past 3 years
  • Over 150,000 new affordable homes built over the past 3 years thanks to the wide range of affordable housing programmes, including £19.5 billion of public and private investment over this Spending Review, and over £22 billion investment in the 3 years after that.
  • Interest rates kept low thanks to government action to tackle the deficit inherited from the last administration.
  • Over 10,000 reservations for newly-built homes in just the first 4 months of the government’s Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme.
  • The Funding for Lending scheme, which has increased the availability of competitively priced mortgages.

Communities Minister Brandon Lewis said: "Under the last administration, housebuilding fell to its lowest peacetime rate since the 1920s. But today’s figures clearly show government action is bringing confidence back into the housing market and getting Britain building again, with starts increasing by a third year-on-year. We’ve already delivered over 330,000 new homes over the past 3 years, and 150,000 affordable homes. There is more to do, but today’s figures reinforce the momentum towards getting Britain building again."

Of course these houses are going to need a lot of work done of them before they're inhabitable, and this is where you come in. The market is going to need electricians, plumbers, gas engineers, bricklayers, plasterers, carpenters, tilers and decorators - and if you've every considered entering one of the trades, an Access Training course is all you need to do it. We get you the necessary qualifications to enter your chosen trade and start your journey to a career filled with success and variety. To find out more call us on 0800 345 7492 today.

From: Professional Electrician & Installer

Findings from a recent survey into consumer attitudes to payments reveal that many self-employed tradespeople may be losing potential income by not being able to accept card payments.

However, there is competitive advantage to be gained as the survey shows that businesses adopting new card payment technology often attract more customers than those only accepting cash. In the last year, one-in-five UK consumers has abandoned a purchase due to the trades person not accepting card payments or because they did not have enough cash, over half of consumers (54%) finding this lack of flexibility inconvenient.

The implications are far reaching:

  • 72% of consumers are left with a negative impression of a business that fails to accept cards
  • 28% of customers may also see this lack of service as poor customer service
  • 19% see lack of card payment options as being unprofessional
  • 18% even perceiving the business as unsuccessful or struggling
  • 87% state that they spend more money when paying by card as they purchase additional services or products, demonstrating the potential benefits on offer for those mobile workers that adopt the new service

Tradespeople have the potential to gain new customers by accepting card payments on the move. 38% of people saying that would prefer a tradesman (38%, an electrician 35% and a plumber 33%) if they accept card payments over one that doesn’t, even if the job quote, materials and service quality are the same.

The survey of 5176 people was conducted via online interviews with UK consumers (18+ year olds) during April 2013 for WorldPay.

As a consequence WorldPay has launched ‘WorldPay Zinc’ which allows tradesmen to use a mobile chip & pin keypad, costing £59.99, to take card payments on-site. Offering quick transfer of funds (usually 4 working days), this service offers a pay-as-you-go system of 2.75% per transaction.

This amounts to the tradesman having to pay £2.75 on every £100 pounds that is put through the card reader, this may seem to be a lot, but bear in mind some retail outlets pay 5% or more.

- Mark Jenkins

 

Mark Jenkins is the Electrical Course Development Manager at Access Training. If you would like to learn more about electrical work and maintenance, you might want to consider one of the many electrical training courses we offer. These are available for both DIY enthusiasts AND people looking to gain the vital qualifications needed to make the career change to become an electrician. To find out more give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

The Construction Industry Training Board has warned that the industry needs to put more focus on the recruitment and training of young people, after recent statistics revealed some alarming facts about the average age of Britain's construction workforce.

According to the Office of National Statistics, 19% of UK construction workers are aged 55 and over. A further 24% (518,000 people) are aged between 45 and 54. They estimate that these statistics mean at least 406,000 people will need to be replaced over the next 10 years if the labour force is stay the same size.

CITB’s interim chief executive William Burton said: “Almost one in five workers is set to retire from the construction industry over the next 5-10 years, so not taking action now to encourage young people to join the industry – and investing in the training to up-skill our existing workforce – is no longer an option. The construction sector is essential for local and national economic growth and to avoid the similar skills crisis that affected the industry in the early 1990s, we urge employers to act now.”

While more young people undoubtedly need to be adopted into the industry, these age groups show that its also never too late to join the world of construction. You could be 18, 25, 35 or older and the choice to change careers into construction could still prove a refreshing and liberating experience. If you would like to find out more about how you can join thus rewarding line of work that's constantly on the lookout for new people, give Access Training a call. We provide a wide range of construction training courses for people of all ages and backgrounds, giving you the qualifications needed to enter at a professional level. Give us a call on 0800 345 7492 and we'll be happy to tell you more.

Source: The Construction Index