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have no qualms with female tradespeople either, making the noticeable gender segregation in the trades even more outdated and antiquated.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.

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