The first quarter of 2016 looks as if it will prove to be an exceptionally busy period for the UK's tradesmen and women. If you work in the construction industry, you may already have noticed a surge in demand since the start of the year, and there's every reason to believe that the need for competent, professional tradespeople will remain high for the forseeable future.

So why are tradespeople run off their feet at the moment?
  • Flood damage. If you switched on the TV over Christmas, you're probably aware of the flooding that affected certain parts of the UK recently. While the flood waters have now receded (at time of writing, no severe flood warnings are in place), people are still dealing with the aftermath; the floods caused a lot of damage, and the necessary repairs will reportedly cost billions of pounds. According to simplybusiness.co.uk, tradespeople from "right across the board" can expect "a busy first quarter", with homes throughout the UK requiring all sorts of different repairs. Structural damage, ruined electrical systems, rooms ravaged by flood waters...all of these things will need to be put right by experienced professionals.

  • Cold weather. Even in years without flooding, winter tends to be an especially busy time of year for the average tradesperson. Plumbers are kept particularly busy during the colder months, with low temperatures leading to burst pipes and other problems. Gas engineers are also in high demand - the weather has been abnormally cold of late, which means that Britain's boilers are working overtime right now!

  • A shortage of competent tradespeople. As we've mentioned previously, Britain is currently battling a major skills shortage - there simply aren't enough qualified tradespeople to go around. Supply is falling desperately short of demand, and this problem will only be exacerbated by the cold weather and the widespread flood damage.
Demand for qualified tradespeople is higher than ever right now; wages have skyrocketed, and many workers are actually turning jobs down because their schedules are so full. While this could be a big problem for Britain, it does mean that now is a great time to learn a trade and turn professional - whether you choose to become a plumber, a bricklayer, an electrician, or something else again, you're unlikely to have any problems finding work!

Would you like to retrain and become a professional tradesperson? If so, please contact Access Training Academies today - we'll help you to book your course and gain the qualifications you need to succeed!

December may not seem like the most suitable time to be studying on a trades training course to become a professional tradesman, but the truth is these winter months are actually when plumbers, electricians, gas engineers, bricklayers and roofers are needed more than ever. With the end of the year just around the corner and the cold weather homing in on Britain, government-endorsed standards group Trustmark is warning owners to ensure that their homes are fully prepared before the harsh season hits.

Trustmark have already noted a rise in tradesperson viewings on their online database during October, which saw an a 36% increase in comparison to 2012. Across the trades roofers (32%), plumbers/heating engineers (35%) and electricians (20%) were the ones to see the biggest rise, and with heavy snow forecast until May 2014, these professionals are going to be needed more than ever.

Below is a list of quick spot checks Trustmark recommend doing to help reduce the risk of the winter weather causing damage to your home:

  • Most importantly, you should get your boiler and central heating checked/serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer. By making sure your boiler is in peak condition, it will burn far more efficiently - meaning it'll use less fuel AND be warmer. Checking your boiler/central heating also means that if there is any serious problems, you'll be avoiding any tragedy that could happen.
  • Make sure your insulation is in good quality. Not just your loft, but also look into lag pipes, water tanks and draught excluders.
  • Clean out gutters and outlets of any leaves and debris, followed by checking for any leaks or damage.
  • Look out for any damaged or loose tiles on your roof (from ground level to ensure your safety). Leep an eye out for any leaks or condensation appearing on the ceiling.
  • Make sure no exterior walls have any cracked, loose or missing pointing. If they do, be sure to get it fixed before water can get into it.

They also highly recommend keeping a useful list of phonenumbers of tradepeople in your area just incase of an emergency - plumbers, electricians, gas engineers, roofers, carpenters...whoever you might need if a problem should arise.

So if you're a tradesperson yourself, be prepared for your work to be more crucial to homeowners than ever - you never know when you're going to be needed. Alternatively, if you're looking to start a new career as a fully-qualified tradesperson now could be the perfect time to start. An intensive course from Access Training Academies can have you up and qualified in a matter of weeks - just in time to help those in need. To find out more about our range of courses, including plumbing, gas, electric and various construction trades, please give our advisers a call on 0800 345 7492.

The last few days have been a reminder that winter is well and truly here, with the temperature dropping and the country getting its first innings of both frost and snow. Even with energy bills on the rise, it's important to keep warm during this time of the year and make sure that your heating system is working properly. According to Government statistics, the 2012-13 winter period saw the largest excess mortality rate since 2008-09, with deaths coinciding with influenza, RSV and the cold weather.

The run-up to Christmas can be a busy time for plumbers and gas engineers, with consumers coming with all kinds of problems including broken down boilers and frozen pipes. For the tradespeople reading this it'll be good for business, but for the rest of us here is a few pieces of advice to keep away any unwanted costs as well as making sure your home stays warm.

The UK had a pretty good summer this year so it's likely that you haven't turned the heating on for a while, so it'll be good practice to check it regularly to make sure it's all in working order. Suddenly starting it up in a cold snap could result in it freezing up and potentially breaking down. Regular boiler checks by a professional plumber and gas engineer are important and should be done once a year, including servicing according to the manufacturer's instructions. Not doing so not only puts you at risk of forking out for repair costs, but in the case of gas boilers also puts you and your family at risk of possible carbon monoxide poisoning.

Another handy tip is to bleed your radiators. If you can feel cold patches on them it may be due to some air trapped inside that's blocking the system. It's easy to do and won't require the help of a plumber, but should that fail it might be blocked with something else. In this case the radiator might need a chemical flush and you will require a Gas Safe engineer to get the job done.

Most importantly, and this really goes for any sort of DIY maintenance work - KNOW YOUR LIMITS! If there's something you know that you can't do, don't try and do a botched job of it anyway as you'll end up having to pay even more to get it repaired properly.

----

With plumbers and gas engineers needed more than ever during these winter months, now if the perfect time to qualify as a plumber and/or gas engineer with an intensive Access Training course. We not only offer comprehensive training for beginners, but also ACS reassessment to those needing to give their qualifications an update. To find out more contact one of our course advisers on 0800 345 7492.

The summer months are behind us and despite a few more days of good weather, homeowners will soon be getting ready to turn their boilers and central heating on for the first time since the Spring. Houses are going to need heating, and when these boilers need maintenance and replacement who's going to be there to pick up the slack? Your local plumber of course!

With plumbers and gas engineers expected to see a rise in business over the next few months, if you've been considering a change in career to one of these trades now is the perfect time to make it happen. Earn your plumbing and gas qualifications on one of Access Training's range of professional trade courses, following which you'll be able to apply to join the Gas Safe Register - a legal requirement of anyone working on gas appliances in the UK. You'll then find yourself in a world of work with plenty of variety - you'll be meeting new people every day and no two jobs will be quite the same. Not only that, but the rewards are great too - and these only get better if you take the extra steps to become a self-employed tradesman.

Winter might be coming, but life as a plumber/gas engineer certainly won't leave you out in the cold. To find out more have a look at the course section of our website or chat with one of our sales team on 0800 345 7492.