"When I started, I had nothing. I put down my last £200 as a deposit, and I made that decision. You can never go wrong investing in yourself."

- Former plumbing student Leah Carney

Leah training for her new career as a plumber

Starting a new career - retraining and setting up your own business for the first time - is undoubtedly difficult. Not knowing the future can be stressful: will it work out? Am I making the right choice? Is now the right time to be doing this? Many unanswered questions, no firm solutions.

And as much as we might try to convince you that, yes, now is the right time, you might be more inclined to listen to those who have gone through the training process as students. To those who have come out the other side with a sparkling career ahead of them.

Leah Carney is a designer and former delivery driver who enrolled on one of our plumbing courses during the COVID-19 pandemic and never looked back. Our tutor Jamie caught up with Leah to find out how her new career was going.

 

Q: Hi Leah! Thanks for taking the time to speak today, I know you must be busy. How did your decision to retrain first come about?

Well, I was doing some delivery driving just to earn a bit of money, and to get myself through the COVID situation. But before that, I was doing design work - that's what my degree is in. And then I just decided to retrain; in the past, people have told me that I'd be really good at plumbing or gas, just because I'm good with my hands, I'm logical, a good problem solver, that sort of thing.

 

Q: And why Access Training in particular?

I just started googling and doing my research, and came across Access Training that way. I did ring a few places actually, but when I spoke to the team at Access Training, we just kind of got on. I then got invited to come and have a look at the centre and see the training in action, before actually putting any money down.

 

Q: What were your first impressions when you came?

Everything looked really good, everyone was working, and I was really impressed with the plumbing workshop that you've got there. And yeah, that's what made my decision. I signed up that day, there and then, and I think I started about a month and a half later.

 

Q: And the enrolment process was smooth?

Yeah it was, absolutely. Can't fault it.

 

Q: So obviously now you've moved on, and you're getting on with the online learning as well, so you're now able to redo the theory as many times as you want. How are you getting on with that? What sort of flexibility does that give you?

Do you know what? I think the online training is like a godsend. You're in a more relaxed environment, you're at home nine times out of ten, so you've got the time to sit down and fully concentrate. You can take breaks when you need to, you can go over and recap. I like to watch things; seeing things in action helps me to remember them, so if I'm reading something and I don't quite understand or I'm not quite getting it, I like to find a video of someone explaining it, and then I'll understand. So there's that benefit of it as well, because you can stop and start whenever you want.

 

Q: So it hasn't negatively impacted you, doing most of your training online?

No, not at all. You can do mock exams and different papers, and continue to do them until you get it right. Whereas when you're in a class, you only learn it once and then you leave. So again, I really like home-based learning; you still have to put the time in, but it definitely sticks in your mind more. I've enjoyed it.

 

Q: Do you think that helps you, when you come in for your practical training, the fact that your theory base is so much better?

Yes, because I reckon if you were to start with practical - or to sit your practical before your theory - you might get lost, trying to learn everything at once. So I think it's done the right way around. Then, when someone starts to explain more in depth, or uses a word you remember, you're able to ask questions there and then. So it definitely has a benefit.

 

Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your training so far? I know you've already done additional training courses to add more strings to your bow. How have you found starting out in the industry, despite everything that's going on?

Fortunately for me, I have got a degree and other skills that I can always use - skills that actually do come in handy with my plumbing, because it is still based around homes and construction. But because I have been upskilling in areas I know will benefit me in the future, it looks good on the CV as well. And I may now be ahead of other people who've been doing it for ten years, because I've actually put my head down and said 'right, I need XYZ kind of trades behind me'. I'm doing my plumbing, and my Level 2 electrics, so that's really come in handy. Now I can apply for jobs that are based more around the Part P side, so I can get a bit more money from that, and I get a bit more hands-on in a different sense.

 

Q: With your new plumbing career, how are you finding it out there at the moment? There's obviously a lot of work around at the moment. Is that the case for you?

Definitely. There's a lot of work. Applying for a job isn't always straightforward, but the plumbing training definitely looks good on my CV. I have found that being a woman also gives me an edge, because I know there aren't many females in plumbing companies. I've found that with all my certificates and qualifications so far, employers are definitely interested. And it's given me the confidence to go out and do my own jobs privately as well.

 

Q: As I understand it, you're currently starting up a business on your own and having the best of both worlds, right? Do you feel like you've made the right decision by retraining and starting a new career?

Yeah, one hundred per cent. Retraining was definitely the best thing I ever did, and it was money well spent. At the time it probably doesn't feel like that, but if you put your head down and have a goal - a vision for where you want to be, and why you're doing it - then there'll be no stopping you. Because of the qualifications and the kind of practice you get with Access Training, you can absolutely go out there and be confident that you know what you're doing. I think especially as the government is pumping money into the trade industry, it looks like there's a long future in upskilling from where I am at the moment.

 

Q: So what's the next step in your career? You said you're moving into electrical work - where do you see that leading?

At the moment, I'm working on my brand, my logo and my website, and designing all of that. Because I have the skills to do it, I'm relying on myself to do all that. So that's the next step, plus maybe doing some emergency and weekend work.

 

Q: That's got to be quite exciting for you - to be developing all that stuff for yourself?

Yeah, it is. I mean, I've never opened a business, and for anyone to start out doing that, it's quite daunting. But I like to do my research and know what I'm doing, and kind of get my feet in there. So it's exciting, and I'm hoping that will kick off in the next couple of months, because I don't think there's a better time to do it than while we're in lockdown. There are more people staying at home, and they're doing more things to their houses, or they've got more time to have someone in to do work. And a lot of people I speak to have struggled to keep a good plumber or find someone they trust. I'd like to think that I have that kind of rapport with people; even if I don't know you, I'm always thinking of the customer and wanting to give the best possible service. I always explain what I'm doing, and that always pays off and works really well.

 

Q: And obviously, there are lots of resources on the Access Training portal to help you do all of that. You have contacts at the centre that you can still use, and your tutors can still help you once you've left.

Yeah, absolutely. I cannot fault anyone from the college at all - any time I've had a question or an email, they've always responded, even if it's a day or two later. They've always been so helpful. All the tutors, including yourself of course Jamie; I speak to Emma and the girls in the office; everyone's been helpful, and everything is transparent. There's nothing you don't know.

 

Q: I suppose the fact that we're still in touch proves your point!

Of course! And the great thing about that is that, if I explain my situation and tell you I need X, Y and Z, you can find a way to help that suits me. That's really been the forefront of it for me, to be honest: the fact that you really get to know the guys at the college. I imagine you go to other training centres, and once you've left, they think they don't need to know you. But with you guys, it's been a long time since I finished, and we're still in contact, as you say. I've come back now to do my electrical training and things like that - that's thanks to you guys.

 

Q: Finally, what kind of advice would you give to someone else looking to change careers right now - someone who's stuck in a rut? They might be on furlough or something, so how would they go about retraining?

I know there are people out there facing a really bad situation, and when I was looking to retrain, I was too. But I took the risk. I knew what I needed to do, and when I went with you guys, I used the last money I had to do it - and it was so worth it. All of you were so accommodating; if there were ever any issues, you guys helped. So my advice for anyone out there who's thinking about it is this: you just need to take that leap and do it. It's investing in yourself. You can never go wrong investing in yourself. Before you know it, if you put your head down, you could be ready to start before you realise.

 

Q: Thank you so much for your time, Leah, and best of luck for the future!

Thank you for everything!

* * *

And there you have it. You don't need to take our word for it - just look at Leah as an example of how retraining can change your life.

Browse Plumbing Courses

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

 

We’re now already making headway into 2021, and our new year’s resolutions have likely already fallen by the wayside. But this is one resolution that is worth sticking to: getting your career and future on track. 

At the turn of 2021, Access Training was featured in a ‘Top Ten’ list by The Sun newspaper, naming it as one of ten companies in the UK that can significantly change your life around for the better. 

 

It touches on the difficulty of 2020 for thousands, stating that ‘many industries have been hit hard’, the downfall of this ‘resulting in mass redundancies’ – and they are not wrong. 1.7 million people have been made redundant since the outset of the pandemic, and this is unfortunately predicted to rise to 2.6 million by the middle of this year

If you’re in an uncertain career, trapped in an endless furlough limbo, then this must be taking its toll on your mental health and your ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s no life to live, being constantly in the dark about what’s to come, or where the next payment will come from, and what life will be like beyond furlough and the pandemic. Will there still be a career left for you at the end?

Thankfully, the construction industry is still on its feet, to say the least. It has been named among the two highest industries in the UK which has more job vacancies than it did pre-pandemic. Tradespeople have been kept in such high demand, with work and productivity sky high, and worker’s rates have gone through the roof and look likely to rise as 2021 progresses. That’s more work and more money in your pockets for it. It truly is now or never to become trained in construction. 

The Sun identified Access Training’s importance in getting the show back on the road, as it describes the ‘bespoke, industry-leading, fast-track training’ which we provide. For thousands of people, we have already transformed careers and futures by giving them new opportunities, new skills, and new qualifications. Employers have snapped them up, or they’ve gone out for themselves and started businesses. It’s an exciting and fulfilling career, and it’s one that you need to be a part of. 


So, listen to The Sun, and give Access Training a call to make your year one worth remembering. Make 2021 the year that you bounced back after a tumultuous 2020; make it the year that you made your future happen. If you’re good with your hands, good with your head, and willing to work hard at learning a new skill – then what are you really waiting for?

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

“Output has increased for two months in a row and momentum is increasing. June’s 23.5% surge was triple the 7.6% growth seen in May… The recovery is still young and fragile, but so far it is taking the hoped-for V-shape.”

Gareth Belsham, Naismiths. Construction Enquirer, June 2020


The wider economic outlook is grim for the UK, that's been extensively reported. The OECD has forecast that the UK’s national income will slump by 11.5 per cent this year, greater than that of France, Italy, Spain and Germany. Brexit will also have an impact on the economy, but that’s another potential issue.

However in spite of all the negative predictions, the trades sector has much potential as it represents the spearhead by which government investment generates growth. These measures will seek to boost the economy in a manner not seen since the end of the Second World War.



“History shows the construction industry is the tried and tested means of driving economic recovery, just as it did after the Second World War”

Paul Gandy, managing director of Interserve Construction, Construction News 3rd July 2020



An article in Construction News in July of this year, written by Paul Gandy, managing director of Interserve Construction, highlighted the positives that could then filter down through all areas of the industry. He highlighted that jobs would be secured and created across manufacturing, architecture, planning, engineering, distribution and construction, plus many other indirectly related jobs.

He also goes on to state that the construction industry as a whole provides people with new jobs quickly and the money that is invested gives a speedy return. With the government now looking to prioritise their spending they could do no better than to provide people with a level of funding needed to create these new skilled jobs in the trades.



“If the government prioritises job creation, skills and infrastructure spending – as the prime minister has pledged – the industry could be well placed to bounce back quickly following an extremely challenging period.”

 

Paul Gandy also made it clear how valuable the sector is to the UK economy as a whole: 

 

“In 2018, the economic output of the construction sector, according to the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), was worth £413bn, equivalent to 8.6 per cent of GDP. This is nearly four times the combined annual output of the aerospace and automotive industries.”



The construction sector itself is huge with over 900,000 sole traders amongst the 3,000,000 people who are directly or indirectly working in the industry - There are also just under 1,000,000 people that are regarded as self-employed.

There is still a long way to go to ensure that these prospects are fulfilled and we have some way to go before we reach a full and sustained recovery. Demand for construction projects will continue to increase, although nobody knows exactly when this will happen, as Ragene Raithata, a senior associate in the construction and infrastructure practice at DWF Group, importantly reminds us: 



“In a post-pandemic world there will still be a requirement for more homes, urban regeneration, improved infrastructure, improved offices, retail space and more distribution facilities. We all know from past downturns that a robust construction sector will emerge but how and when, we just do not know.”



Homes will always need building, infrastructure will always need developing, modernising, adapting – and we will need it now more than ever before. When things do return to normal, Britain needs the workforce to contribute to its road to recovery, to fulfill its prophecy of re-growth. We need to create our own masterplan for revival to see us out the other end – but most importantly, we need skilled tradespeople who are able to get the job done.

It is no overstatement to predict that the construction industry will provide the means of rebuilding our country: physically, economically, and mentally. And who knows? The next decade might see the UK economy becoming dependent on the continued growth of the construction industry. 

Whatever happens, we’ll need skilled tradespeople to get the job done – and you could be one of them.

Enquire for a course today



Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

"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."

Jimmy Adkins, Access Training Academies Tutor speaking to Robert Peston from ITV

Today’ Rishi Sunak announced his ‘Wage Top-Up’ scheme, a plan which effectively allows employers to work a third of their hours for almost the same wage; that is, 77% of their salary for one third of their normal working day. Another skilful avoidance of complete redundancy, another catastrophe missed; but ultimately a temporary measure to delay the inevitable. 

And let’s not forget, that this indicates a reduction in payment from the previous 80% salary offered by the furlough scheme. What happens to people already struggling to make ends meet, now met with a 3% reduction? What will happen at the end of another 6 months when industries are on their knees? 

There is a great cause for concern, as Paul Johnson, head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, predicted that 2 million people could lose their jobs by the end of this year. He called Sunak’s new plans ‘significantly less generous than the furlough scheme’; he also makes a crucial point, that only those currently working more than a third of their usual hours will benefit from this updated system – those not working at all will lose their jobs.

But we at Access Training want to reach out and reassure you that all is not lost. We want to point out the ways in which this period is an opportunity to grasp, that now is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Here are 5 tips on how to navigate the new furlough as a worker:



  1. Use gained time to retrain and prepare 

A lack of time and resources are no longer a reason not to invest in a training course. With Sunak’s new scheme announcement, you have the same wage, but two thirds more free time than before. What better way to use that free time than to upskill, retrain, and prepare for the next phase? It’s a no brainer – invest your time wisely.

 

  1. Plan ahead for the worst

If your sector, business, industry of work is likely to be one of those about to crumble, then planning ahead is crucial to avoiding a redundancy further on down the line. Why leave it to chance? Why not join the thousands of chefs, pilots, solicitors, cab drivers, and many other professionals, who are enrolling on a course with us?

 

  1. Keep your options open

Regardless of what line of work you have been, or are currently in, a construction course will cater for you. And with every other sector now under threat from financial ruin and collapse, wouldn’t it be better to have the option to jump ship if it had to come to that? 

 

  1. You have nothing to lose, everything to gain

As you read this, construction courses are reaching peak demand with new students leaving their careers to begin afresh in construction. With the continued uncertainty ahead, this makes perfect sense: a sturdy and dependable industry, guaranteed work and high demand. Upskilling is a win-win situation: you become more employable, you expand on your professional skills, and you gain qualifications which will always benefit you. In these times, it’s best to leave nothing to chance. 

 

  1. Believe in yourself – remain hopeful

As soon as self-belief is lost, then getting yourself back on your feet and moving forward can become impossible. We are here to assure you that Access Training is your way out and up to security and confidence. As Sunak inspiringly noted in his announcement speech:

 

"What was true at the beginning of the crisis remains true now. It’s on all of us, and we must learn to live … without fear.

Live without fear, and take the leap you’ve been meaning to take – because now really is the time." 



Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

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.

Browse Our Trade Courses >

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

"Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together." - Marilyn Monroe

Restart your career

If you're one of the thousands who have been furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what should you do next? And could you turn your furlough experience into a career opportunity?

If you are in this situation, what options do you have? Do you persevere and hope things will eventually return to normal...or do you know, deep down, that this may not happen? Should you look for a new job now, or think big and chase your long-held aspiration to start something new?

As it stands, thousands of people in the UK are already finding themselves out of work. Others are being protected from this fate - for now - by the government's furlough scheme, putting them in a state of employment. But with the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme ending soon, the threat of redundancy is looming ever closer for furloughed employees.

Furlough figures - September 2020

What should you do if you're one of the people affected by this situation? You may be feeling very stressed right now, but the end of furlough could also be your opportunity to begin something new - something far more rewarding than the 'normal' that you knew before.

The furlough scheme is due to end on 31 October, so there's no time to waste. Here are 5 steps that you should consider:

 

1. Contact your employer if you haven't already done so.

Don't be afraid - even if you've barely spoken to your employer while you haven't been working, you can still get in touch now to request some details about your situation and the company itself. You may even wish to ask how the economic forecast is shaping up; does it look like the business will still be able to employ you after October, once the furlough safety net has been taken away?

 

2. Take some time to reflect.

Really focus on what you desire from your life. Think about your career and your professional needs: what do you want to do now, and which direction do want to go in?

 

3. Consider whether you really want to return to your old job.

Ask yourself simple, direct questions: 'Am I happy to return to this job if it's still there? Is this genuinely the career I want, the work I find most fulfilling? Can I see a long-term future for this industry and my place in it?'

 

4. Plan your next steps.

If redundancy is inevitable - or if you've decided that, regardless of whether your position remains secure, you don't want to go back to the old normal - then it's time to think about what you want to do next. Do you take this opportunity to retrain and learn some new skills? Identify what knowledge and qualifications you'll need to make your dream career a reality, then find out how best to reach the required level.

 

5. Look for a clear, realistic career path.

Above all, look for the path that will lead to real opportunities in an area that's sustainable and growing. Whether you're looking to reboot or switch careers entirely, now is a great time to dream big and start building a new picture of your future career.

 

Sometimes, the most important decisions are the ones made for us. As daunting and unprecedented as the current crisis is, it could be your springboard to improved career prospects, especially if you have a long-term goal or ambition that didn't seem realistic before.

Inevitably, emotion will be a factor when you're asking yourself the big questions. It's impossible to provide a detached, purely rational answer to questions like 'If my profession ceased to exist, what career would I want to pursue instead?' or 'How can I reinvent myself?' If you've always thought about re-skilling (or up-skilling) but didn't have the inclination or the need a year ago, now may be the perfect time to take that leap, but use your head to think clearly - don't be swayed entirely by your emotions.

Ultimately, life is never without its difficulties, and there are bound to be setbacks along the way. We can't plan for every single occurrence, but what matters is how you bounce back and move forward. There's always light at the end of the tunnel, and this crisis won't last forever.

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

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Image source: Pexels

"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

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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!

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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.

 

In recent years, the rate of young people applying for university has increased dramatically. As of 2011-2012, 49% of all 18-year-olds attended university - the highest level recorded to that date.

Alternatives to University

Image source: Kit via Wikimedia Commons

Although this number fell from around 1,100,000 to around 975,000 in 2012 due to the substantial increase in tuition fees, the UK’s university graduate intake has slowly risen again, touching on the 1,000,000 mark in 2014-2015. Even so, university remains the most popular route into the working world for young people.

But at what cost? 

With so many young people going to university, many industries and trades are bearing the brunt of rapid decline in growth, despite demand remaining just as high, if not higher.

What’s more is that university seldom fulfills the expectations of those attending. On average, around 24,840 UK graduates per year are employed in admin, secretarial jobs, office jobs, or as waiters, bartenders, road sweepers and self stackers, and 58.8% of UK graduates end up in jobs not related to their degree. Given that 26,000 students dropped out of university in 2013/14, it might not be all that it’s cracked up to be.

Read more: I’ve Dropped Out Of University: What Can I Do Next?

A perhaps more concerning statistic is that over 16,700 students are unable to find work six months after leaving university; despite teachers, parents and perhaps students themselves preferring university as the ‘safe’ option, these figures suggest otherwise.

If you are among the growing number of school leavers and students who feel that university might not be the right choice, read on for 5 alternatives to university that you may wish to consider.

1. Apprenticeships & Traineeships

If you’d prefer not to pay the thousands of pounds for tuition fees at university, but still need to acquire valuable skills and qualifications, then an apprenticeship or traineeship might be the best route for you.

Apprenticeships and traineeships are very good alternatives to university. They give you the opportunity to experience the world of employment, whilst earning a decent wage; you’ll also gain a qualification on completion.

In essence, it’s like paid work experience in your chosen field, and one which will greatly increase your employability. Combining valuable work experience and training will give you the necessary skills to start your chosen career path.

Today, apprenticeships and traineeships are not restricted to the traditional trade routes alone - they include a vast range of careers, from engineering to accountancy, publishing to veterinary science.

Read More:10 highest paid jobs that don’t require a degree

2. Gap Year

If you’re still undecided about which direction you want to take by the time you finish school, there is no need to despair. People don’t always know for sure what it is they want to do, perhaps not until years later.

Gap years are an increasingly popular choice for people in this situation. Taking time to consider all your available options, give yourself a break from education, and perhaps get some life experience working or travelling, can certainly be beneficial.

It might also be an opportunity to gain new qualifications in your spare time and enhance your personal statement or CV to improve your employability.

3. Get a Job

Not everybody is destined for an academic route. And it’s perfectly acceptable to hop off the education train after your GCSEs or A Levels and head straight into the working world.

If you aren’t interested in an academic future, but would much rather get your hands stuck in, the last thing that’ll appeal to you after finally leaving school is... well, more school

A good option for you could be to cash in on the qualifications you’ve earnt at your time in school and begin your working life at 16 or 18 years old. If you have the right attitude and are hard working, you could find yourself moving from rung to rung on the career ladder in no time.

4. Studying Overseas

Why not combine a gap year with a university experience and study overseas? If you are excited by both the idea of travelling and learning, this might be the way to go.

With several overseas studying schemes available to students, this option is increasingly popular. It is considered favourably by employers, who feel that such students are often flexible and culturally mobile, which can set you apart from other employees.

Alternatively, you could study overseas as part of your course, if not for the whole duration of it. Many courses today offer a year’s placement in another country which could provide both a hugely beneficial insight into your study, whilst providing you with those experiences which come with travelling.

5. A Career in the Trade Industry

Trade Career - Alternative to University

Not everybody wants to continue down the academic route after school, and the trade industry is an excellent alternative to higher education.

Tradespeople such as plumbers, electricians and gas engineers are thriving off the skills shortage that's currently plaguing the industry. As a result, the trade industry is set to boom.

In addition to this, with a rapidly rising UK population and huge housing and road developments proposed for the future, tradespeople are virtually guaranteed a healthy, stable and rewarding career.

With a huge workforce needed to make these developments happen, as well as the maintenance and installation of appliances for years to come, a career as a tradesperson could be the perfect for you.

Become a Fully-Qualified Tradesperson with Access Training

If a career in the trade appeals to you more than going university, take a look at the courses available at Access Training today.

With the help of our experienced course advisors, we can put you on the right path to a successful, fulfilling career. Talk to us today for more details.

We're well over the halfway point of 2014 and even now the construction industry's huge growth spurt still shows no signs of slowing down. There have been so many pieces of news coming out lately that doing a blog post for every one of them would have taken ages! So here we've put together some of the latest headlines to have hit trade and construction news websites to show why it is a better time than ever for Britons to consider a career in the construction industry;

That's quite a few stories, all of which are pointing to the same two conclusions - construction growrth is at an all-time high, and skilled workers are going to be desperately in need to make sure this growth continues. Whether you're a school leaver or someone looking for a fresh start in a brand new job, Access Training Academies can help make that career in the construction industry happen. We specialise in all forms of construction training, including carpentry, plastering, tiling, bricklaying and painting/decorating - all of which have been specially designed to train you to the level of professional in a short and effective time frame. Along the way you'll earn the proper qualifications needed to start your new career, learning from tutors who've spent years' working in the industry. Despite the short timeframe, there's no quality skimped on our courses and you'll also have the additional benefit of learning trade secrets from those who know the ins and outs of the business.

For more information on our range of construction courses, give Access a call on 0800 345 7492 today and we'll find the perfect construction course for you.

We've posted plenty of blog entries about how changing careers into construction right now because of the big industry boom that's going on, but what about the other great reasons beside wages and job opportunity? New research from AXA Business Insurance looked at hundreds of UK tradespeople to find out more about them.

The old stereotype of trade work just being for those who don't want to go to/dropped out of university couldn't be more wrong, with over a third of respondents (37%) being university educated. Meanwhile 83% had formal qualifications in their respective trades (such as an NVQ Level 2 diploma), and 70% had gotten where they are today through an apprenticeship. In turn, more than half had then extended these opportunities to other newcomers to the trade by offering a formal apprenticeship within their own businesses.

Another stereotype that's slowly being broken down is that trade work is just a man's game. Though the growing amount of female tradespeople still only represented one in ten within the research, two thirds of these were under the age of 35 - suggesting that many women are now considering it to start our careers.

The decision to be your own boss and go self-employed is also proving to be increasingly popular - with over half of respondents going on to set up their own business. 28% revealed that their introduction into the trade was through a family business, while half also said they had worked in another industry before settling on their trade. That just goes to show how it's never too late to make a career change!

So how about a bit more of their working routine? According to the data, the UK's tradespeople are working an average of 41 hours a week, taking around 2 and 3/4 week's holiday a year. The majority (89%) will work weekends some of the time while one in five always work weekends. But despite this, when asked to rate their job happiness on a scale of 1 to 10, the average came out at eight suggest most tradespeople are content with their way of life. And of course, if working weekends is going to be a problem, as a self-employed tradesperson you'll be able to choose your own hours!

So there you have it, the other side as to why joining a trade can be an amazing career path. This research just highlights how tradespeople can come from all manner of different backgrounds with different skillsets, but all get to enjoy the same rewards. The same applies to our trades training courses - we welcome students from all different backgrounds, gender, experience and skill levels. All you need with us is the determination to make your new career a reality. To find out more about the range of electrician, plumbing, gas and construction courses we have on offer, please just give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

Via HVP Mag

Why not start a new career?The steps to retrain and start a new career aren't quite as hard as many people think, but there's always one obstacle that makes the decision much harder than it needs to be - fear. The fear of it not quite working out, the fear of what other people might think of your new career path, the fear of struggling to find (and pass) the training you require...these and many other fears are preventing people from making their dreams come true. However, these fears will only stop you if you let them, and this can be avoided with three simple steps to helping that dream career become a reality.

Play to your strengths

The various construction/trade industries all rely on different skillsets that realistically may or may not be suitable. Trades such as bricklaying or plastering place greater emphasis on physical strength and stamina, while electrical and gas engineering training require more theory knowledge and calculating skills. Knowing what you excel at is the key to making your new career a success, but be sure to also do a good amount of research into your potential new career before starting down the path. What qualifications do you need? Where can you train? What will the course entail? These are the kind of questions you should be asking, and ones that our team of course advisors would also be happy to answer for you.

 

Take it one step at a time

Even if you're dead-set on what you want to do with your life, the thought of rushing into a new career can still be incredibly daunting. At the same time, procrastinating can also doom something to failure before it's even gotten properly off the ground. Don't just make a website or twitter and then leave it to die; instead, wait until you're good and ready to do things like that . Take it slowly - we've already mentioned research, so move on to writing your goals down on paper. Discuss your plans with friends and family - you never know, they might have work that needs doing that you can eventually take on or even have some handy contacts in the industry. Come to one of our training centres, have a look around, and discuss your needs with our course advisors. Then, when you feel ready, you can book the date for your training course and have plenty of time to prepare yourself.

 

Prepare a safety net

While we by no means think failure is a likely thing (in fact, we're confident it'll be quite the opposite), it would be wrong of you to not prepare for the worst just as a precautionary measure. Make sure you have an idea of where you could turn for a job should your new career not turn out the way you expect, and then once that's written down, keep it safe and you need never think about it again unless it comes up. It's also good to be sure you have ample finances to keep yourself afloat while you're training. If you're currently employed you might want to hold onto that job for as long as possible while you retrain. This is why we've made our courses flexible - so that you can train when you have the time.

 

That should get some of the fear out of the way! Now, here are some very real facts that demonstrate why now is the time to start a new career as a professional plumber, electrician, gas engineer or construction worker. The UK is always short of professional tradespeople to perform all kinds of domestic installations and fixings, and with new housebuilding on the rise that shortage is only going to increase. There simply aren't enough bricklayers, plasterers, carpenters and tilers around to help set the houses up, and even when there are, where are the electricians, plumbers and decorators who are able to turn that house into a home?

Construction/trade careers are cited among the happiest around, offering the right level of challenge to match the skills required. The hours and pay rate are enviable too, especially if you choose to go self-employed!

Still, there's no wrong time to start a new career. These trades aren't just a young man's game, nor are they something best suited only to older people; if you've got the drive and dedication to earn your qualifications and make the dream come true, then you're exactly what employers are looking for.

To find out more about what's on offer here at Access Training, give us a call on 0800 345 7492. Keep your end goal in sight, and then not even fear will be able to stop you.

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