Construction activity may be on the rise, but sadly it seems the industry isn't completely free of problems just yet as the HSE alarmingly cut back on the amount of safety visits they make to sites. 

Wales in particularly has been hit hard as HSE inspectors cut back visits by 35% - incidentally the same proportion by which its budget has been cut. The information was gained by BBC Radio Wales who submitted a Freedom of Information Request to the HSE. Their inquiry revealed that the number of proactive (i.e. unannounced) inspections dropped from 818 in the 2011-12 period to 529 in 2012-13. The number of prosecutions dropped from three to zero in the same timeframe.

A drop in prosecutions might sound like a good thing and could naturally go hand in hand with less inspections, but alarmingly this has all happened at the same time as a safety blitz in September 2013. During this time, the HSE found that one in three Welsh sites breached safety regulations.

Obviously the news has been of much concern to construction trade unions, with Ucatt regional secretary Nick Blundell warning that the cuts were 'truly alarming'. He added: "Inspections save lives. This fall in inspections is putting construction workers in danger."

He also remarked that with construction finally on the recovery following the long recession, a fall in inspections is naturally going to mean less sites visited. This will be putting new entrants at risk, who are more vulnerable and therefore more at risk of suffering an accident.

This is why it isn't important to know all about health & safety measures on construction sites before starting your new career in the trade. Even the most experienced worker could be at risk, but those fresh out of a construction training course should be wary of what's around them. If you think that your work area is unsafe - don't be afraid to report it.

Via The Construction Index

The good news for the construction industry just doesn't seem to be stopping, as even more increase in activity has been noted by various reports. If you're about to complete a construction training course and are wondering where your entry into professional work may be, this news in particular may be of interest to you.

The latest from construction data experts Barbour ABI has revealed that house building is proving to be a huge factor in the industry's growth, altogether accounting for over a third of UK construction projects. Another piece of great news that came from it are that construction activity as a whole rose by 59.3% in January in comparison to December 2013. With residential projects accounting for 36% of that total growth, it not only goes to show the great state the industry is in right now but also how Government initiatives such as Help to Buy are providing an additional boost.

For students finishing up their qualifications and about to get into the construction industry, housing provides a wealth of opportunity to all trades. Think about it - bricklayers, carpenters, tilers, plasterers, painter/decorators...they're all needed in order to complete a house. You can even extent it out to the other trades. After all, who's going to fix the electrics, plumbing and gas in that house?

It's easy to just write that something is booming and therefore there's plenty of job prospects, but the evidence keeps on coming in that this is really the case when it comes to construction. Starting a career in the industry now is proving to be a very clever step indeed and here at Access Training Academy we can help you earn the qualifications to make it happen. We take pride in specialising in all of the main construction trades - something not many other centres can offer. Just take a look around our website and you'll see what we have on offer at our state-of-the-art Cardiff training centre,

To find out more about our range of courses, give Access Training a call on 0800 345 7492.

It was only two weeks ago that we wrote about how tradespeople need to be vigilant as their vans can often be a target for thieves, however further data from Freedom of Information requests has revealed construction sites themselves are also at risk.

The requests, sent to 27 police forces across the UK, shocking revealed that at least 100 construction sites are being raided every week by thieves - with a total of 6,000 separate incidents taking place between September 2012 and September 2013. Items targeted include tools, materials, plant and equipment, with lead/copper piping and power tools among the most commonly stolen. However that didn't stop thieves making off with mobile phones or laptops either.

What was most alarming about the incidents is that only 35% of them involved forced entry, with a further 5% due to "legitimate access" (i.e. entering with a key or stealing from an occupied site unnoticed). 21% of the incident sites were ones that had simply been left unsecured or protected by easily scalable fences.

It seems construction sites are being specially targeted, and safety measures (whether they are your own or the site as a whole) shouldn't be overlooked. It isn't just your employers items at risk - it's your own belongings as well. With an Access Training construction course, not only do we teach students the required skills and knowledge for a successful career, we also show them how to take proper care of their equipment to help ensure that they may never have to deal with an incident like these. Our experienced teaching staff are there to draw on their many years' experience in the business as well as offer the practical guidance, so you can be certain that you aren't just learning from a tutor - you're learning from a fully-fledged tradesperson. Phone 0800 345 7492 to find out more about our courses.

Via Construction Enquirer

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!

Even though we're only one month into it, 2014 is setting up to be a fantastic year for the construction industry and tradespeople alike with a seemingly constant stream of news to suggest Britain is truly climbing out of the recession and the industry has a long line of prosperity ahead of it. This doesn't look like it'll just mean more jobs in the industry for trainees currently going through various construction training courses, but improved benefits for you as well.

Reed, one of the largest recruitment companies in the UK, revealed that new vacancies on its website rose by 29% in January compared to 2013 - with construction and property leading the way with a 74% increase. This is due to the construction boom the industry is currently in the midst of, along with a significant rise in both private and public housing planned. Reed's statistics showed that around one in five of the national workforce actively searched for a new job in January.

However despite the gradual increase in job vacancies there have been over the last few months, the average salary hasn't seen much change at all. This is set to change though as a skills shortage, particularly in the construction industry, has become prevalent. Many fear that there is simply not enough trained labourers to replace those that will be retiring in the next five or so years - and so fully qualified plasterers, carpenters, tilers and bricklayers in high demand. Knowing that there's a construction boom currently taking place, workers have also gained newfound confidence in their careers. And of course, the ever-growing cost of living is also a factor in why employers are being pressured to (deservedly) increase pay.

So what does this mean for new construction trainees? Well, for starters there's never been a better time to start a career in the construction trade, whichever sector you think may be suitable for you! Qualified construction workers have always been in demand and commanded impressive salaries, but the industry really is at the top of its game right now - not only will you find yourself in an exciting and varied line of work, but your skills will be valued more than ever.

But what's the quickest and most effective way to break into the industry? College courses can be beneficial, but not only are many understaffed with limited facilities but they can also take years to complete. While the industry is expected to enjoy this "golden age" for a fair few years, there's no guarantee that the high demand for workers will last this long. What you need is an intensive trades training course - the very kind we provide here at Access Training Academies. Our training courses last a matter of weeks rather than months, and pack the same (if not better!) quality you'd find elsewhere. In smaller class sizes you'll learn from tutors with a number of years' experience in their field, completing both theory and practical work before earning valued qualifications here at our accredited Cardiff training centre. These qualifications come from awarding bodies such as City & Guilds, and represent exactly what a plasterer, carpenter, tiler or bricklayer need to break into the industry successfully.

To find out more about the construction training courses we offer, call Access on 0800 345 7492 and speak to one of our course advice team. They'll be happy to answer any questions you have and arrange a full tour of our facilities so you can see exactly what we do before signing up.

2014 is a brand new year - take hold of it and take the steps toward that new career you've always dreamed of.

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