Wanted skilled labour

The Office for National Statistics have recently reported that, in September, the number of job vacancies for skilled tradespeople reached beyond the 40,000 mark – for the first time since records began.

Construction firms across the UK are having to advertise en masse for more tradespeople, as they are simply running out. Battling material shortages and delays, as well as a dwindling workforce, firms are putting out the call for more skilled workers to carry out the rising demand for construction work. 

But despite rising salaries, higher rates, and plenty of work opportunities, they’re having a hard time finding enough people to get the job done. And September’s heights of demand has followed us to November, with 221,000 adverts were posted in the first week of the month across all sectors, taking the number of advertised roles up to a record high of 2.68 million, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, which tracks the number of job vacancy adverts.

Despite labour shortages, material shortages, and a slight reduction in the industry’s growth in recent months, the construction industry is still thriving. But that’s not to say there is no strain; a survey run by the Federation of Master Builders State of Trade found that 53% of builders are finding it hard to hire carpenters, and 47% can’t find enough bricklayers. 98% of those who responded also noted a substantial increase in the cost of materials. 

The Guardian reported on construction business owner Sebastian Przetakowski, who describes the difficulties faced by skills shortages following the double impact of Brexit and Covid. He notes that there is plenty of work coming in after the pandemic, particularly ‘from people with money for projects like extensions and loft conversions’. But he is struggling to find the a big enough workforce to complete the work that’s on offer, and fulfill the demand: 

 

‘I’m fully booked up to next year, and can’t take on any jobs because I can’t get the people. Everyone is struggling to find workers’.

 

The answer, then, is more workers. More skilled tradespeople who can make sure the constant demand for construction work is met. Przetakowski mentioned in the report that, despite his reduced workforce, those who are working for him have had a pay rise, ‘in order to reward them in some way’ for the extra workload they have been given. Doesn’t that sound like a promising trade-off?

So with construction vacancies at a record-breaking high, where will it go from here? Ian Anfield, the managing director of payroll firm Hudson Contract, suggests that it’s going to continue climbing. Although the end of lockdown support schemes helped get a number of people back into work, ‘there is still stiff competition for skilled labour and plenty of work for those who want it’, he says:

 

‘Demand for labour at this time of year is always high with clients and subcontractors wanting to get things done and earn some money before Christmas and the onset of the worst weather conditions in January’.

 

The long and short of it is, the construction industry will reward you highly. It will give you a career for life, and while demand is soaring, the pay is good. It is an indispensible industry, and one that needs your help. 

By Spring, Anfield predicts, productivity rates will be back at their pre-Christmas levels, and it’s only upwards from there. You can become a fully qualified tradesperson in this time – you just have to go for it. Reap the rewards of a highly productive, highly fulfilling industry. Get involved, get working, and get earning.

Call Access Training today and find out how we can make it a reality for you.


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

Skilled tradespeople

“We have come off a cliff edge’’, proclaims Jerry Swain, the national officer for construction at Unite the Union. He is talking about the UK’s current skills shortage, an issue which has been brewing for at least as long as the last decade, and intensified by the recent impacts of Brexit and Covid. With Boris Johnson’s dictum that we must ‘build back better’ ringing across media channels, industry leaders are beginning to question whether this ambition will be possible without a surge in new skilled tradespeople. 

“The industry has relied on foreign labour”, Swain continues. “It takes at least two years to make a decent bricklayer or carpenter. So now there is a limited pool to draw from”. It is an issue which has plagued industry leaders for over five years now – with a considerable dependence on EU workers making up the construction industry taskforce, what will happen when they eventually return to the EU? Without relaxing migrant visas to make the employment process more viable, it looks as though we have to depend upon homegrown skilled tradespeople. But is there enough being done to encourage this?

Well, considering the significant wage rise seen all across the board for tradespeople, it’s surprising that more people haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, though many have taken up the mantle and upskilled during the pandemic. Wages are skyrocketing for tradespeople. As an example, the Financial Times reported that the typical bricklayer is raking in around £220 per day, and often more. Before the pandemic, this figure was around £150-180, and this considerable growth is true of all trades across the board. Tradespeople are in such demand that they are able to command their salaries to an unprecedented level. Things have never looked more promising for those with the right skills – so why aren’t more people joining the workforce? 

Building companies are similarly baffled at the lack of available skilled tradespeople. A recent survey conducted by the Federation of Master Builders found that ‘more than half of its members were struggling to find the workers they need. The Financial Times also reported the case of Phil Wish, a builder and architect from Brighton, whose construction project was at serious risk of facing a long delay had he not had to muck in with the work himself, even convincing family members to help him out in order to get the job done. 

 

‘I couldn’t find an electrician for love nor money’, he says. The strain on the construction industry is taking its toll on smaller domestic projects, like Phil’s, as well as larger scale nationwide projects. All come under the umbrella of the Prime Minister’s promise to ‘build back better’, and Phil’s experience has left him less than hopeful: ‘you can’t build back better without enough builders’. 

 

Phil offers his opinion as to why more people aren’t joining the ranks of thriving tradespeople, putting it down to an “ingrained snobbery towards the trades”. He suggests that the perception of the trade industry is still serving as a huge obstacle to attracting bigger numbers of young skilled workers, despite attempts to change the image of construction. Trade jobs are, in Phil’s opinion, “seen as a last resort for kids who’ve failed to get into university". The enormous value, dignity and high-skilled nature of these jobs is not being sold to the masses, and it is of great importance that this message is communicated loud, clear – and quickly.

‘Build back better’ is beginning to absorb an essence of irony about it, as Boris Johnson’s promise is clearly under-delivering. Those within the trade industry are beginning to see it as something of a joke, as they continue to struggle with a dramatically limited workforce; projects are facing delays, and on top of this, material shortages are proving difficult to overcome. 

A survey by Homebuilders Federation found the following concerning statistics, to give a stark indication of just how much work there is to be done. For every 10,000 new houses built, 30,000 new recruits are needed; this includes 2,500 bricklayers, 1,000 carpenters, and 300 electricians. Considering that the UK Government has aimed for 300,000 new houses to be built every year, there is clearly a gargantuan task ahead of us.

But what is the solution? Further education colleges have been seen to be failing in their attempts to provide the country with the next generation of tradespeople. Jenny Herdman, director of the home building skills partnership at the Homebuilders Federation, has noted how potential young tradespeople are slipping through the cracks of these institutions, and suggests that as many as 60-70,000 young people who ‘could come into construction every year’ do not end up doing so. And even if those people are signing up for apprenticeships, this option takes too long to provide the UK with a supply of tradespeople in the necessary time.

Private training colleges such as Access Training are the way forward. Offering direct, dynamic training with the sole intention of setting you up for business, teaching you the skills you need, perfecting your craft and getting you onsite. It just takes one call for you to be a part of something bigger – a valued member of the trade industry. 


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

Recovery graph

Now one and a half years on since the Covid-19 pandemic effectively shut down the world, the dust appears to be settling on the construction industry’s state of affairs. There have been numerous obstacles, triumphs, setbacks, and delays of all kinds over this period. Material shortages, fears of redundancy, social distancing measures to be overcome, and the threat of site closures. At a time where such significant construction projects as HS2 are already behind schedule and costing ever greater amounts of money, this is the last thing we need. 

For the last year and a half, industry leaders have waited with baited breath, casting hopeful speculation and quiet apprehension on the future of the construction industry. Will there be opportunities for growth on the other side? Will there be careers for skilled tradespeople? Will we have the means to provide the country with the services it so desperately needs? 

But the industry has bounced back. Thanks to perseverance, discipline and brute determination to overcome these unprecedented challenges, we have powered through lockdown after lockdown, adjusting to the circumstances and ensuring that we get the job done. 

The construction industry has served as a crucial lifeboat for those whose careers were unfortunately left untenable by the pandemic’s ruthlessness. Redundancies across a range of sectors, such as hospitality and entertainment, meant that thousands of people across the country left their jobs, either voluntarily or otherwise. 

Thankfully, many of these people decided to retrain in trade and never looked back. A few months into the pandemic, it was evident that the services of tradespeople were going to remain in full demand – and someone had to provide those services.

It takes little digging to discover some striking evidence for the construction industry’s incredible performance and recovery over the last year or so. Not only have levels of productivity and profit returned to where they left off in March 2020, but quite often they have sky-rocketed past them. 

The construction firm Clancy Group, for example, reported that their profits actually tripled during this great year of disruptions in the midst of the pandemic. Their pre-tax profit came in at £11.1m as of 28 March 2021, up from £3.5m the previous year – a figure which beggars belief considering the circumstances. 

As the pandemic took its early toll in April and May of 2020, the company’s revenue dropped by 20%, and 500 of its 2,200 staff were forced into furlough. Things were not looking good, and the future was as uncertain as it seemed for the rest of the world. They had it as tough as anybody, but benefited greatly from the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which meant they were able to avoid making redundancies. 

Kevin Clancy, Chairman of Clancy Group, said with noted optimism that ‘the vast majority [of the Clancy workforce] have returned to work successfully’, thanks to the support offered by the CJRS. He continues: 

 

‘The pandemic has had a significant impact, but it has also highlighted the fundamental strength of our business. Within a few weeks of the onset of the pandemic, our team was predominantly classified as key workers and played an essential role in maintaining the country’s infrastructure throughout the pandemic’

 

These comments demonstrate the industry’s ability to get back on its feet with determination and dignity, and to ensure that last year’s delays are erased and made up for. They highlight the industry’s fundamental purpose in our society and in our daily lives, and it injects enormous value into the role of tradespeople. ‘Key workers’, ‘essential roles’, and ‘fundamental strength’ are not phrases to be taken lightly, and it is greatly inspiring to see that highly skilled tradespeople are being given the opportunities, protection, and security they deserve.

If you are considering becoming a skilled tradesperson, then now is the time to do so. There is no doubt whatsoever that the construction industry is picking itself up and moving the country forward. It is offering employment to a vast range of skilled and hardworking people, across a huge range of roles. It could be the career you never knew you needed – it could be yours for life. 

Access Training can give you the step up that you need to become trained, become confident in your skills, and to set out on your career. It’s only a call away. 


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

The easing of lockdown has brought with it countless developments within the world of construction and beyond. Our outlook on the world, our personal freedoms, and many elements of our behaviour have changed perhaps permanently. 

As we go on to explain in this article, some of our attitudes towards DIY construction projects have seemed to change over the course of the pandemic, with an increase in the amount of homeowners, especially in the younger generation, who are willing to undertake certain minor tasks across a range of vocations, whether it’s electrical, plumbing or carpentry work. 

A recent study conducted by the Plastic Sheets Shop showed that 40% of UK homeowners attempted their own DIY home improvement projects over lockdown, and that 35% are more confident in this area as a result. 

This enthusiasm and increased level of interest in being able to tackle DIY projects is very encouraging in terms of reaching our goal of supplying the construction industry with the next generation of tradespeople. If there’s a desire and enjoyment in being able to complete home improvements yourself, then why not make that your job?

DIY disasters

Some things, however, never change, and this includes our ultimate dependency on tradespeople to complete minor and major DIY work to a high and safe standard. One most notable development in the easing of lockdown has been the upsurge in the number of tradespeople who continue to be called out to people’s homes to complete a huge range of services. 

While these numbers remained consistent throughout previous lockdowns, with tradespeople in high demand and being able to safely carry out work despite restrictions, the recent surge is extremely promising, and shows that we need trained skilled tradespeople if we want serious work carried out to a high standard. 

The same study also revealed that, fortunately, the vast majority of people are still much more likely to call in a tradesperson to carry out the required work themselves. This is great news for those working in the trade – it demonstrates the consistent high demand and high rates that have been promised over the last year, and offers a bright light at the end of the tunnel for thousands of those working in the industry. 

 

Generating trust in your customers is crucial to forming a steady client base, and the figures revealed by this study suggest that the general public do have a very high level of confidence in tradespeople and the quality of work that they carry out. For example, 80.2% of those 45+, and 43.4% of those 18-45, would always bring in a tradesperson to complete work at home. 

 

Plumbing was the most in-demand trade for those who answered the survey, as it was seen as being more complex and requiring a high level of expertise. 70% of people surveyed answered that they would always call in a professional for any plumbing work. 34% answered that they would not know where to begin while performing the most minor of plumbing tasks, such as fixing leaky taps or unblocking drains, while 53% said that they would not be confident enough to attempt more major work themselves, especially complex tasks like installing plumbing fixtures such as toilets, sinks, or dishwashers.

The most revealing statistic, however, was that 40% of respondents actually regretted attempting the work themselves instead of hiring a professional! This is not a particularly good indicator of the quality of the work performed, and it goes without saying that hiring a professional – or becoming a qualified professional yourself – is only going to give you a better, and in the long term, more cost effective, outcome. 

Some trade work can be more forgiving to the DIY amateur – putting up a wonky shelf or changing a bulb isn’t going to result in disastrous consequences. But if there’s one thing the pandemic has shown, it’s that despite increased DIY efforts, people are still devoted to the services of the tradesperson, and that there truly is no adequate replacement for high-skilled, disciplined, professional work. 

Over the course of the pandemic, thousands of people have made the leap from their struggling professions to become skilled tradespeople, often after realising that they can save – and eventually make – money doing the work themselves. The opportunities for work are abundant, as is widely reported – wherever you look, there are indications that a career in the construction industry is well paid and in high demand. The trade industry has been and always will be a highly respected and essential industry with opportunities for everyone who wants to contribute their skills. 

Access Training is the place to develop and nurture these skills, and turn them into a viable and fulfilling career. It only takes one call, and we can take it from there.


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

Average weekly earnings for self-employed construction workers are continuing to skyrocket beyond pre-pandemic levels, as Hudson Contract’s last month’s payroll data has recently been made public. 

According to Hudson Contract, the UK’s largest supplier of tax status and employment contract services in the construction industry, last month saw the average weekly earnings for self-employed tradespeople rise to £904, giving skilled workers an extra £124 per month. And this is just the average, and varies from region to region within England and Wales. In the East Midlands, for example, labour costs have hit an all-time high at £1,014 a week.

 

Self-employed tradespeople

 

This is following a continuous surge in demand as the construction industry, and indeed other projects around the UK, get back on their feet. The construction sector, along with the country, has been injected with a surge of energy, following the introduction of regeneration, housing and infrastructural projects which are already underway. The opportunities and necessity for skilled workers is breath taking, and is being reflected by these figures of rocketing wages. 

The cost of skilled labour rose by 3.6% in July of this year, a rise which arrived at a fortuitous time for the industry: Hudson Contract reported in June that the construction sector saw the most substantial rise in earnings out of any UK sector since the beginning of the pandemic, at an enormous 14% increase. Earnings have been steadily rising throughout this year too, with evident growth from March through to the present time. In May, average weekly earnings were up 20% on pre-pandemic levels.

This substantial increase in weekly average pay is generating a very hopeful and vibrant feeling within the construction industry. Hudson Contract, the largest UK supplier of tax status and employment contract services for those working in the construction industry, have given indicators over the past year and a half of the superb health of the construction industry. 

 

Managing Director of Hudson Contract, Ian Anfield, exudes this optimism, and gives the healthy state of the housing market as one of the reasons for this continued surge in high productivity for the industry and high pay for workers: 

 

‘The housing market is booming with the price of the average UK home increasing by nearly £25,000 over the last year’, he says, and predicts that this advantageous state of affairs will be likely ‘to continue for the foreseeable future’. 

 

He puts this down to ‘big infrastructure investments’, backed by the government ‘as part of its “leveling up” agenda, which is adding to confidence in the sector’. 

Hopeful and confident times indeed for the construction industry, though there are, as ever, notable challenges ahead. Anfield notes that ‘shortages in building materials and skilled labour’ is one such obstacle, compounded by the global pandemic, after-effects of Brexit and the like. 

But one way of solving this issue is to ensure that potential skilled workers are aware of the multifarious opportunities for professional and personal growth within the construction industry at present – judging by the statistics and expert opinions, these conditions are only set to improve, with higher wages and higher demand ever on the horizon. 

Now is the perfect time to become trained as a tradesperson – this is indisputable. Train as a tradesperson now in order to reap the benefits of a healthy sector – the healthiest in the UK – which is repaying the price of training ten times over. Becoming a tradesperson is a lifelong investment, a quick way into a rewarding, fulfilling, and financially secure career. It will equip you with the skills, employability, self-confidence and discipline you’ve been looking for, and will give you work to be proud of. 

That £1000 a week could be yours in no time – all it takes is a call to Access Training. 


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

Get in touch to learn more about our training courses!

First Name *
Surname *
Telephone Number *
E-mail address *
Ask A Question *
 
Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character
Enter Letters (No Spaces) *