While we often discuss the need for skilled tradespeople in the context of the UK skills shortage, it is refreshing to be able to encourage people into the industry for more positive reasons; namely the demand and profit currently being witnessed by UK businesses. Today, BDaily reported that 2016 has been a great year for UK tradespeople so far, with revenue increasing due to the high demand being witnessed by companies, particularly in areas such as house-building.

Thanks to the regular requirement of their services, companies have found that they are not experiencing 'dry patches' without work, and are in-fact, having to extend their waiting lists to keep up with enquiries. Thanks to this demand, employers within these sectors are able to take on more staff, with 24% agreeing that they expect to do so this year. Thanks to these positive predictions, tradespeople are also feeling more contented with their industry prospects and work life, with a whopping 91% reporting this to be true. 

With the demand for work growing, and employers offering new, exciting opportunities on a regular basis, now is the perfect time to enter into a trade profession. Not only will you have access to a wide range of employers, you will also gain the opportunity to choose from a variety of working environments, from large operations to smaller enterprises in the residential sphere. Right now, there are a fantastic set of work prospects waiting to be taken advantage of, whether you see yourself as a future business owner, a self-employed freelancer or simply a regular trade employee. Whatever your ambitions may be, the best way to gain access to this flourishing field is to gain the best training possible, in order to lay steady foundations for your future career.

At Access Training, we provide a wide range of courses to cover every experience level, from total beginners to trade professionals. Whether you're looking to change your career completely, refresh your skills, or add another skill to your portfolio in order to seek a wider range of work, we have the resources to support you through your transition. (refresh know) We offer a selection of courses in all the key trades, from plumbing and electrical to bricklaying and carpentry, as well as many more! 

To explore our full range of courses, click here, or get in touch with us for more information and guidance! 
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In the UK we are in the midst of uncertain times. Are we going to stay in the EU? What impact will it have on the trade industry if we leave the EU? Plus other factors including the slowdown in growth of china’s economy and the falling costs in oil prices due to the increase of oil being produced by the US.

There are many theories suggesting that if the UK leaves the EU, then our construction industry will begin struggling because here in the UK, we rely heavily on people from Eastern Europe to come and work on our construction sites. In fact we mentioned in a past blog post that many sites will not be able to meet their deadlines, or even function without Eastern European people.

However, a recent survey conducted by Construction News, states that over 2016 53 per cent of companies who took part in the survey were planning on actually increasing their work force. The remaining 47 per cent said that they were planning on maintaining their current workforce levels. Surprisingly none of the companies that participated in the survey anticipated a reduction in their current workforce.

The current forecast for the construction industry is that there will be steady growth over the next few years. Our government has clearly stayed committed to building new homes, building new developments, and revamping tired looking city centres, coupled with high levels of domestic demand for tradespeople, the future is certainly looking positive for the tradespeople of the UK.

Because we are experiencing a national skills shortage, people will be recruiting more this year to help fill the gap, whether there UK leaves the EU or not.  So, in our minds, and the minds of all of our students here at access training, there has never been a better time to change your career and train to become a PlumberElectricianBricklayer or a Carpenter.

If you are interested in learning more about our trade courses, feel free to contact us today! 


Back in December, we wrote a blog discussing the possibility of an 'Uber for electricians', essentially; an app that would allow tradespeople to connect with homeowners where and when they were needed. Since then, this prospect has become more of a reality for the UK, as a man from Lincoln sets his sights on a £500,000 growth project to expand his business, using crowding to back his plans.href

Paul Gascoigne, who shares his name with the former international footballer, launched his trading app last September with a view to eventually expanding his efforts. Since its launch,  the app has gained over 1, 3000 installs on devices, and has more than 1,000 active users. Mr Gascoigne hopes that with sufficient funding, he will eventually be able to able to expand his business further, setting a goal of obtaining 100,000 users by the end of the year.

If the campaign for funding is successful and the app continues to grow in popularity, the app could soon become a staple amongst tradespeople UK wide, but is this a good thing? To weigh in on the issue, we thought we'd draw up a list of pros and cons which outline the possible benefits and drawbacks that such a plan could have, along with the impact this could have on the industry as a whole.

Pros

Flexibility: One benefit of this type of service would be the flexibility and ease with which tradespeople would be able to accept offers of work, allowing them to advertise their services in a convenient and fuss-free way. According to current user Pete Stothard, it is also useful for filling in unexpected gaps in a tradesperson's schedule, due to issues such as last minute cancellations.

Honest Review System: One plan for the app is to add a review system, whereby users would be able to leave recommendations and view those of others, to see how many a tradesperson has received, and perhaps even to find out if they have been recommended by a friend.

Better for Self-Employed Tradespeople: This app could make it easier for self-employed tradespeople to gain work and reach new customers, by allowing them to offer a fast and efficient service. People just starting out or deciding to go it alone may find it difficult to compete with larger, more well-known firms, but an app like this could present them with an opportunity to link with new customers and gradually build their reputation.

Cons

Lack of Face-to-Face Contact: Charlie Mullins, founder of successful London plumbing firm 'Pimlico', says he does not think that these apps would offer the same level of trust as traditional methods. According to him, this type of service would not be able to compete with established trade businesses, simply due to the fact that a personalised level of customer service would be able to be replicated on this scale.

Risk of Fast Service Over Good Service: Another possible drawback that comes with this sort of service, is the possibility of a customer choosing the option that takes the least effort, over the option that would offer them the best service. Just as people who shop online often choose the cheapest option with the fastest delivery time, it could be the case that customers turn to this app for the sake of convenience, as opposed to doing some research and seeking out the best option for their requirements.

More Issues in Service Delivery: Like any third party service, this app could create more problems than is solves in some senses, particularly in relation to issues such as payment and review systems. If the app goes offline for a period due to technical issues, will this affect the customers relying on services and the tradespeople who are expecting to receive calls to work? The review system would also have to be well-thought out an thoroughly monitored to be successful, in order to prevent rival firms and others with ill will from unfairly impacting an individual's reputation.

As with any industry, the future of tradespeople will no-doubt rely on technology in one way or another, although the true extent of this is not yet clear. As the app continues to gain momentum, we should be able to examine its impact more closely, and gain a clearer image of how it is changing the business for better or worse.

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Today - the 8th of March, 2016 - is International Women's Day. This annual event began more than 100 years ago, and every March it serves as a great opportunity to celebrate the amazing achievements of women all over the world.

However, IWD is also an opportunity to highlight the many areas where gender equality still hasn't been achieved, and regrettably, our own field is a prime example. Female workers are still astoundingly rare in the construction and trade industries; according to this article from last year, women account for just 11% of the UK construction industry's total workforce, and only 1% of those women actually work on construction sites. Women are similarly under-represented in trades such as plumbing and electrical work, and while the ratios are beginning to shift,  it's clear that there's still a long way to go.

So how can we encourage more people to learn a trade and join these male-dominated industries? First of all, people need to change their attitudes towards tradeswomen, and that applies both to the general public and to representatives of the trades in question. A couple of years ago, the Telegraph ran an article suggesting that roughly one-third of the UK population would be "suspicious" of a female electrician, and countless tradeswomen have shared their stories of the sexist remarks that come their way . Here's one example from Hattie Hassan, founder of Stopcocks Women Plumbers (originally reported on Sky News in 2014):

"Someone sent me an email saying, 'Look, love...plain and simple, women can't be plumbers. You'll break a fingernail and have to go out shopping to console yourself. Or you'll go running screaming when you see a spider.'"

Clearly, these sort of attitudes aren't helping anybody - it's easy to see why a budding female plumber or gas engineer might be put off. For this reason, we also need to do work harder to encourage women to join these trades in the first place, and that responsibility, at least to some extent, falls to training providers like us. The promotional materials distributed by construction/trade training centres are often targeted specifically at male learners, but this approach benefits nobody - after all, it's in the training provider's interest to attract as many new students as possible, regardless of gender.

Here at Access Training, we try to make people of all genders/races/backgrounds feel welcome at our training centres. We realise that we could still be doing more - for example, most of the photos currently on our website are of men, not women. But the sad fact of the matter is that, right now, most of the people who enquire about our courses are male, and while we are keen to do whatever we can to get more women working in the trade and construction industries, it seems that this goal will be extremely difficult to achieve until people - namely the people who are "suspicious" of female electricians, the people who tell women they "can't be plumbers", and anyone else who continues to perpetuate the false notion that women aren't cut out for these jobs - adopt a more positive, welcoming attitude towards people who, at the end of the day, are just as capable of mastering these skills as any man.

Trade training courses from Access Training:

According to the latest figures, the UK's construction workforce has shrunk by 12.9% since 2008. This is particularly strange due to the abundance of work currently available to contractors, which would suggest that the industry in busier than ever, with workers often having to turn down work because they already have an existing contract or promise of work with another employer. In spite of the surge in demand, however, the amount of workers in the industry fell dramatically last year, with 16,000 less people in the profession between 2014 and 2015.

Industry experts have put this dramatic fall in numbers down to a shirking talent pool, with people previously trained in the profession either retiring, in work, or having moved to other industries during a low period of work after the recession in 2009. Since the recovery in 2012 and 2013, those who remained in the profession managed to regain regular employment straight away, but they were not joined by a high number of new or returning workers. This means that firms can no longer rely on a once-abundant pool of talent to recruit from, which prevents them from expanding and in turn, presents a barrier for overall industry growth.

What the construction industry now needs is an surge of new talent from young people entering the industry, as well as those from a non-construction background who have decided to change their career. Before expansion and increased job security is possible, there must be enough skilled tradespeople to meet the demands of the industry, and to ensure a high calibre work force. At Access Training, we've helped countless individuals to gain the skills so desperately needed in the industry, allowing them to access a new and fruitful career path. From total beginners to ex service men and women, we have helped a diverse pool of candidates to reach their full potential and begin a successful career in construction.

Some of the courses we offer include:
and more!

Explore the rest of our site to see our full range of courses and lay the foundations for your future, as well that of the UK construction industry. For more information about our courses, get in touch with us today!
electrical services

In an age where we order food, meet our partners and find local services all via the convenience mobile apps, it's hardly surprising that people are already exploring the ways in which these innovations can be used to benefit the home services industry. 

US Electrical entrepreneur Sean Murphy is doing just that, having developed and app that aims to connect home-owners with service providers, such as plumbers and electricians. Much like the highly popular taxi hailing service Uber, the app would allow people in need of services to find local professionals, who would then contact them to discuss the job. 

Super Handy (formerly Super) is still in the very early stages, with only around 400 users and 500 professionals using it so far, however, it is still very interesting to consider how this or similar apps could affect the way the industry operates in the future. Not only could this mean a greater demand for services, thanks to the ease and simplicity of contacting a trades person and setting up the job, but it could also lead to an 'instant feedback', review-based approach to hiring a professional. 

Although Murphy himself admits that when he set up his family electrical business, much of the trade he gained was through word-of-mouth, apps like his could revolutionize our approach to seeking out and employing the services of industry workers. While he admits that the process is far from being streamlined yet, the rapid contact and review method of similar apps is something that could, if well-executed, hugely benefit both well-established businesses and new trades people.

While technology is often criticised for robbing jobs as opposed to creating them, evidence often shows that technology does more to create new opportunities that it does to reduce them. It is clear that the door to success is open to almost anyone who is willing to take advantage of the opportunities given to them, whether this means using your professional knowledge to start your own business, or simply having enough confidence in your abilities to promote yourself online. 

Whether you have ambitions to start your own business, or simply want to ensure that you have the best training possible to secure positive feedback in an increasingly demanding society, then why not consider one of our fantastic training courses? Like Murphy, you could train to become an electrician, with a view to starting your own business, or simply take up one of the many much-needed skilled trades that are hugely in-demand, particularly in the current climate.

For more information about our courses and changing your career, feel free to get in touch today, or follow us on Twitter for more industry news and updates about Access Training.

According to recent research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), companies looking to recruit staff with a high level of trade skills are still coming across the same stumbling block - they are at a distinctly short supply.

The report found that more than three quarters of construction related companies surveyed complained of a trade skills shortage.  They stated that the most difficult candidates to recruit were craft and trade skills workers, with a third of respondents admitting they were ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’ to find and hire as they are in such a short supply.

The CIOB’s deputy chief executive, Michael Brown, said: “There is still a skills shortage in the industry... no one knows what is around the corner. It will hit the industry twice as hard when we recover from the downturn as there will be a marked shortage of skills, even though we are currently operating at well below capacity.”

Interestingly, apprenticeships are currently struggling to fill the chasm in the trade skills gap. More than a third of those firms consulted during the survey employ apprentices; however, 44% currently do not do so, with 11% declaring their firm would be cutting back on the amount of people they were putting through trades training due to the testing economic conditions. However, the overall conclusion was that a third of respondents believed craft and skilled trades people were difficult to hire.

One comment made by a contributor elaborated thus: “We do not have problems attracting [apprenticeship] candidates, but unfortunately not everybody applying is of the required standard. Part of the problem is that the careers advice currently on offer seems to portray construction as a one level industry.” It seems that the best quality of candidate is not always attracted into the trades. Indeed, of the firms that do hire apprentices, 30% believed the number of individuals attracted into the industry had decreased.

This is very interesting news for adult learners and those looking into trades training as a career option. The message is loud and clear; there remains a huge skills gap with widespread opportunities available. Employers currently cannot attract the desired quality of individual, and apprenticeships are failing to fill the gap.

Here at Access Training, we teach a comprehensive range of industry recognised trade skills, which will help you secure a more lucrative and rewarding career. Contact Access Training today on 0800 345 7492.

Source: The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and www.Voltimum.co.uk

Vocational Courses

There are expected to be in the region of 230,000 disappointed young people missing out on a university place this year, damaging their hopes for a rewarding job, and in their view, affecting their future earning ability.

But is this truly the case? What about the wealth of vocational training options available which can lead to an extremely rewarding and lucrative career?

Vocational courses lead to higher-paying jobs

The median salary for graduates is £23,000*, which compares poorly to the average salary for an electrician in the UK, which currently sits at £31,701*.

Vocational courses cost less than university courses

At time of writing, university fees stand at £3290 per year, rising to £9000 in a year’s time. That’s £27,000 for a three year course (without the inclusion of living expenses).

For that price you could gain dozens of industry-recognised vocational qualifications, including plumbing and electrical awards, as well as becoming Gas Safe qualified and registered, with bags of money remaining to buy your first van and all your tools!

There aren't enough university places to go around

To add to the strain for university places, these potential students are also coming under pressure from competition for places from the EU, with applications for places rising by 8% already this year. It stands to reason that with the much vilified 2012 rise in fees, many more applications are being received per place as an attempt to beat the price hike, but to what end?

The surge in applicants shows a further increase on the quarter of a million that applied for a university position last year, with one in three unable to gain a place.

However, this needn’t be the end of the world; in fact it can be the start of a whole new successful chapter of an individual’s life. Vocational alternatives such as plumbing, electrical and gas courses are readily available. The Government recently announced their intention to set up 40 new university technical colleges (UTCs); however, this news was lost amongst the furore of the tuition fee protests. Such careers are extremely worthy alternatives to a university education, especially given the current skills gap in the country (which has existed for decades).    

Even EAL, the organisation which awards vocational qualifications across sectors including plumbing, electrical and gas, has called for an end to what it rightly describes as snobbery against vocational courses.

Sally Hunt, General Secretary of the University and College Union, has said:

"Our Government seems intent on ignoring the global trend of increasing access to university, which will see thousands of applicants denied the chance to fulfil their potential."

However, Hunt doesn’t acknowledge that an individual’s potential can still be fulfilled through vocational courses.

So if you want to save your money, study for less time, and develop the technical ability and skill to earn many times what a graduate would expect to earn, all without the vast huge amounts of debt, a vocational course may be the way to go. We offer a variety of vocational courses here at Access Training - browse our latest training packages here.

*Sources: www.salarytrack.co.uk and www.mysalary.co.uk

become a plumber australia and canada

According to recent reports, Australia is suffering from a distinct lack of plumbers. So much so they are looking for skilled plumbers from the UK to travel down under to help them fill this skills gap. But why are there shortages in a trade which is so well paid?

The BBC website has briefly touched upon the subject, but in our eyes may have missed the main point. It quotes Peter Wright, an associate Professor of economics at Nottingham University, who alluded to the shortage of plumbers in the UK being down to to the rapid expansion of higher education opportunities. The government has positively encouraged virtually everyone to undertake a university degree course. This policy enticed individuals away from skilled trades such as plumbing. He added that Australia is in fact in a very similar situation, with not many people becoming a plumber. 

It is now the responsibility of private companies, such as Access Training, to try and fill the void. Our plumbing training courses are producing highly skilled individuals, which countries such as Australia and Canada are attempting to entice with lucrative offers.

How Can You Become a Plumber in Australia or Canada? 

One point the BBC missed is just how difficult it is to become a plumber in Australia. The opportunities to train and be recognised as a qualified plumber are very different from the UK. Various licenses and certificates need to be issued prior to practicing as a plumber, which makes a British plumber extremely attractive as they already hold recognised international qualifications such as a City & Guilds in plumbing or an NVQ2 in plumbing.

There is also the problem of how the plumbing industry is perceived in countries like Australia and Canada. It seems the UK appreciates the fact above all others that plumbing is a well valued and highly respected profession. In Australia and other countries, this is not the case. It is thought that they believe the quality of the work plumbers produce may not be as high as in the UK. Here's an example from a Canadian Forum: 

‘Here in Canada, trades [such as plumbing] are in serious trouble and are seen as un-glamorous amongst career ambitious people. It seems that getting your hands dirty as a tradesperson is un-trendy when the reality is the opposite. I shy away from hiring trades because the chance of getting the job done properly is about 20%. I have expelled tradesmen and refused to pay because of shoddy work and normally end up completing the job myself to be sure it is done properly.

Just watching Holmes on Homes (I am sure it airs in the UK) confirms this problem. I have personally become a very proficient plumber, electrician, carpenter, bricklayer, plasterer, decorator, cook, and bottle-washer as well as being an electronics engineer by trade. There is REALLY good money to be earned out there as a competent tradesperson!'

 

Here at Access Training, we provide courses which will provide you with your plumbing qualifications in no time at all. These qualifications can then be used to become a plumber in Australia and Canada.

So if you have aspirations to work abroad as a plumber either now or in the future, get in contact with Access Training. Our beginner's training course in domestic plumbing will put you on your way to finding well-paid work in no time at all.

Speaking after her inauguration as the first female President of the ECA (Electrical Contractors Association), Diane Johnson gave a stark warning about the skills shortage in the UK:

We are sitting on a ticking time bomb. If we don't act now, we will not have the home-grown talent needed to fulfil this country's potential. The consequences of that will be more far reaching than most people realise.

All too often the valuable role of our tradespeople is ignored. When we are no longer able to call on a qualified electrician, plumber or joiner, for example, to carry out essential work in our homes and businesses, because they are in such short supply, it will be too late.

I worry about what the landscape will look like in 10 years and who will be teaching our future captains of industry. For too long now the emphasis in the UK has been on University education rather than on-the-job skills training, with the craft route often seen as a lesser option. But I have young graduates knocking on my door with increasing regularity asking for the chance to learn a trade as their degree has proved almost worthless in the job market. This is particularly alarming as the cost of a degree is causing more and more graduates to leave with quite a scary level of debt, before they've even entered the "real" world, and with limited prospects.

What people often forget is that qualified tradespeople will often go on to set up their own businesses and become employers themselves. Without this natural pattern of events taking place the future looks very bleak. Critically, the UK is fast falling behind other countries, such as Germany, which still recognise the need for craftsmen and women and have continued to train much higher numbers of apprentices. This will affect our young people's long term chances of employment as foreign companies undertaking contracts in the UK will be forced to bring in their own skilled labour because we will not have the skilled labour to compete for those jobs. Our industry is still climbing out of a very tough recession and we recognize the Government has to take tough measures to help aid the Nation's recovery.

However, we must not lose sight of the fact that we still need to train people to carry out these essential skills in years to come. If we don't value our trades and the Government doesn't properly incentivise employers to take on apprentices, it's only a matter of time before the bomb will explode.