A recent survey conducted by Retail Company Screw fix, shows that two out of five tradespeople were giving more quotes for work than a year ago, and more than half of the trades people who took part in the survey said that their business was better than the previous year, in particular, plumbers, electricians and carpenters are extremely optimistic about their business outlook during 2016.

In 2015, the skilled trade industry experienced an increase in demand towards the end of the year, fortunately this trend has continued into 2016, with one in seven tradespeople stating that they have too much work on their books.Most of the tradespeople surveyed said that they expected business to remain at the same level, or improve over the next 12 months.

If you are a regular reader of our blog posts, you will notice that we write about the current skills shortage crisis that we are currently experiencing in the UK regularly. The skills shortage is a huge issue that we are currently facing. Currently in the construction industry alone there is a shortage of 35,000 people, this figure naturally increases when domestic tradespeople are added into the equation.

With the increase in demand, it is apparent that – even though good for plumbers, electricians, gas engineers and carpenters, because it means that there is no shortage of work, potential customers will soon start to run into difficulties being able to find a trades person when they need them the most.

If these projections are correct, then 2016 could mean that many tradespeople may start having to work long hours to keep up with the demand. This means that now is the perfect time for people who are thinking about learning or retraining as a skilled trades person or adding taking courses to develop their existing skill set.

Here at Access Training, we have developed alongside City & Guilds, and other awarding bodies, a wide range of fully comprehensive courses that are suitable for people who have no prior industry experience. Our courses will teach you the very basics, through to the more advanced techniques used by trade professionals. 

To find out more about our plumbing, carpentry or electrical courses, contact us today!

One outstanding young tradesperson will win a trip to Barcelona, plus £1,000 worth of new tools!

Britain's workforce is getting older, and with the ongoing skills shortage causing major problems for the UK construction industry, skilled young tradespeople are an extremely valuable resource right now. We're all trying to encourage more young people to learn a trade and turn professional, but at the same time, it's equally important to recognise the young people who are already doing great work across the country.

To that end, British builders' merchants Jewson have launched a new competition that's strictly for UK-based tradespeople under the age of 30. The title of Young Tradesperson of the Year 2016 will be awarded to "a hard worker with the skills, ideas, and passion required to be a true success"; in addition to gaining a great new accolade for their CV, the successful entrant will also win a weekend in Barcelona (including tickets for a football match), plus £1,000 worth of new tools!

If you think you could be Jewson's Young Tradesperson of the Year - of if you'd like to nominate somebody else for the award - here's what to do...

How to enter/nominate

Remember, entrants must be under the age of 30 to have a chance of winning!
  1. Go to www.jewsontools.co.uk/shed/young-tradesperson-of-the-year.

  2. Type your details (or the details of the person you're nominating) into the online entry form.

  3. Explain why your nominee deserves to be crowned Young Tradesperson of the Year. Use no more than 100 words.

  4. Upload up to 3 images to accompany your entry - these might be photographs of an outstanding job, or a before/after picture.

  5. State whether you're nominating yourself or somebody else and click Send nomination.
The competition closes on Monday the 29th of February, so don't wait around - get your nomination in now!

Be sure to follow Access Training on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest trade news and insight.

 

(Image via bradleypjohnson on Flickr)

The UK’s media channels are often rife with horror stories of cowboy tradespeople. People watching programmes like “cowboy builders from hell” on channel 5 or “watchdog” on BBC1 will certainly develop a negative image of the trades men and women in the UK. In fact a staggering 60% of people said that it is fair to label tradespeople as “cowboys” or “rogue traders” and 20% of people said that they’re afraid of being ripped off when they need work done.

Follow these simple steps to avoid being labelled as a rogue trader:

Build relationships with your clients: Take care of little jobs free of charge. This will help increase customer loyalty. When someone is happy with your work, they are more likely to recommend you to their friends. A survey conducted by imperial finance revealed that 37% of people feel that having a relationship with their trades person is important, and 14% of people were referred to their trades person by a friend or family member.

Clean up after yourself: This might seem obvious but it is often overlooked by tradespeople. If you are working on a leaking sink and you spill water on the floor – make sure you mop it up. If you have had to take things out of cupboards to access pipework, make sure you put it all back before you leave.

Make yourself as easy to contact as possible: leave people with a copy of your flyer, business card, or a fridge magnet with your telephone number clearly printed on them, remember to take the visually impaired into consideration. Make sure that you always have your mobile switched on, if you can’t take the call, make sure you call them back at your earliest convenience.

Keep in contact with your clients: after you have completed the work, call the client back, ask them if they are happy with the work – or if they have ran into any complications. 55% customers leave because they have had no contact from you and are indifferent. After Job Service is often more important than the job itself, this is where you can really start to build relationships with your clients and go above and beyond your call of duty.  Loyal customers spend on average 33% more than people who are non-loyal and can refer up to 107% more customers than non-loyal customers.

Make it easy for people to get references:  set up social media sites, and encourage people to review your business online – this is effective because people buy from people if someone has a something bad to say about your business then people are less likely to hire you to do the work. Make sure you leave them with nothing bad to say! Set up a website to showcase your qualifications, and show people that you really are an expert in your field. This will give people confidence in your ability as a trades person.

Make sure you are fully trained for the job: again it might seem like an obvious point, but if you are not correctly trained for the work don’t take it on. Leaving the work half way through or doing a bad job can damage your reputation.

You can’t start a career as a skilled trades person until you have received expert training. No matter what career you are considering Access Training can help. We offer courses for beginners looking to learn a new trade through to more experienced tradespeople who are looking to expand their service offering.

To find out more about the courses we offer at our state-of-the-art training centres you can contact us by calling (Freephone) 0800 345 7492 or by filling out the enquiry form here.

Set up by the Women's Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary, today is National Women in Engineering Day and its aim is to focus attention on the great opportunities available to women in the engineering sector and construction industry as a whole.

The aim is to encourage all groups - from the Government and employers to careers advisers and students, to work together toward creating an environment to encourage and increase the number of women engineers. People are doing their own things across the UK - from college talks to publishing polls of their female workforce in an attempt to highlight potential barriers. Results from construction service WSP proved quite promising, with more than 20% of their engineering workforce female and 43% of these graduate rank or below. The majority of those surveyed also didn't believe that gender hindered their career progression, that there weren't any barriers to them upon entering and that they even had engineering mentioned to them as a career at school. Hopefully these are signs that the number of women entering the industry are indeed increasing.

The gender imbalance in the construction industry is something we feel very strongly about here at Access, and something we want to do our part it down. Recently we were featured on Sky News' piece about the troubles of "White Van Women", where Sky's reporters came down and spoke to our trainees and tutors about their thoughts on women in the industry. We're in agreement that construction isn't at all a man's world, and male dominance has only really come from years of stereotyping and women being guided away from those sort of careers. Notice how a lot of people simply say "tradesman"? Little things like that are enough to simply sway young people away.

This is why for the entire month of July, Access Training will be offering up to 50% off of ALL of our courses to female trainees. In addition to that we'll be spending the month featuring testimonials from some of our female trainees who have either just finished their courses here or have now gone to to bigger and better things with their trade qualifications so you can read all about the life tradespeople lead. So if you're looking to start a career in plumbing, electric, gas, carpentry, plastering, tiling, painting/decorating or even all of the above and just need to find the right training to get those all-important qualifications - keep an eye on Access throughout July. Every little bit of saving helps and upon completion of our training courses you may find yourself well on the way to setting up your own business. 

In the meantime, for more information on our courses give our advice team a call on 0800 345 7492.

Statistics via The Construction Index

Click here for more info on National Women in Engineering Day

Last week we blogged about how Sky News came down to our centre to looking for women entering trade professions such as plumbing, electrics, painting/decorating, carpentry and more. In the morning they spent filming, Sky not only had a good look around our centre but also spoke to a few of our female trainees - and of course our carpentry tutor!

The filming was for a piece they've titled White Van Woman 'Held Back By Sexism', which suggests that the recent claim that women make up around 6% of all tradespeople might not be as accurate as people are claiming. In fact, they spoke to Women and Manual Trades and found that figure to be more like 1%. Despite trade careers not being pushed hard enough to school leavers, women account for one in ten of those signing up for training here at Access and hopefully that figure will continue to grow as the gender barriers are slowly broken down.

Following an interview with Stopcock's Hattie Hasan, the report takes a look at the training environment we have here at Access and speaks to trainee plumber Mary Henderson. Following that carpentry tutor Gary gives his input on why women should be encouraged more to take up trade careers.

The full video can be viewed below:

Link to full Sky News feature

It seems our Tuesday blog post, entitled "Female Tradespeople on the Rise", was perfectly timed as yesterday Access Training received a visit from none other than Sky News. Working on a piece looking at the growth of females in trade careers such as plumbing, gas, carpentry, painting/decorating and more, Sky had a look around our centre before filming some of our woman trainees hard at work and then briefly interviewing them on their thoughts on women in the trade. Also interviewed as our very own carpentry tutor Gary, giving some of his thoughts on the differences he's seen between men and women working in the trade.

With women tradespeople now reportedly making up nearly 6% of the industry's overall workforce, the media are finally paying more attention to female tradespeople and why they are just as good (if not better) for the job as men are. The Sky News report won't just focus on women training here at Access, but also speak with women who have been working in the business for sometime.

Take a look below to see some of the photos we took from yesterday's filming:

The short piece is set to go out on Sky News sometime this weekend (we'll update you via Twitter and Facebook once it is confirmed) and will likely be shown repeatedly throughout the day. Be sure to watch out for us and if you're thinking of training towards a trade career - give us a call on 0800 345 7492! You'll then be able to get in contact with our course advice team, learn more about the courses we offer and even come visit our training facilities. As well as becoming a professional tradesperson quickly and effectively, who knows - maybe you'll end up on TV too!

Earlier this week the Guardian posted an article titled "The Rise of white van woman". Reading through it you'll see that, while perhaps not the best written article around, it does reveal one very important point - more and more women are now taking up trades such as plumbing, electrics, carpentry, bricklaying and more.

According to a study of 10,000 tradespeople across the UK from IronmongeryDirect (reported in Professional Builder magazine), women now represent 5.7% of all working tradespeople - dispelling notions by coming in higher than the proportion of migrant workers in the UK (4.6%). In the grand scheme of things this might still seem like a small figure, but is still a big leap forward that lead to further gender equality in the trades.

The Guardian's article also notes that between 2011 and 2012, B&Q reported a 400% increase in the number of women enrolling in its skills workshops. During this time Britain was also going through its economic recession, and so many women who were losing their jobs were going on to set up their own businesses. The appeal of a more physical and rewarding trade career has caught on, with more and more women starting their own businesses and groups/magazines such as Women In Trade. WIC Wales and Stopcocks forming to give support. The supposed gender barriers are breaking down at long last, and this is nothing but a good thing.

And it seems customers have no qualms with female tradespeople either, making the noticeable gender segregation in the trades even more outdated and antiquated. At Access Training we welcome female tradespeople just as we do male, which is why our doors are open to people of all ages, background and gender. These things should make no difference in a person's drive to become a qualified tradesperson, and this is reflected in the training we offer. Each week we see more and more female trainers come through our doors, all of which go on to have successful businesses in their respective trades. For example - Sarah Chandler from Cardiff was working as an administrator before she decided to change her career into something more practical. After completing both a plumbing and multi-skills construction course with us, she has now set up her own business, SLC Home Improvements, and is never short of work.

Are you looking to start a brand new career as a qualified tradesperson? Covering plumbing, electrics, gas engineering, carpentry, bricklaying, plastering, tiling and painting/decorating, Access Training offers a wide range of expertise taught under one roof by an experienced teaching staff. To find out more about our courses and to book your place, please give our advice team a call on 0800 345 7492.

We've said before that there's never been a better time to start a career in the construction industry. With Britain having climbed out of the financial recession, construction has gone from strength to strength - creating thousands of new jobs in order to keep up with housing and public works building projects across the country. This year has already brought forward many opportunities for those looking to get trained and start a new career, and even at the halfway point seems to be showing no signs of slowing down as a total of 180,000 new jobs and 120,000 new apprenticeships are expected to be created over the next five years.

This comes just as the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) expects to see more demand between now and 2018 for site project managers, civil engineers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers and even painters/decorators. Many of these we offer courses for here at Access Training, where you can receive professional training to earn the qualifications required to join the industry. Doing so will give you a huge boost and advantage over many others competing for the job.

This recovery in the sector also means that ambitious workers can now climb the career ladder even faster. An article in this weekend's Daily Mail looked at Patrick Tighe, who has worked in construction for 20 years. However since the upturn (and a change in ownership) the 37 year-old Rotherham man has not only received a promotion but is also now starting a degree which will allow him to qualify as a quarry manager.

Closing the article, CITB director of employer services Mike Bialiylj says: "People starting out now will be placed to take new opportunities. Those who are determined and work hard will get the opportunity to climb the career ladder." True words that are worth thinking about. There are many reasons why you might be looking towards construction training and a future career in the industry. Perhaps your job has no prospects or has you stuck behind a desk working from nine to five. Alternatively you might be fresh out of school and looking for an alternative to a university degree and the jobs which follow. Any of these are a perfectly good reason to consider learning a trade, and in doing that you may find exactly what you were looking for.

You will be faced with an exciting and varied career which features both physical activities and mental challenges, complete with plenty of opportunities for career progression and enviable wages. Should you choose to take your skills and start your own business as a self-employed tradesperson, you'll also be free control the hours you want to work. If you don't want to work evenings or Saturdays, then you don't have to - simple as that! And even then you'll still be able to take advantage of the job opportunities mentioned here as construction companies subcontract to other experienced tradespeople.

If this sounds like the kind of direction you'd like your life to head in then there's no time for delay! Start with an intensive trades training course from Access Training and you'll learn from experienced tradespeople in a state-of-the-art facility, taking you all the way from the level of a beginner to that of an industry professional. Plumbing, gas engineering, electrics, carpentry plastering, tiling, bricklaying, painting/decorating....whatever you're looking for in a trades training course, Access can help. Just call 0800 345 7492 to speak to one of our course advisers and find out more.

With all the reports about cowboy builders doing shoddy maintenance work and unregistered gas engineers making potentially fatal mistakes, is it any surprise that finding a trusted tradesperson is becoming a major problem across the UK? In fact, a recent survey from the HomeOwners Alliance and TrustMark has found over half of Britons are hesitant to do maintenance work on their homes because they have difficulty finding someone they feel they can trust.

This result then has a knock-on effect as to what said homeowners then do. While the 2014 Homeowner Survey found 12% won't do the work at all and 26% simply delay the project, a significant 40% then choose to do their own repairs/DIY. When it comes to certain trades, this could easily end up in injury or worse. Other statistics found were that 27% will only do essential works, while if forced 28% will use tradespeople they are uncertain about.

Only earlier this week Heating & Plumbing Monthly reported a plumber in Kidderminister is behind bars for 16 months after overcharging elderly and vulnerable customers up to 800% more for simple jobs. Among Mr Steven Greenaway's misdeeds were:

  • Charging one elderly woman in Cradley Heath £1527 to repair a leak on her toilet and replace the cistern - a job averaging around £200 to do
  • Charging a Dudley pensioner £500 to unblock a toilet, then proceeding a charge her a further £780 after claiming the kitchen tap needed work
  • Charging a mother and daughter £1000 to repair a dripping tap - money that they had been saving for a holiday
  • Charging a Worcester couple £1,200 to repair a leak on a radiator valve - leaving them feeling "like they had been mugged"
  • Charging another Worcester couple more than £800 for work to repair a stop tap that should have only cost around £120
  • And as a final insult, he even advertised DISCOUNT rates for pensioners in Yellow Pages adverts

This piece isn't just meant to point the finger at these frauds who give a bad name to tradespeople everywhere, its also to show trainees how much better they can be. You don't need to con the elderly to make a healthy wage nor do you have to pretend to have qualifications - all you need is proper training and not only will you actually have the qualifications to your name, you'll also be able to make the money honestly. And as positive word of mouth about your business grows, so will those interested.

It all starts with getting the right training, and no matter which trade you're planning to persue a career in Access Training can help. From plumbing and gas to electrical, carpentry, plastering and more, our state-of-the-art centre and experienced tutors will take you from the level of absolute beginner all the way up to becoming a fully trained professional. To find out more about the courses we offer here at Access and how you can change your life with a brand new career, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 or by filling in the enquiry form found on this website. One of our course advice team will soon be in touch.

UK weather isn't always the kindest of things and, after some especially bad wind and rain earlier this year, it seems Spring is finally settling in nicely. This good turn in the weather seems to be especially good for skilled tradespeople, with their demand reaching record numbers as homeowners use this time to repair, maintain and even improve their properties.

This information comes from Trustmark, the Government-endorsed quality mark and online search database for qualified plumbers, electricians, carpenters, plasterers and more. In just the last four months, the number of searches across all trades has increased by 79% compared to that of last year - putting the total figure for the year on track to double that of 2013.

Among the trades which saw the highest improvements were ones that would be needed to fix properties after the Winter's spell of bad weather, including expert roofers (up an incredible 915%), flood recovery specialists (198%), garden landscapers (94%) and tree surgeons (91%). While this seems like a huge proportion of the searches, it was in fact only around 24% for these months as homeowners were on the lookout for many other handymen and women to improve their homes. Here are just a few of the trades that have seen a sharp rise in searches this year, many of which we teach here at Access:

  • Plasterers and renderers (88%)
  • Plumbing and heating engineers (83%)
  • Air conditioning specialists (79%)
  • Painters and decorators (77%)
  • Handymen (77%)
  • Electricians (52%)

So if you've ever wondered how "in demand" these trades are, the figures should speak for themselves. If you've been considering a change of a career and qualifying in a construction trade then now is the perfect time to do so. And you can forget about college courses and apprenticeships that would take up to three years to complete - at Access Training we can get you fully trained and qualified to a professional standard in a matter of weeks.

And to make this idea all the more enticing, we're holding a special offer on all of our courses throughout May in celebration of our birthday. We're offering up to 50% off of all of our courses this month when the deposit is paid in full, however the course itself does not have to be sat in May - you can complete and complete it when you're ready to! For more information and to speak to one of our course advice team, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.

Plumbers are an incredibly important part of our society and most homeowners would be stuck without them. However if seems many are not getting the thanks and appreciation they deserve, with research revealing that UK plumbers are not only getting paid late but are often finding themselves chasing up said payments.

The survey from Worldpay looked at over 1000 tradespeople from across the country, and found plumbers have to chase their earnings up for around 27 weeks - almost twice as long as the average wait time of 15 weeks. More specific data found included that tradespeople are typically paid late once a month, with the annual total late payments owed coming to around £799. Worse still, most of this debt (£770) gets wiped off completely. Meanwhile the average figure for plumbers is significantly larger rising to upwards of £,948 a year. This resulted in over half of respondents admitting to have problems with their cash flow, in additional to worrying about damaging customer relationships and time wasted on chasing payments.

In an attempt to combat this, Worldpay have offered plumbers a few suggestions to help ensure they always get paid on time;

  • Offer customers a wider variety of payment methods. Out of the plumbers spoken to that were paid late in the last 12 months, 73% said that automated (ie card) payments are important for maintaining a regular cash flow.
  • When in doubt, check your customers' credit history. It costs a small fee, but could provide further information.
  • Ensure you have the name and details of the person(s) responsible for paying.
  • Make sure you have properly agreed contract terms. Getting proper legal advice from the get-go may seem like a hassle but could save a lot of time and money in the long run.
  • Consider charging interest on late payments. Making your customers immediately aware of this should hopefully put them off paying late.

With this advice in mind, attaining that dream of becoming a professional plumber should be one step easier. However before you can even think about businesses and payment options, you're going to need the necessery plumbing skills and the qualifications to prove it. Give Access Training a call on 0800 345 7492 to find out more about our range of intensive plumbing courses.

It isn't the most ideal circumstances for tradespeople to have benefitted from, but with UK still being battered by wind, rain and flooding an increasing amount of homeowners are turning to tradespeople to help repair and/or waterproof their homes. And Goverment-endorsed standards group Trustmark report they've seen a 300% increase in flood protection services in comparison to this time last year).

Their records showed that the number of searches for flood recovery specialists represented more than 3% of all searches in January and, in total made up 11% of all searches for TrustMark tradesmen in the same month. Damp proofing and timber treatment specialists were the fifth most sought after master trade (out of 21) on the site, with figures also doubling since December (tripling since July!) for homeowners searching roof repairment to fix broken tiles and leaking roofs. Other highly sought-after tradespeople included tree surgeons (150% rise in the last month), fence installers (120%) and handymen (140%).

TrustMark's PR head Stuart Carter commented that it was 'clear that homeowners are really seeing the importance of preparing for the worst as seasonal extreme weather becomes the norm in the UK'. A sad truth really, which is why tradespeople should gear themselves up to be able to help homeowners in these months where they may need them the most. Access Training Academies offer intensive carpentry courses which will undoubtedly come in handy when dealing with any wood repair work a tradesperson may come across during flood season. The same goes for bricklaying courses, which we also provide from our training centre just outside Cardiff city centre.

For more information give our course advice team a call on 0800 345 7492.

Via HVP Mag