"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future." - President John F. Kennedy, 1963

Time for change

How do you start a new life in the middle of a global crisis? 2020 has been a life-changing year for almost all of us, but the economic turmoil and uncertainty have made things particularly difficult for those who were in the process of switching careers when the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

But perhaps this experience has given those individuals a head start. Whether or not your circumstances shielded you from the initial shock of COVID-19, we're all going to have to embrace change over the next couple of years.

On the 10th of August, the Financial Times reported that even established businesses - especially those in the retail, hospitality and travel sectors - were facing unprecedented challenges:

"According to the Enterprise Research Centre, a group of several leading universities, 21,000 more UK businesses collapsed in March than in the same month of 2019. The number of new companies also dropped dramatically, by 23 per cent."

Conversely, many entrepreneurs and their businesses are now thriving, most notably in construction and the trades. People in these sectors have been forced to learn new skills in order to overcome the setbacks that COVID-19 has thrown at them, and those new skills have opened up new opportunities.

In a survey of tradespeople and homeowners that was carried out by national builder's merchant Jewson across June and July, 73 per cent of tradespeople said that they were "optimistic" about the amount of work that will be coming their way over the next six months. The survey also highlighted the fact that 77 per cent of homeowners are planning to carry out work in their homes within the next six to twelve months.

Andrew Cushing, Jewson's Customer Director, said:

"We're delighted that the outlook is positive for the trade. Long may that continue, and we look forward to helping our customers grow their businesses."

So is this a good time to change careers after all? In the Financial Times article, a venture capitalist (an investor who provides funding to companies with high growth potential) said during an interview with journalist Janina Conboye that uncertainty can actually bring its own opportunities:

"If a change or a new beginning feels [...] right for you, I would say that being open to - or rather maybe willing to accept - all the unexpected opportunities is what will give you the strength to deal with the down moments of your choice or change, and ride the highs."

This might resonate with you if you're thinking about a career change but feel that it's not feasible right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe you've been reading all the headlines about the current uncertainty, and even though you're craving change, your fear is telling you to err on the side of caution until things get back to normal.

Changing your career certainly isn't a decision to be made lightly - that's true even during periods of stability. There are many factors you must consider, including your personal commitments and your own individual circumstances. But remember: while most decisions can be reversed, regret can last a lifetime.

With so much upheaval going on at the moment, it may be helpful to think about what your answer would be if, at some point in the future, you were asked this question:

What changes did you make during COVID-19?

Will you have a good answer? Will you be able to say that you followed your aspirations and achieved your goals?

When considering a career change, months or even years ago you might have said 'soon'. Last month, you might have said 'later'. And yesterday, you could have said 'tomorrow'. Is now your time to change? Only you can decide - it really is up to you whether you make that change or not.

As the proverb says, opportunity never knocks twice at any man's door. Whether you agree with this sentiment or not, remember: changing careers is your choice. Don't waste another day, week or month - we are here to help you get there. Talk to us today!

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Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

"As I look back on my life, I realise that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better" - Vala Afshar, July 2020

Smiling face

Has COVID-19 given us a new perspective on the value of work?

The global pandemic has had a huge impact on our working lives. It has forced many of us to consider just how much we value our work and how much we enjoy our current jobs - if we enjoy them at all!

The boundaries between work life and home life have been blurred by the lockdown, and it can be difficult to strike the correct balance. Most types of work, while important, are not as important as feeling the fulfilment of one's family, hobbies and the home itself. This leads to one question:

Do you really enjoy your work?

Many supposedly 'low-skilled' jobs have recently gained an air of heightened importance - perhaps even prestige. At the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, the UK government recognised cleaners, delivery drivers, retail staff and so on as 'Key Workers' and acknowledged that the country would grind to a halt without their continued efforts.

This 'Key Worker' label means a great deal to many and has generated some well-earned respect for professionals whom we too often forget. But being 'key' does not always mean making a good salary, even though many of these people have recently been working longer hours in extraordinarily stressful circumstances.

And amid all the current chaos, it's easy to forget reports from recent years suggesting that workplace morale is very low in general - for instance, a 2017 Gallup poll reported that 87% of workers in the UK felt disengaged in their job.

Still, with more people working from home lately, we now seem to be collectively appreciating the value of work and recognising that it does play a crucial role in our wellbeing. We can be happy in our work as long as the job is enjoyable, rewarding and reasonably secure.

What job will make you happiest?

The economic slump that will surely follow this pandemic is likely to see many workers looking for new roles that offer the right amount of job security and longevity. A lot of people are already seeking a new purpose in life; finding the 'right' career is paramount for one's personal identity, but happiness is the key factor for most of us.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important is to have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs, 2005

So what's the secret to professional happiness? A survey commissioned back in 2018 by Boundless found that Britain's plumbers are the happiest professionals in the country, with 55% of plumbers saying they were 'very happy' in life.

The survey was designed to uncover who is happy, both at home and at work, and what makes them feel good about themselves and their lives. Plumbers ranked highly in the survey for quality of sleep and physical activity. Not a single plumber said they were 'unhappy' in their job. Compare this to those who work in customer service, and to lawyers, police officers and chefs, all of whom were reported as being unhappy in their work.

Electricians, at 50%, were also one of the happiest groups, with tradespeople in general being way ahead in their happiness index. Builders were also high up on the list.

The Boundless job happiness index

Very happy in life:

  1. Plumbers (55%)
  2. Builders (38%)
  3. Marketing (36%)
  4. Taxi & Lorry Drivers (32%)
  5. Bankers (32%)
  6. Doctors (31%)

[Source]

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The UK's economic recovery has 'Build, Build, Build' as its new mantra - so the future looks bright for skilled tradespeople in the construction industry.

Construction cranes

"We will build, build, build. Build back better, build back greener, build back faster, and do that at the pace that this moment requires," said Boris Johnson as he focused on trade skills to get the country back up and running.

This is a positive message for anyone considering a long-term career in the trades. The Prime Minister has promised a massive building programme to put jobs and infrastructure at the centre of his economic growth strategy.

New skilled trade job opportunities were promised, and the Prime Minister also highlighted the need to prioritise education. He said he wanted to end the current injustice, which he called "such a waste of human talent", and announced that his new plan would create "thousands of high-paid, high-skilled jobs", acknowledging that many jobs lost since January would not come back.

That's where Access Training Academies can help you. We can give you the trade skills you'll need to be part of this new initiative.

The government's £5 billion investment program is based around infrastructure projects that are designed to stimulate the UK economy and get people working in skilled trade jobs. This new initiative will only serve to encourage ​those considering a career change to become part of one of the only sectors that's likely to move forward quickly as the country comes out of lockdown.

The new construction-focused spending package includes:

  • £1.5 billion this year in hospital spending
  • Over £1 billion for a school rebuilding programme
  • £560 million for repairs and upgrades to schools and further education colleges
  • Millions of pounds to upgrade courts and prisons
  • £900 million for local projects
  • £96 million for town centres and funding to accelerate infrastructure projects in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

All of these projects will require electricians, plumbers, gas engineers and carpenters. So now is a fantastic time to learn a trade and join the construction industry - especially if the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted your current line of work.

Boris Johnson's announcement was based on funding that offers many people great new opportunities. "That is how it is meant to sound and to be, because that is what the times demand," he added.

The future for skilled tradespeople has never been brighter. Call Access Training on 0800 345 7492 to discuss your new career options.

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Photo from Pexels

Career change

No one wants a job that makes them miserable. Feeling unfulfilled in a job can badly affect your quality of life and may lead you to consider a career change. Although a career change may sound like an incredibly daunting choice, it really doesn’t need to be that difficult! You no longer have to feel dissatisfied and stressed while earning a living, you can make the decision to retrain for your career change. To help you do this, widen your career prospects with one of our courses at Access Training.

Whether you are in a trade and would like more qualifications to progress onto more challenging work, a tradesman wanting to swap the trade you are in or are a beginner starting from scratch, Access Training has a career change course suitable for you. 

We offer a diverse range of exciting career change training courses and we want you to be able to complete qualifications that will allow you to get the most out of your new career. Browse through our extensive range of programmes below to discover your next exciting move.

Get Qualified in the Shortest Amount of Time 

All of our courses are designed to provide you with the qualifications you need within a very short timeframe; not the 2-3 years which is traditionally required when training for a new career. This means that you can start the process towards your career change as soon as possible without having to be out of work for a long period of time. We also offer courses which can fit around your current job, so that your career change has a smooth transition which provides you with the security to keep earning while you train. 

A career change can really change your life – just have a look at our testimonials and hear from our students who decided to make a change for the better. Choosing to expand your prospects is always a positive experience, so don’t be afraid to give yourself other options. Start your career change today by choosing from our career change training course options below:

Electrical Courses >

Gas Courses >

Plumbing Courses > 

Construction Courses > 

If you need some advice on your career change training course, or would just like to speak to one of our expert advisors about any of the courses we offer, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Plumbing tools

So you've decided that you would like to be a plumber, you've taken a quick look at the courses that we have to offer, and you've decided on the course that's most suited to you and the level of qualification you think you may require. But let us take a moment and explain to you in more detail what qualifications you need to fulfil your ambition and become a fully qualified plumber.

The minimum qualification that you need to become a plumber is the City & Guilds 6035 Level 2 Diploma in Domestic Plumbing. This qualification allows you carry out various domestic jobs, such as fixing taps, unclogging pipes, etc. If you complete our Essential Plumbing Course then you will gain this qualification. The City & Guilds 6035 is ideal if you are just entering the plumbing industry and would like to work alongside or become a domestic plumber.

If you would like to work on a large building site, or for a larger plumbing firm (e.g. British Gas or AA), you will first need to earn your NVQ Level 2. If you have no prior experience in the plumbing industry, don’t worry. Here at Access Training, we have developed two courses that are designed specifically for the absolute beginner - we'll train you up to become a fully qualified plumber in next to no time!

 

Professional Plumbing Course

Our Professional Plumbing Course will help you gain 4 industry-recognised qualifications:

  • City & Guilds 6035 Level 2 Plumbing
  • City & Guilds 6189-57 Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Plumbing and Heating
  • Unvented Hot Water Storage Systems Certificate
  • WRAS (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme) Certificate

These qualifications will allow you to enter the plumbing industry with a varied skill set, allowing you take on a variety of work. In addition to completing jobs for domestic clients, you will also be qualified to work on larger sites and for large plumbing companies, such as British Gas.

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Premier Plumbing Course

Our Premier Plumbing Course is Access Training's most comprehensive course for aspiring plumbers. If you wish to become a fully-qualified plumber, we advise you to enrol in this course.

If you complete this course, you will not only become a skilled plumber, you will also become a qualified gas engineer. Our Premier course includes the following qualifications:

  • City & Guilds 6035 Level 2 Plumbing
  • City & Guilds 6189-57 Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Plumbing and Heating
  • Unvented Hot Water Storage Systems Certificate
  • WRAS Certificate
  • Part P Domestic Electrical Installer
  • ACS Gas Certificate

View Premier Course >

 

Entering the plumbing industry with these qualifications will set you apart from the competition, either in a job interview or if you decide to embark on a career as a self-employed plumber.

If you are already working as a plumber (maybe you have taken our Essential Plumbing Course or completed some work experience with an employer) then you can also undertake you NVQ Level 2 through Access Training.

If you are interested in becoming a fully qualified plumber, get in touch now to discuss your options with Access Training.

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