With the arrival of a new year comes the beginning of a new era; a chance to reflect on what has been, and speculate on what is to come. 

We can now see with some clarity how the construction industry fared under two lockdowns, heavy restrictions, and an unprecedented global crisis. Most importantly, we can see where it might be heading next. And judging by the promising words of industry leaders and new statistics, it did pretty well considering the circumstances.

The take-home message is that 2021 will be a year of ‘gradual and sustained recovery’ for the construction industry, according to industry experts. And this growth is not limited to 2021, but at least to the next two years beyond that. In other words, the next three years will be a time of high productivity, high employment, and general positivity for the construction industry. But how did construction get so lucky?

The critical factor undoubtedly lies in the ability of construction workers, industry leaders, and organisations, to open up their sites quicker than expected when restrictions were loosened in the summer of 2020. By the time the second lockdown came about in November, it became clear that the construction industry did not need to shut down entirely. Sites could still operate safely, following social distancing measures, and so Boris Johnson officially gave permission for sites to remain open under a lockdown.

But things could have been so different. In the second quarter of 2020, following the pandemic, construction productivity fell by 36%. We avoided a full construction closure only because the industry is so important to the country’s economy; in 2016 it accounted for 9% of the entire economy, adding £138 billion to its value. We just can’t do without it.

And that’s why industry leaders are fighting to ensure that, even in such dire circumstances as we still face at the beginning of 2021, the construction industry remains open and functioning. So much depends upon it, that the new Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, wrote an open letter to make the case for the construction industry remaining open again: 

 

‘It is vital that construction continues through these unsettling times, and I want to reassure you that the government values the crucial contribution your sector is making. [...] I want to make it clear that where it is essential to travel or to stay in accommodation, whether to get to work or for the purposes of carrying out your work, those in the [construction] industry are able to do so’.

 

This ringing endorsement of the construction industry just goes to show that, if the prospect of becoming an electrician, gas engineer, carpenter, plumber, or any role within construction appeals to you – then you will have the government’s support and the freedom to work at a time when thousands of people are out of a job

The proof is truly in the numbers. A survey conducted by the CHAS found that 56% of construction businesses they questioned have all their staff now back in work, and of the 44% that don’t, 43% said staff are on furlough. 

The security of construction jobs comes as no surprise when you look at the industry’s performance in the second half of 2020. Output grew by 41.7% in September, the biggest quarterly growth since records began in 1997. Work on new housing grew by 88.7%, driven by a 102.9% growth in public housing. Private housing and infrastructure grew above their pre-pandemic levels in February 2020. 

It’s mouth-watering stuff for those in the industry, and should be highly appealing for those outside it who are looking for job security. Now is your chance to get your foot in the door of construction and give yourself a career. If your job is looking increasingly like a lost cause, stopping and starting when rules allow, with redundancy a likely exit, then look no further. 

You can become anything you set your sights to, with a call and some commitment. We can take it from there.

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

 

 

Here we are, in the first week of 2021, facing another national lockdown.

If there’s one thing that continuous lockdowns have done to us, it’s that it’s made us more aware than ever of the importance of our jobs and professions; how much we rely upon our work for the security of our future. Even the very language we use to describe our different occupations within society has changed: phrases like ‘front-line workers’, or ‘essential workers’, have made us reconsider what is ‘essential’, important, and most valued in our country. 

On top of this, different industries and sectors have faced different struggles; some have fared better than others, having been considered ‘essential’, or having the good fortune to be able to operate relatively unaffected by the pandemic. Some people have been better assured than others that their roles will still be around once the lockdown is over. It comes as no surprise, then, that an increasing number of people want to change their careers. Statistics released since August have shown that, with the country in and out of lockdown, many people are reconsidering their futures in their current roles, and are thinking about jumping ship.

It goes without saying that the one thing everybody wants during this time is what we might call ‘lockdown immunity’. That is, the ability to keep working, earning, and living as close to a normal life as possible, in absolute safety. To be professionals, to contribute a service to society. There are not many, if any, of these sorts of jobs around at the moment. But one place you will definitely find them is in the construction industry.

With Boris Johnson’s assurance in November that construction work is still possible under lockdown restrictions, this is a prime time to be working as a tradesman. Not only are people still able to become qualified, but they are able to go out and seek work, and complete that work. Construction companies are not only still opening their doors, but are actually improving on their 2019 performances. Take Barratt, for example, who ended 2020 with cash reserves of £1.11bn, up from £308.2mn in June the same year. They still managed to make a 9.2% increase on their house building rate in 2019. 

Would this have been possible if the construction industry was on its knees? If it was nonfunctional under a lockdown? Of course not. And the only response to that, from somebody desperate to get back to work, is surely a no-brainer. We have often stressed the importance of using lockdown time to your advantage; access online, virtual training courses to build your skillset and gain employment for when the time comes, and work opportunities restart. And one thing that recurring lockdowns have done is confirm that our advice was bang on.

Lockdowns, as is now very clear, are not going away any time soon. It is evident that the potential optimism brought upon us by the new year is now unfounded, as complications relating to new Covid strands arise, delayed vaccinations are likely, and case numbers soar. It’s safe to say that restrictions will remain with us for a while to come.

Despite Rishi Sunak’s continued promises of grants and further extensions of furlough, what you really need is security, stability, and assurance for what comes next. You need to be able to hit the ground running when normality returns, and not have to depend on government money. You want to ensure that there is a career waiting for you, an income to support you and your family, and some sense of freedom and security to rest upon. All of this meaning that you may need to start preparing yourself for a potential change of career.

Because if and when another lockdown potentially happens beyond this one, or if restrictions tighten up further on down the line, you don’t want to be left stranded and powerless. You want to be working, productive, still developing as a professional. You want to continue doing what you’re good at, do fulfilling work, and offer a valuable service. 

Access Training can and will give you this. It’s all in your hands – nobody will make the decision for you. All it takes is commitment, dedication, and a call.


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

The Covid-19 pandemic has threatened the jobs of millions of people across the UK. Since March, the UK has seen an unemployment crisis not seen in this country for decades, with 181,000 people having been made redundant, and counting. If recent forecasts have told us anything, it’s that the damage done to our economy as a result of the pandemic will be permanent. That we’re in it for the long haul.

The most up-to-date statistics, as given by the Office of National Statistics in September, puts the UK’s unemployment rate at 4.8%, having risen by 300,000 since last year. This indicates a current level of 1.62 million unemployed people. But predictions for the next year are much, much higher, with the number reaching 2.6 million by the middle of 2021. That accounts for 7.5% of the working population, a level of unemployment not seen since the aftermath of the financial crisis ten years ago. 

However, some predictions relating to the scale of UK unemployment are even higher. The Bank of England suggests that the unemployment rate will peak at around 7.7% between April-June 2021. And other sources predict that this percentage could even reach beyond 10%. Some factors, such as the government’s extension of furlough, might reduce these figures temporarily. But these varied predictions tell us one important thing: that although we know that times ahead will be tough, we simply don’t know just how bad things are going to get. Are we merely taming the inevitable storm which will, at some point, cause widespread and long-term unemployment? How can the working population of the UK possibly prepare for such a large-scale crisis?

Unfortunately, Rishi Sunak’s spending review in November gave us little cause for hope. In order to deal with the demands of the pandemic, the UK government has had to borrow £349bn – ‘the highest [amount] in peacetime history’, according to Sunak. He announces that the economy is expected to contract by 11.3% this year – ‘the largest fall in output for more than 300 years’, Sunak says. He does not expect to return to pre-Covid levels of economic growth until ‘the fourth quarter of 2022’. And, to top it all off, he describes the damage done to the economy as ‘lasting’.

It goes without saying that now, more than ever, we are all desperate to hear words of comfort, security and hope. And despite Mr. Sunak’s insistence that the government will ‘ensure nobody is left without hope’, hope is seeming increasingly difficult to find. With continuous reports of redundancies, thousands across the country are falling victim to what has repeatedly been described as the ‘Coronavirus jobs bloodbath’ of recent months. 

But our purpose is to offer just this: hope. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learnt during the months of the pandemic, it’s that our tutors, our students, and individuals and organisations across the construction industry, are highly resourceful, determined, and efficient workers. We have demonstrated our ability to keep operating, despite the restrictions of the pandemic, in a safe and efficient way; just notice how all construction work has been allowed to go ahead in the second wave of lockdowns and restrictions. 

Most importantly, though, there are many, many job opportunities available in the construction industry. Construction sites were among the first working environments to open in August, and construction sites have been allowed to remain open, even over lockdowns. Construction work is absolutely essential to the growth and recovery of the UK’s economy, not only in the months ahead, but in the years, decades to come. Hospitals, schools, roads, houses – all these things will continue to need building, rebuilding, repairing. Large infrastructural projects, like HS2, still need completing, and are all vital to our economy. 

And this is why we at Access Training have adapted our services as best we can, by creating an online portal to ensure that the theoretical aspects of our training can still be completed in spite of lockdowns, isolations, and anything a pandemic can throw at us. 

This is why we, and other independent companies across the UK, are taking the initiative and networking with other industry leaders to create a stronger job market, and supply the construction industry with the workforce it so desperately needs. 

This is why Access is dedicated to training the next generation of tradespeople in our centres; because we know that the opportunities are there for years to come. That having skilled, experienced tradespeople working in the UK, has never been more important.

The construction industry has been, and will continue to be, an absolutely essential element of the UK’s future development. Mr. Sunak’s hopes for economic recovery are highly dependent on a thriving construction industry.

The UK construction industry needs tradespeople – needs you – more than you can imagine. Take a leap of faith and join a fast growing industry, where you won’t have to find work – it will find you. 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

According to PHAM News, plumbers pay has stabilised in 2020 with Hudson Contract reporting that plumber earnings are currently at £47,000 per year.

 

Self-employed plumbers have earned an average of £976 a week last month – the equivalent of a £47,000 annual salary – according to Hudson Contracts, the construction industry’s biggest payer of subcontractors. Plus they also said that earnings in October 2020 were above levels achieved between April and June this year.

The levels earned by plumbers contracting in Wales saw the strongest growth in October with an increase of 9.4%. Plumbers earnings in the north of England, namely Yorkshire and Humber, neared 12.5% and in the East Midlands earrings rose by 5.3%.  

 PHAM News quoted Ian Anfield, MD of Hudson, commenting on earnings for plumbers, 

 

“Our clients are telling us they have full order books and that demand for skilled trades continues to outstrip supply. Our clients say it will be business as usual up to Christmas…’

 

This is obviously good news given the gloomy scenario many are facing in other sectors right now as the economy falters in many areas. As a career changer with the possibility of becoming an independent contractor, the future could be bright if you choose plumbing as a career. At Access Training, we are always striving to provide you with the professional level of training, knowledge and skills needed to become a skilled plumber allowing you the opportunity to take advantage of this growth in earrings.

To find out how to become professionally certified in a trade such as plumbing or to simply discuss the career options available to you, call us today.

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

So it's now turning cold and winter is beginning to set in after some mild and changeable weather. As a result professional plumbers are going to start getting those panicked calls from customers regarding frozen pipes leading to expensive floods and leaks, potentially ruining the house and its contents.

As any professional plumber will know, there are some obvious mistakes that people make when they are taking measures to protect their house to prevent these issues occuring, the most obvious being to turn your heating off if you go away as it makes sense when you’re going away to stay with family. The top tip we cover is:

Don’t turn the heating off and leave it on a low setting

This action in itself, could cause serious problems if the temperature drops too low as the pipes will freeze and could burst whilst you're away. 

  • You should leave the house warming to a minimum of 14 degrees centigrade. The only time you should leave your heating off is if you're away for a longer period of time. 
  • Consider turning the stop cock off or even draining the system altogether if away for long periods, but this needs to be carried out by a trained and qualified professional plumber or they could end up with further issues. 
  • Many households will have a combi boiler heating both the hot water and heating elements of the home so the danger here is that the pipes will have condensation within and cause the boiler to stop working. And remember, all pipes can freeze.  

Pipes freeze whether they are plastic or copper

There are also stories abound that people with plastic pipes rate than the traditional copper pipes means that they won't freeze or burst. When it comes to this problem, the type of pipe is irrelevant, it depends how much the pipe has to expand when the water within freezes. 

  • Insulation of pipes is key with all of this, so all pipes that are in areas where freezing is a risk suck loft spaces and garages. 
  • It's also imperative that any dripping or leaking pipes are dealt with as possible as this will increase the likelihood of the pipes or drains freezing. 
  • If in doubt turn the stop off and call professional plumber:

Turn the stop cock off and call a profesional plumber

If a pipe bursts or there appears to be a problem with a persistent drip or ‘weep’ then the stopcock should be turned off and any repairs should be completed by a qualified plumber.

  • Alternatively a hairdryer, could be used to thaw out a frozen pipe but be careful not to use a high heat setting. 
  • Don’t be tempted to use a naked flame such as a lighter or even a blowtorch to thaw the pipe.
  • Homeowners should make sure they know where the stopcock is situated and they should regularly make sure that the tap itself is serviceable.

Using the services of a professional plumber

There is a danger also that some plumbing work can be carried out by homeowners rather than hiring a professional plumber. 

  • The cost of hiring a plumber is an unwelcome expense to many but the mistakes made could mean they're paying a plumber more to fix a plumbing issue than was necessary than the first place, costing more time and money. 
  • To make sure the job is done right the first time, it is easier to simply call out a qualified plumber to avoid any costly mistakes. 
  • At Access Training our experts can offer you advice if you’re not sure about any training that may be required to carry out a task.

Advice from Access Training’s plumbing tutors

Our Tutors advice, thorough years of experience, is to: 

  • Always use a qualified plumber to ensure the job is done safely and most importantly carried out to UK building regulations.
  • Nobody should undertake a task that they were not trained to rectify as possibly dangerous scenarios can result from the most simplistic looking tasks. 
  • A trained professional plumber, someone who has received the training, skill and knowledge and therefore holds professional plumbing qualifications, is the only way to deal with problems that arise. 

At Access Training, we are always striving to provide people of all ages, young and old, with the professional level of training, knowledge and skills needed to carry out basic and complex tasks, safely and efficiently. For those looking to become skilled and qualified as a plumber, we will teach you what you need to know, allowing you the opportunity to turn basic DIY jobs into earnings and a career.

How we train: 

To find out how to become professionally certified in a trade such as plumbing or to simply discuss the career options available to you, call us today.

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

If you read the survey carried out by the Water Regulation Advisory Scheme (WRAS) you will see that basic skills are completely lacking! The survey found that 18-24 year old adults lack basic repair skills, from unblocking a toilet to fixing a leaking tap. Only 1 in 3 know how to bleed a radiator with over 55's the most capable age groups when it comes to home plumbing tasks.

What is clear is that young people are the most challenged by these tasks with less than 30% not knowing how to change a light fitting where, in contrast nearly two thirds of over 55s are able to carry this out. The survey also found that 37% of young people could change a showerhead but double this figure were capable in the the over 55s category.

Further to this the survey showed that adults born after 1985 are increasingly unable to take on simple tasks. However, a third of millennials would in fact know how to bleed a radiator, but this is still way short of the 79% of over-55s who would be able to carry out this most basic of jobs. 

So it is conclusive that when it comes to basic home repairs, they are not an issue for those in older generations, but the capability to carry out a repair is far less in the younger generations. In fact the repair that most people are happy to carry out is bleeding a radiator:

  • Bleeding a radiator - 57%
  • Replacing a shower head - 53.3%
  • Fixing a blocked toilet - 44.6%
  • Replacing a light fixture - 44.5%
  • Fixing a leaky tap - 30.2%
  • Fixing a leaky toilet - 21.2%

What is clear from the survey is that repair tasks within the home have become something or a mystery or even a no-go for most. This is great news for tradespeople and those considering taking up a trade as there are so many tasks that home occupiers will need to be carried out by professionals, no matter how simple they are in really. 

In fact it would not be advisable for anyone to tackle a task that they were not sure about as problems and possibly dangerous scenarios can result from the most simple of tasks. It's always best to use a trained professional, someone who has the training, skill and knowledge to deal with these situations. 

At Access Training, we are always striving to provide people of all ages, young and old, with the professional level of training, knowledge and skills needed to carry out basic and complex tasks, safely and efficiently. For those looking to become skilled and qualified as a plumber, electrician, gas engineer, carpenter or plasterer, we will teach you what you need to know, allowing you the opportunity to turn basic DIY jobs into earnings and a career.

To find out how to become professionally certified in a trade such as plumbing or to simply discuss the career options available to you, call us today.

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.




*WRAS Survey of 2000 adults in April 2019.

A controversial advertising campaign commissioned by the Government to encourage people to change career if they’re in danger of redundancy or at risk as furlough as about to come to an end, has been pulled following complaints abouts its content and the lockdown conditions changing once again. 

 

Social media reacted with fury after the adverts called for people employed within the arts and culture, struggling sectors to ‘Rethink, Reskill, Reboot’, with an emphasis on considering a career in ‘cyber’. The ‘Cyber First’ adverts featured 4 different people in different roles but primarily a ballerina named Fatima who is pictured tying up her ballet shoes next to the words, ‘ Fatima’s next job could be in cyber. (She just doesn't know it yet)

The reaction has been ‘negative’ to say the least, with many responding to the calls to ‘Rethink, Reskill, Reboot’, with accusations of condescension and a dismissive attitude by those in the arts and culture sector, as it asked for them to consider other new careers, in ‘cyber’. 

Whilst this is obviously an area of future growth with the digitisation of virtually every aspect of our lives, the connection of people directly to specific areas is a risky approach for many reasons. When interviewed recently, Rishi Sunak admitted that many people are going to have to abandon their current jobs and retrain in ‘sustainable’ and ‘viable’ sectors: ‘I can’t pretend that everyone can do exactly the same job that they were doing at the beginning of the crisis’, he said.

 

“If you’ve spent years, possibly even decades, working in a specific job role, then the expectation to shift suddenly and seamlessly to another is obviously a tricky prospect.” 

 

This is a wiser approach in our view, to offer advice and to suggest there are other options is far more subtle. But compounding this, the government has devised an ingenious and comprehensive online questionnaire to help you answer the big question: what to retrain as? Based on your preferences and skills, the intention was to make finding a suitable new career much, much easier. Unfortunately, however, it hasn’t quite gone exactly to plan either...

Some questionnaire results have produced some, unlikely results. And people have found much hilarity in this bizarre but welcome bit of light relief, with ‘fair-ground worker’, ‘boxer’, ‘fish-monger’, ‘stonemason’ and ‘countryside rangers’. One person reported that she was apparently assessed as being suitable to be a ‘Bomb Disposal Technician’ or ‘Bingo Caller’.

Among the thousands of unsuitable job suggestions was one lady in her fifties recommended as a stunt-double; responding on Twitter, she optimistically suggested that she should retrain as she ‘could be a stunt-double for an unfit woman in her 50s?’.

Another slight miscalculation involved a self-proclaimed ‘painfully unfit PhD student (who loathed PE throughout her school career and continues to avoid any form of exercise) should retrain as a... ‘professional sportsman’. 

But some results have, at least, shown that the test gives some accurate results, as partakers in this quiz have ended up being told to retrain in… their current job: 

 

‘I’ve just done the government assessment to see what I should retrain as’, wrote one bemused user. ‘I’m going to leave my job as a teacher to become...a teacher’. 

 

You may want to take a look and see what vocations your skills match up to (but don't say we didn't warn you about unexpected outcomes):

https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/skills-assessment

On a serious note, however, this only reflects the gravity of the situation. Many thousands of people across the country are due to have their worlds turned upside down, and forced out of happy, prosperous careers. They are being forced to consider changes that were not part of anyone's plan only a few months ago.

Thankfully though, Access Training offers the perfect way out, but for those who have a desire to get a trade. We are quite clear that there are many other options out there for new careers and training courses to get you there but we will only ever offer advice to those who have asked for it. Not preach it to everyone regardless of their situation. 

Serving those wanting to retrain and change careers to get a trade has been a goal of ours since the beginning, 2003 to be axact; thousands of people from across the employment spectrum have approached us with the aim of retraining and starting out on a fresh path into trades training. 

Now our services may be needed more than ever – and we may be the service that you need. We will however, never condescend you or take your previous experience for granted. Our Career Support Team is here to listen and advise you.

 

"Guys who’ve come from all sorts of backgrounds, taxi drivers, entertainment, even to the point where I’ve had some solicitors because they’re unsure of whether they’re ever going to go back to working in the office.

Anybody who's lost their job... my advice is don't be afraid. With hard work and the right training... you can do anything that you want."

Jimmy Adkins, Access Training Academies Tutor speaking to Robert Peston from ITV



Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.



85% of workers are ‘petrified’ for the survival of their jobs, according to a recent poll by the Daily Mirror. And they may have every reason to be, with the anticipation of more new lockdown measures coming after more pronouncements by the government.

 

With another period of tighter lockdown measures possibly about to be put in place, the uncertainty is only intensifying. Things were precarious enough for many as they considered their jobs and whether to retrain in a new career: the ending of the furlough scheme and its imminent transfer to the Job Support Scheme, involving a notably less generous system to be introduced, for specific businesses who are told to close. As a result, there are reports that a further 1.8 million job losses are already possible by Christmas. 

These expected measures are comparable to those established at the pandemic’s outset. It’s hard to imagine what this will mean for jobs and thousands of businesses such as, bars, cafes, entertainment establishments of all kinds, who have struggled to stay open during the last six months may now be forced to close once more. Who can say when they’ll open fully again. And, more importantly, who can be assured that any job will still be there when they do lift the sanctions. 

However, this is not completely true across the whole economy and not all sectors – the construction for instance industry is, whilst having its own problems from lockdown, starting to show real signs of recovery and brighter prospects for those employed within it. Companies are not only surviving and getting by, but beginning to thrive in many cases and with that increasing productivity and recruiting. Throughout August and September, reports of a surge in construction productivity were numerous in the media, as businesses started to report a regaining of confidence and an increased workload. The construction industry is leading the way it appears, in an otherwise bleak outlook for the British economy. Building work continues to always need doing, and despite any current and future restrictions – plumbers, electricians, plasterers, carpenters – will continue to work and build their businesses and careers. 

Many people are making the decision to retrain to work in the construction industry and get a professional trade. The ITV documentary, presented by Robert Peston, in which Access Training is featured, covers this subject in some depth. See for yourself by clicking on the link below. Our centres are retraining cab drivers and caterers, entertainers and chefs – even lawyers. Wherever your interest, drive and determination lies, you can retrain in the construction industry as a plumber, electricians, gas engineer, plasterers or carpenter – just give us a call, and we’ll help you to get where you want to be.

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

‘Sunak explained that he saw no point in supplying further funding to maintain jobs that would be no longer sustainable...The chancellor appears to be hoping that employers will make the altruistic choice. Some will, but many will not’. – Will Clayton, employment analyst at Constantine Law.

 

In the aftermath of Rishi Sunak’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) announcement, thousands across the country have been contemplating what the new arrangement means for them – for their jobs, livelihoods, and futures. With the furlough scheme coming to an end on October 31st, it is as yet unclear who will benefit or miss out from the introduction of the JSS. How will it work in practice? Will employers follow the rules if they don’t have to? Are we about to see a spike in redundancies?

Here are five things you need to know about the upcoming changes due to take place – after all, it’s your career that’s at stake, and it’s essential that you have all the necessary information available to you, in order to make a decision about your future:

 

1. ‘Unsustainable’ and ‘unviable’ jobs are bearing the brunt

In the government’s layout of the plans ahead, they note that only ‘viable’ jobs are being supported. The definition of what is a ‘viable’ job is shrouded in ambiguity – the question is, what jobs count as un-viable? Surely every job is viable if it earns you a living?

 

‘It is fundamentally wrong to hold people in jobs that only exist inside the furlough’ – Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

 

2. JSS supports only those who are still in work

Here the scheme really emerges as a ‘watered-down’ furlough scheme. Those who are self-employed, or working in industries that haven’t been supported by the furlough scheme are, essentially, still unsupported, still struggling, still living without the certainties they deserve.

 

 

3. One third of pay will still be cut from overall wage

And even those workers who are still working in the ‘viable’ jobs with reduced hours – they’ll still have to admit a loss of a third of their wage. The new arrangement ensures that the employer and the government will each cover two thirds of the usual salary – the missing third will have to be taken on the chin. In a time of such financial uncertainty and job instability, where people have faced a 20% reduction in salary already through the furlough scheme, another third reduction is going to hit some people particularly hard.

 

‘It leaves many hundreds of thousands of workers...with a grim future’ – Julian Knight, Chairman of the Commons Culture Committee.

 

4. It costs employers more

As well-meaning as Sunak’s deal is, it takes employers’ generosity for granted. For example, imagine an employer had a workforce of fifteen, all on a third of their usual hours, yet still having to pay two-third of their usual wage for unworked hours. Why not just sack off ten of the workers, and pay the remaining five their normal full-time wage? It would save money and a headache – it’s actually cheaper just to sack the worker and pay someone else to work part-time!

 

‘We can’t continue to provide the same degree of support as we did at the beginning of this crisis and sustain it at that level … it’s not affordable’ – Chancellor Rishi Sunak

 

5. It doesn’t solve the overall problem

It doesn’t take an expert to observe that the new measures are another temporary fix. It doesn’t remove the inevitable cliff edge – we’re still heading towards it, it’s just been placed a bit further down the line.  Meanwhile, hard-working people, who have faced months of stress and uncertainty, are faced with more of the same, as what exists of the safety net gets thinner and thinner. And the reality is, if you haven’t been able to work during the lockdown months, then you simply won’t benefit from the upcoming changes.

 

6. Confusion is still rife surrounding the scheme’s practicality

It’s just another case of waiting and seeing what happens on October 31st – another leap into the unknown. Appropriate timing for Halloween? Perhaps so, as it marks the beginning of another six months period of continued degradation; another few months of watching the ship slowly sinking, and only a rubber dinghy there to save you.

 

But the future doesn’t have to be as terrifying as all this. If you’re prepared to take one leap into the unknown, in the form of this next phase of job support, then we’re here to suggest another, far more secure and rewarding leap: into a new career.

The construction industry is faring well, all things considered, under the new system – better than most sectors in the UK. Why not learn a trade and invest in your future? If you’re out of work and facing the horrendous prospect of the future outlined above, it sounds like you have nothing to lose.

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

 

 

"Anybody who's lost their job... my advice is don't be afraid. With hard work and the right training... you can do anything that you want."

Jimmy Adkins, Access Training Academies Tutor speaking to Robert Peston from ITV

Today’ Rishi Sunak announced his ‘Wage Top-Up’ scheme, a plan which effectively allows employers to work a third of their hours for almost the same wage; that is, 77% of their salary for one third of their normal working day. Another skilful avoidance of complete redundancy, another catastrophe missed; but ultimately a temporary measure to delay the inevitable. 

And let’s not forget, that this indicates a reduction in payment from the previous 80% salary offered by the furlough scheme. What happens to people already struggling to make ends meet, now met with a 3% reduction? What will happen at the end of another 6 months when industries are on their knees? 

There is a great cause for concern, as Paul Johnson, head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, predicted that 2 million people could lose their jobs by the end of this year. He called Sunak’s new plans ‘significantly less generous than the furlough scheme’; he also makes a crucial point, that only those currently working more than a third of their usual hours will benefit from this updated system – those not working at all will lose their jobs.

But we at Access Training want to reach out and reassure you that all is not lost. We want to point out the ways in which this period is an opportunity to grasp, that now is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Here are 5 tips on how to navigate the new furlough as a worker:



  1. Use gained time to retrain and prepare 

A lack of time and resources are no longer a reason not to invest in a training course. With Sunak’s new scheme announcement, you have the same wage, but two thirds more free time than before. What better way to use that free time than to upskill, retrain, and prepare for the next phase? It’s a no brainer – invest your time wisely.

 

  1. Plan ahead for the worst

If your sector, business, industry of work is likely to be one of those about to crumble, then planning ahead is crucial to avoiding a redundancy further on down the line. Why leave it to chance? Why not join the thousands of chefs, pilots, solicitors, cab drivers, and many other professionals, who are enrolling on a course with us?

 

  1. Keep your options open

Regardless of what line of work you have been, or are currently in, a construction course will cater for you. And with every other sector now under threat from financial ruin and collapse, wouldn’t it be better to have the option to jump ship if it had to come to that? 

 

  1. You have nothing to lose, everything to gain

As you read this, construction courses are reaching peak demand with new students leaving their careers to begin afresh in construction. With the continued uncertainty ahead, this makes perfect sense: a sturdy and dependable industry, guaranteed work and high demand. Upskilling is a win-win situation: you become more employable, you expand on your professional skills, and you gain qualifications which will always benefit you. In these times, it’s best to leave nothing to chance. 

 

  1. Believe in yourself – remain hopeful

As soon as self-belief is lost, then getting yourself back on your feet and moving forward can become impossible. We are here to assure you that Access Training is your way out and up to security and confidence. As Sunak inspiringly noted in his announcement speech:

 

"What was true at the beginning of the crisis remains true now. It’s on all of us, and we must learn to live … without fear.

Live without fear, and take the leap you’ve been meaning to take – because now really is the time." 



Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

From Solicitor to Plumber: How people are retraining to cope during the coronavirus pandemic

ITV News, 24th September 2020

Access Training is being featured on an ITV Tonight special programme presented by Robert Peston titled, ‘Can We Save Our Jobs’, investigating the prospects of life after furlough. The programme, as you will see, highlights the trials and tribulations of the last 6 months of furlough: the stress of having no work, the strain of having to provide for your family, and the hopelessness of a jobless future. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom.



"Anybody who's lost their job... my advice is don't be afraid. With hard work and the right training... you can do anything that you want."

Jimmy Adkins, Access Training Academies Tutor speaking to Robert Peston from ITV



The programme details a range of students already at Access Training, who have made the wise decision to begin a career in the trade industry, as a result of the large-scale effects of Covid-19. They have left their rapidly sinking jobs and have retrained as anything they wanted, regardless of their experience: cab drivers becoming plumbers, chefs becoming gas engineers – even solicitors are jumping on the bandwagon. If that’s not a sign for optimism and hope, then I don’t know what is. 

Talking to Peston, our gas tutor Jimmy Adkins gives an excellent summary of the situation, detailing how construction courses are now in such high demand.

 

"It went absolutely crazy. Guys who’ve come from all sorts of backgrounds, taxi drivers, entertainment, even to the point where I’ve had some solicitors because they’re unsure of whether they’re ever going to go back to working in the office."

 

One of our students, Chris Kruger, was also interviewed for the programme. Chris recently left his job as a chef, citing job uncertainty as the main reason for the decision. He speaks of the ‘very stressful and very worrying’ threat to his job, and indeed the whole catering industry:

 

"Not knowing whether things were going to go back to normal, whether I would still have a job, and the situation at home expecting a baby and so forth, and my partner also being in the hospitality industry. So both of us sitting on furlough, you can imagine the stress that we were getting from that."

 ITV Tonight - Watch here 

Chris very wisely decided that retraining as a plumber would secure his wife and young family’s future in these increasingly unsettling and unstable times. But instead of sitting back and letting everything crumble around him, Chris took it upon himself to prepare for the future: ‘I just said, no, I need to utilise this time to study’. If Chris can do it, so can you. 

With new furlough developments underway, allowing more free time for workers for the same pay, why not make the most of this opportunity to get trained? For those who don’t use this time carefully and sensibly, they could end up in the very same position of worry and anxiety when the next six months of furlough come to an end. This means more uncertainty, more struggling to get by, and more people out of work. You could be one of those people.

But you could also be like one of the people in Peston’s programme, who took the right steps at the right time to become a qualified tradesperson; who invested in their careers, and became proactive and determined. Access Training can be your stepping stone to a secure and fulfilling career; the safety net you need in these unforgiving times. 

"Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, demand for construction courses has gone through the roof, as many fear they will never be able to return to their previous work."

 

Demand is high, and the time is now. Take the initiative, take the leap. Enrol on a course today.

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

"Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together." - Marilyn Monroe

Restart your career

If you're one of the thousands who have been furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what should you do next? And could you turn your furlough experience into a career opportunity?

If you are in this situation, what options do you have? Do you persevere and hope things will eventually return to normal...or do you know, deep down, that this may not happen? Should you look for a new job now, or think big and chase your long-held aspiration to start something new?

As it stands, thousands of people in the UK are already finding themselves out of work. Others are being protected from this fate - for now - by the government's furlough scheme, putting them in a state of employment. But with the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme ending soon, the threat of redundancy is looming ever closer for furloughed employees.

Furlough figures - September 2020

What should you do if you're one of the people affected by this situation? You may be feeling very stressed right now, but the end of furlough could also be your opportunity to begin something new - something far more rewarding than the 'normal' that you knew before.

The furlough scheme is due to end on 31 October, so there's no time to waste. Here are 5 steps that you should consider:

 

1. Contact your employer if you haven't already done so.

Don't be afraid - even if you've barely spoken to your employer while you haven't been working, you can still get in touch now to request some details about your situation and the company itself. You may even wish to ask how the economic forecast is shaping up; does it look like the business will still be able to employ you after October, once the furlough safety net has been taken away?

 

2. Take some time to reflect.

Really focus on what you desire from your life. Think about your career and your professional needs: what do you want to do now, and which direction do want to go in?

 

3. Consider whether you really want to return to your old job.

Ask yourself simple, direct questions: 'Am I happy to return to this job if it's still there? Is this genuinely the career I want, the work I find most fulfilling? Can I see a long-term future for this industry and my place in it?'

 

4. Plan your next steps.

If redundancy is inevitable - or if you've decided that, regardless of whether your position remains secure, you don't want to go back to the old normal - then it's time to think about what you want to do next. Do you take this opportunity to retrain and learn some new skills? Identify what knowledge and qualifications you'll need to make your dream career a reality, then find out how best to reach the required level.

 

5. Look for a clear, realistic career path.

Above all, look for the path that will lead to real opportunities in an area that's sustainable and growing. Whether you're looking to reboot or switch careers entirely, now is a great time to dream big and start building a new picture of your future career.

 

Sometimes, the most important decisions are the ones made for us. As daunting and unprecedented as the current crisis is, it could be your springboard to improved career prospects, especially if you have a long-term goal or ambition that didn't seem realistic before.

Inevitably, emotion will be a factor when you're asking yourself the big questions. It's impossible to provide a detached, purely rational answer to questions like 'If my profession ceased to exist, what career would I want to pursue instead?' or 'How can I reinvent myself?' If you've always thought about re-skilling (or up-skilling) but didn't have the inclination or the need a year ago, now may be the perfect time to take that leap, but use your head to think clearly - don't be swayed entirely by your emotions.

Ultimately, life is never without its difficulties, and there are bound to be setbacks along the way. We can't plan for every single occurrence, but what matters is how you bounce back and move forward. There's always light at the end of the tunnel, and this crisis won't last forever.

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

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