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The construction industry is set to experience a larger-than-expected period of growth, according to the latest Construction Skills Network report. As a result, tradespeople are likely to experience an unprecedented increase in demand over the next five years.

By using forecasted trends in the construction economy, the report has calculated the necessary expected changes within the industry year on year. The report highlights the fact that the industry is due to face “substantial recruitment and training challenges”, and that if the sector aims to meet the projected growth over the next five years, then over a quarter of a million additional workers will be required to fill the demand. 

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The construction industry is set to experience a larger-than-expected period of growth, according to the latest Construction Skills Network report. As a result, tradespeople are likely to experience an unprecedented increase in demand over the next five years.

By using forecasted trends in the construction economy, the report has calculated the necessary expected changes within the industry year on year. The report highlights the fact that the industry is due to face “substantial recruitment and training challenges”, and that if the sector aims to meet the projected growth over the next five years, then over a quarter of a million additional workers will be required to fill the demand. 

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A shortage in skilled tradespeople has been an obstacle which has loomed over the construction sector for the past decade and more. In recent years, industry leaders have been asking themselves one important question: how do we encourage more people to join our thriving and essential industry? 

It is well-known that the construction workforce is ageing, and the number of younger skilled workers taking its place is not quite enough to satisfy the significant demands of an industry which is as crucial as it has ever been. 

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Gas Safety Week 2022 starts today and runs until the 18th September 2022. Celebrating its twelfth year, this integral event aims to see industries come together for the same common goal: keeping the nation gas safe. During the Gas Safety Week campaign, thousands of businesses pledge to educate and raise awareness surrounding gas safety, helping to protect their customers and save lives. 

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Rated People logo

We are pleased to announce that Access Training is now partnered with Rated People, the UK's top online marketplace for trustworthy tradespeople.

Anyone can post a job on the Rated People website - for example, if Joe Bloggs needs a plumber to fix his leaky sink, he can submit a request via Rated People and nearby tradespeople will be able to offer their services.

Once the job is done and dusted, Joe can post a review on the plumber's profile page to let others know whether that particular tradesman proved reliable.

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If you’ve decided you want to train for a new career, here are five things you should consider which could help you along the way – and make the leap seem less daunting!

How long will it take? 

Time is a key element in any decision to pursue a new career. Consider whether the new career requires any additional training, for example, or whether there is a probation or training period in your new role. If new qualifications are required, the length of time it takes to qualify might vary depending on the level of the qualification. Understanding the new career and the training courses you'll need to complete to get there is paramount!

At Access Training, becoming a qualified tradesperson can take a matter of months, rather than potentially years of apprenticeship work – meaning you can get on the tools, start earning a wage, and progress down your new career path in no time at all.

How much can you expect to earn?

Obviously, earnings will vary considerably while you're training for a new career, depending on what kind of work you pursue. However, it is a good idea to consider doing some research yourself, to ensure that you know the extent of your financial situation, and how secure you will be in your new role.  Perhaps some savings will be required to undertake new qualifications, or a temporary job will be necessary in order to fund your training. Make sure that you are financially secure enough to do the training you need to start your new career. Sufficient planning and financial awareness can make the transition into a new career seamless and secure!

Careers in construction can be very lucrative, especially if you decide to become your own boss. In an era where tradespeople are in increasing demand, work opportunities are well-paid and plentiful. It’s always a good idea to know where you’ll stand financially in your new role and to prepare accordingly.

Do you want to be your own boss?

Your new role might allow you the opportunity to become your own boss. This is a new and exciting prospect, and one which millions of people across the UK are pursuing – in 2019, the number of self-employed workers was at its highest for twenty years.  

Perhaps one of the reasons you became tired of your old career and fancied a change was to give yourself more flexibility and autonomy in your professional life. A career like construction is perfectly suited to achieving this kind of freedom. With the right qualifications, experience and drive, you can start building your brand and customer base with just a few first steps – and a significant part of our course at Access Training is designed to help you commence your new career, whether you want to be your own boss or not!

 How will the change impact your lifestyle?

A new career can affect your life in a number of different ways – your workplace might require you to travel, or take a new route to work, or even to work from home. It might involve a dramatic change in working environment – to go from a stagnant office, for example, to a busy worksite, might require certain preparations and adjustments which it would do no harm to be aware of.

 Have a Plan B!

 Retraining in a new career is no mean feat, especially if you’re departing from a path that you’ve been heading down for a long time. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it – people change careers all the time, and it can be an incredibly rewarding, exciting, even life-changing experience. 

Once you’ve made the decision, and are convinced that it’s the right choice for you, then make sure you have enough financial and emotional backing to make the experience as smooth as possible. And if things don’t quite work out the way you planned, make sure you establish some kind of safety net, to give yourself peace of mind. 

But most of all – go for it! Throw yourself into your new journey and embrace the changes which come your way. The world is your oyster!

Student loans denied

In February, the government announced new plans to restrict access to student loans, depending on academic achievement. Driven by ambitions to restrict university numbers, students who do not receive certain GCSE and A Level grades would no longer be entitled to receive crucial loans to help them through university, regardless of their backgrounds. 

In an attempt to “weed out … low-quality courses” at university, and to reduce the rapidly rising number of students who apply for and attend university in recent years, ministers from the Department of Education have announced plans which state that students who do not achieve a minimum of two E grades at A Level, or Grade 4 pass in English and Maths at GCSE, will not be entitled to receive a student loan. 

This decision raises multiple questions on the culture of education and what expectations we have for our students in today’s world. Are university courses supposed to lead towards fulfilling, better-paid jobs? Should students expect long-term, secure employment after completing their degrees? Or have we, as a culture, become so used to the expectation of these promises being delivered by the university route that we have neglected the other – perhaps more suitable – avenues that can lead to stable, long-term, well-paid employment. Such as construction and vocational routes, the likes of which the UK is in desperate need.

Naturally, the government’s decision has come under criticism, not least because this will impact students from more challenging economic backgrounds whose career options will be dramatically limited beyond attending university. Alistair Jarvis CBE, chief executive of Universities UK, makes the point that “Government should expand opportunity, not constrain it”. And we agree. 

But surely these opportunities should be expanded for all career opportunities beyond university, including vocational training courses? Careers in construction and the trades are just as vital for the UK’s social and economic development, and this change in policy is an opportunity to encourage school leavers to consider all their options in accordance with their strengths. 

Regardless of whether you might agree or disagree with the government’s policy, it is unwise to close certain doors without opening others, and this is what their decision could amount to. Without encouraging more school leavers into vocational training, the decision could negatively impact the futures of yet another generation of young professionals. Without diverting well-equipped and enthusiastic students towards vocational training routes, the government will limit opportunities for students across the country – and those from more disadvantaged backgrounds will bear the brunt.

Other avenues out of school therefore must be highlighted, encouraged, and pursued by educational and government policies, so that these plans for change do not leave students in the lurch, without all the options they are entitled to. And if more students were encouraged to pursue careers in construction as a result, this would be welcomed, considering the industry’s severe skills shortage. 

Moreover, it would allow thousands of students to avoid the baggage of decades-worth of debt: a recent study claimed that students starting university in 2023 would have to wait 40 years after graduating before they manage to pay back their debts. With a rise in “poor-quality, low-cost courses” which do not guarantee effective routes into employment, is this really a price tag worth paying when other options can send you straight into work with a fraction of the time and cost? 

And that’s where we come in. Access Training specialises in a range of vocational training courses, and has been supplying the UK with the next generation of tradespeople and skilled workers for well over a decade. 

We do not believe in placing limitations on opportunity, and consider it our duty to ensure that prospective students enter the world of work as qualified, prepared, and ambitious as possible. Just as some potential students might be missing out on places at university, how many excellent prospective construction professionals have chosen university over a secure, well-paying career, to find themselves unemployed and saddled with debt on the other side?

Access Training represents another avenue, beyond university, which can streamline you into a professional career. Give us a call and we’ll take it from there. 

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

Rusthall Football Club, sponsored by Access Training

Access Training is thrilled to announce that we are the new First Team shirt sponsor and principal partner for Rusthall FC’s upcoming campaign.  As well as being placed on the front of the First Team home shirts for the campaign, Access Training will be visible around The Jockey Farm Stadium and will be in attendance at headline fixtures.

Jamie Jefferies, Access Training's C.E.O said: "We are delighted to partner with Rusthall FC for the 2022/2023 season. Our exciting new partnership with this much-loved football club is just one of the ways in which Access hopes to contribute to the local community."

Rusthall FC was formed in 1899 when they registered with the Kent County Football Association and entered the Tunbridge Wells Football League. The club turned semi-professional as they gained promotion to The Southern Counties East Premier Division in 2017. The club played their first-ever game in the FA Cup when they were drawn away to CB Hounslow in the extra-preliminary round of the competition in 2017/18 season. 

The club continues to strive in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division at level 9 in the English Football Pyramid (8 consecutive promotions away from the Premier League) and now has teams at every age group throughout the club at a grassroots level.

Dean Jacquin, Rusthall FC's Chairman said: “Access Training is well-established and is fast-becoming an instantly recognisable brand within the UK. Our partnership with a leading construction based training provider is yet another statement of progress at the club, both on and off the field. We look forward to helping each other secure our respective ambitions.”

For information on upcoming fixtures and Rusthall FC news, head to their website https://www.rusthallfc.com/

Diversity in construction

Traditionally speaking, the construction industry has been and remains a male-dominated space. But after the extraordinary readjustments made by the construction industry throughout the turmoil of the last two years, surely we have proved our ability to adapt to changing circumstances? Now must be the time to increase the industry’s diversity and open itself up to the full pool of talent available to it as we move further towards the challenges of the 21st century.

Between 80-90% of those working in the construction industry identify as men, in an industry which has long attempted to broaden its appeal to people from all walks of life. Only 15% of tradespeople working in the industry in 2022 are women, while a mere 2% of those working onsite are women. 6% of tradespeople are from a Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background, and the same percentage of tradespeople have a disability. 

While it is unclear what the total number of people who identify as LGBTQ+ working in construction is, a study by the Chartered Institute of Building claims that around 60% of those who answered have experienced homophobic or derogatory comments based on their sexuality. In this day and age, this is surely unsatisfactory. 

So what can the construction industry do to change?

The LCL Awards have recently announced the foundation of an initiative which puts this progressive intention on the front page of the construction world, by offering an Inclusivity Charter to which training centres can sign up. This represents a commitment to upholding values of inclusivity, and striving to improve the training conditions for trainees from underrepresented groups. 

LCL Awards have partnered with Hattie Hasan MBE, the celebrated plumber who founded the first all-female plumbing company Stopcocks Women Plumbers, and introduced a Register of Tradeswomen in 2021. She has been campaigning tirelessly for increased representation of women in the industry, and has spoken openly about her experiences of “first-hand sexism and ignorance when it comes to being a ‘female plumber’”. 

Her inspiring workshops cover important topics. Not only does she advocate for inclusivity, tolerance, and equality in the workplace – these are the bottom line – but Hasan educates all workers on the possibility for inevitable unconscious biases which can surface in a male-dominated environment. 

She illustrates the circumstances in which voices from underrepresented groups can go unheard, and offers advice for training centres on dealing with conflict, or on how to construct flexible courses which suit the needs of all, and how these courses should be delivered and represented. 

Importantly, she suggests ways that training centres can “demonstrate their inclusive values through their websites and other marketing materials”, and actively promote the values they claim to hold.

This might involve offering flexible online courses for trainees competing with a busy working or parenting schedule to complete at evenings or weekends, or on a part-time basis. The design of courses and the institutions must commit to having awareness of the needs of all underrepresented groups, and to advertise this to potential students. 

This is a valuable example of training centres not only creating welcoming conditions for tradespeople from underrepresented groups, but actively promoting these conditions and changing people’s perceptions of the industry. 

Because where better place to tackle this issue than in the training centres responsible for procuring the next generation of tradespeople? The values, practices, and principles of equality must be fully ingrained in the centres which harbour each new wave of skilled construction workers passing through our doors. This means that our training centres must promote a welcoming, safe, thriving environment for people from all backgrounds, all walks of life, and all creeds. Hasan adds:

 

“Training is the first step in most people’s careers, so getting this bit right in terms of ensuring people feel they can move into a sector that might not be considered “the norm” is crucial. [...] An inclusive environment increases diversity in training centres, LCL Awards centres can attract more learners from more different backgrounds, and help to dispel myths that trainees may have too”.

 

But this is, of course, the bottom line of any workplace in Britain today. It goes without saying that tolerance of all people is a fundamental expectation of how our society should function. We need to go beyond this: to actively encourage and attract people who might never consider themselves suitable or welcome in a traditionally male-dominated industry. We cannot passively wait for under-represented groups to come to us -– we need to seek them out and promote the new face of a diverse, equal and inclusive construction industry. 

It is important to emphasise that this concerted effort to change the face of construction is not a case of box-ticking, or diversity for diversity’s sake. As Mark Krull, director of LCL Awards states, “we’re not paying lip-service here”. It is essential that those serving our communities as tradespeople represent those communities; for the construction industry to thrive and adapt, it must open itself up to attract talent from thus far underrepresented pools. 

And of course, improving equality and diversity in the construction industry will ultimately prove of great benefit to the industry itself; its productivity, its innovation, its efficiency. A diverse supply chain will also mean better support networks for small businesses, greater community involvement, improved on-site working relationships, and will generate a culture of understanding and celebration of people’s cultural differences. 

Access Training is fully committed to applying these standards of equality, diversity and inclusivity to all of our training centres, ensuring that no individual is discriminated against based on gender, gender identity, age, race, religion, or any of the nine protected characteristics listed under the UK Equalities Act 2010. 

Nor will we stop at the standards at which we’ve reached, but will continue to listen and promote the needs of those underrepresented voices who want to become qualified tradespeople. 

It is our duty to those people, and to the wider construction industry itself, that these people feel welcome and able to hone their craft in absolute safety. If you consider yourself among an underrepresented group, we assure you – you are welcome at Access Training. 

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

Office construction

Have we anticipated the death of the office too soon? 

As far as workspaces go, we might tend to think of construction sites and offices as chalk and cheese. But their future effects on modern ways of working are perhaps more important to each other than we might think. A productive construction industry has boosted office building projects for 2022 – and in the process, may have secured the long-term function of offices in modern working culture.

Despite a dip in the number of office-builds over the last three years – the number of new office builds in the 6 months to March is a third lower than the previous winter – the summer ahead is looking to give the construction industry a huge boost, with predictions for office builds climbing. 250,000 square metres of planned office buildings are in the demolition phase, and scheduled to start by September of this year. And this is good news for the construction industry. 

One of the overriding narratives which surfaced during the Covid-19 pandemic was that the office would become a thing of the past. That remote working would become the dominant culture of employment, and that office spaces would become an outdated, impractical, unnecessary distraction. Little did we know that the respective futures of both the office and the construction industry would become integral to one another.

Not only does the office remain an integral part of modern working culture, but a significant amount of employers, employees, and investors consider improvements to offices to be responsible for making recruitment and working life easier and more appealing. A study by ISG showed that seven in ten businesses “experienced an increase in productivity following workplace investment”, suggesting that predictions of the office’s demise have been “misplaced”.

This isn’t to say that the function of the office won’t change – it will, and it has. But as our relationship with the office has changed from being a permanent fixture of work throughout the week, to becoming a more flexible, part-time space for more effective work, our perception of what makes offices useful has also changed. According to a survey of over 1,300 employers, employees and investors, recruitment has actually improved as investment in offices has grown. The survey said that over half of those employees who answered “did not want to work remotely on a permanent basis”. Perhaps, then, rather than killing the office, the pandemic has in fact ensured its future survival. 

Investing in offices will bring great rewards for the construction industry, and so this rediscovered appreciation for the place of the office in our working culture is a big thumbs up for productivity levels in the coming year. The pandemic, despite all its challenges and setbacks, might have given the construction industry this added boost in demand and projects in this unexpected expansion of office space. 

This development follows an unprecedented rise in council house building, mostly in the London area. The highest volume of new council homes in 40 years is currently underway, with 5,000 new homes built between April 2021-22, according to the Greater London Authority. 

Does this not look like an industry which is thriving, back on its feet, and ready to go after the setback of the last two years? It might offer a symbol of inspiration to those of you who are similarly trying to get back on your feet and feel fulfilled in your work. If you’re even considering the possibility of retraining in construction, and escaping your current mode of employment, then now is the time to take advantage of an increasing high demand for construction workers – not only in the capital, but spread equally across the country. 

No matter where you are based, we have training centres which can serve your needs, get you trained and qualified, and out working on site before you know it. Offices might be on the rise again, but that doesn’t mean you want to be stuck in one yourself. 


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

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