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

Robert Peston interviews Access Training on ITV

ITV News, 24th September 2020

Access Training was recently featured on a special edition of ITV's Tonight. Titled 'Can We Save Our Jobs?' and presented by Robert Peston, the programme highlighted the trials and tribulations that people have endured while on furlough during the coronavirus pandemic: 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."

Access Training tutor Jimmy Adkins, speaking to ITV's Robert Peston

 

The programme featured several Access Training students - people from a variety of backgrounds who felt the economic impact of the pandemic and made the wise decision to pursue a career in the trade industry. Chefs have become gas engineers, cab drivers have taken up plumbing, and even solicitors are jumping on the bandwagon.

Talking to Peston, our gas tutor Jimmy Adkins gives an excellent summary of the situation, detailing the enormous spike in demand for construction courses that followed the COVID-19 crisis:

 

"It went absolutely crazy. Guys have 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."

Access Training tutor Jimmy Adkins

 

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 this 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, the situation at home - expecting a baby and so forth - and my partner also being in the hospitality industry... both of us sitting on furlough, you can imagine the stress."

Access Training student Chris Kruger

 

Access Training on ITV

ITV Tonight: Can We Save Our Jobs?

Chris very wisely decided that retraining as a plumber would secure his young family's future in these increasingly unsettling and unstable times. 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. The furlough scheme has now ended, but the pandemic is ongoing and there is still a lot of uncertainty about the future - especially in sectors like entertainment and hospitality, which were hit especially hard by Covid and which will bear the brunt of any future lockdowns.

The Access Training students who appeared on ITV's Tonight programme took the right steps at the right time to become qualified tradespeople. They invested in their careers, and made the choice to be 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.

 

Demand is high, and the time is now. Take the initiative today - get in touch now to speak to a course advisor.

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Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

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