Bricklaying and plastering are two of the most common trades that come up in discussion about the skills shortage the construction industry is suffering from, but the latest State of Trade survey suggests this shortage is more dire than many may have thought - especially when it comes to small businesses.

The survey, set up by the Federation of Master Builders, found that more than a third of construction SMEs are struggling to recruit the required number of bricklayers to keep up with their workload. In additional to this, 27% of firms are also having difficulty finding the plasterers they need.

FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry said: "The results act as a stark warning that the government must not take the recovery in the construction sector for granted. Although this snapshot of small construction firms marks the fifth consecutive quarter of positive results, if we don’t have enough of the right people to complete the work, private and public projects could be stalled across the board."

With the skilled labourers demand rising in tandem with the demand for new building work, stalling projects really is becoming a major concern. The construction industry is relying on new people to earn their qualifications and join the workforce - people like you. Are you tired of your desk-based job, seek out a more physical and hands-on career or simpy want a more practical alternative to going to university? A construction career could be exactly what you're looking and for and after reading this, you know you'll be welcomed with open arms. Combine that with a varied worklife and impressive wage and you've got a pretty fantastic career ahead of you.

The quickest and most effective way to becoming a qualified plasterer or bricklayer is through an intensive training course from Access Training. In matter of weeks we can have you fully trained to a professional standard, complete with official City & Guilds qualifications. You'll be taught in a state-of-the-art centre by experienced tradespeople, who will be sharing their trade experiences as well as delivering the skills you need. And we don't just offer bricklaying and plastering either - we also have plumbing, electric, gas, carpentry, tiling and decorating courses ready and available!

Just give our team a call on 0800 345 7492 a course adviser will be in touch to discuss the options most suitable to you. Starting a brand new career has never been easier!

News via Construction Enquirer

As of the 1st July, the Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) are no longer issuing the Green Construction Site Operative (CSO) card, replacing it with a brand new Green Labourer Card.

The CSCS’ role is to provide a scheme for the construction industry that confirms site workers’ training and qualifications. However many site workers carrying out skilled occupations have been applying for the green CSO card simply as the easiest route to gain access to construction sites. This in turn has made it difficult for contractors to use CSCS cards as a reliable method of checking that site workers have the appropriate skills to work on construction sites safely and effectively.

The new card requires applicants to achieve the Level 1 Health and Safety in a Construction Environment qualification, designed to improve safe working practices on UK construction sites. This isn't just applicable to newcomers to the construction industry either - those who need to renew their card will also require this qualification.

City & Guilds will be supplying this as the 6072 qualification, which we are approved to run here in Cardiff at Access Training. For those closer to the Kent area that need to complete this to start their brand new career, we will soon also be providing the same service at our sister centre the Plumbing Academy. For more information on what this qualification entails and to book your place, get in touch with our course advisers on 0800 345 7492.

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

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

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

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

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

Statistics via The Construction Index

Click here for more info on National Women in Engineering Day

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

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

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

The full video can be viewed below:

Link to full Sky News feature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's more good news for the construction industry as the Government begins to move forward with £36 billion of planned infracture investment between 2014 and 2015 - potentially supporting over 150,000 jobs.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osbourne paid a joint visit to a Skansa site yesterday to promote the measure, which will see 200 projects rail, road, local transport, flood defences, broadband, airport infrastructure and waste management start construction. In addition to this, nearly 200 infrastructure projects will see completion this year. The £36bn investment consists of £5bn public money, £21bn in private cash and £10bn in joint investment.

A full list of the projects can be found here.

Cameron said: "Ensuring Britain has first class infrastructure is a crucial part of our long term economic plan: supporting business, creating jobs and providing a better future for hardworking people.

"As a crucial part of our long-term economic plan, this government is backing business with better infrastructure so that more jobs and opportunities are created for hardworking people, meaning more financial security and peace of mind for families.

Osborne added: "Because of the tough decisions we have taken in day to day spending, we can prioritise public investment where it is most needed and create the right conditions for private investment in infrastructure where it brings value for the taxpayer.

“So this year over 200 new projects worth an estimated £36 billion are due to start, creating thousands of jobs, securing future growth and delivering the world class infrastructure Britain deserves."

More jobs means more opportunity, and more opportunity means an even better reason why now is the time to re-train and take up a career in the construction industry. With on ongoing economic boom raising the demand for qualified bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, tilers and more, wages have also reached an all-time high. Some areas in the UK even reported bricklayers earning upwards of £100,000 a year! If you've been looking to for a more challenging and active career, now is the time to take the bull by the horns.

But first you'll need the proper skills and qualifications for the job, something we can help you with here at Access Training. Offering intensive training courses in all of the popular trades, our expertise will guide you through everything you need to know for your brand new career. To find out more and speak to a member of our course advice team please give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.

Via Construction Enquirer

We've posted plenty of blog entries about how changing careers into construction right now because of the big industry boom that's going on, but what about the other great reasons beside wages and job opportunity? New research from AXA Business Insurance looked at hundreds of UK tradespeople to find out more about them.

The old stereotype of trade work just being for those who don't want to go to/dropped out of university couldn't be more wrong, with over a third of respondents (37%) being university educated. Meanwhile 83% had formal qualifications in their respective trades (such as an NVQ Level 2 diploma), and 70% had gotten where they are today through an apprenticeship. In turn, more than half had then extended these opportunities to other newcomers to the trade by offering a formal apprenticeship within their own businesses.

Another stereotype that's slowly being broken down is that trade work is just a man's game. Though the growing amount of female tradespeople still only represented one in ten within the research, two thirds of these were under the age of 35 - suggesting that many women are now considering it to start our careers.

The decision to be your own boss and go self-employed is also proving to be increasingly popular - with over half of respondents going on to set up their own business. 28% revealed that their introduction into the trade was through a family business, while half also said they had worked in another industry before settling on their trade. That just goes to show how it's never too late to make a career change!

So how about a bit more of their working routine? According to the data, the UK's tradespeople are working an average of 41 hours a week, taking around 2 and 3/4 week's holiday a year. The majority (89%) will work weekends some of the time while one in five always work weekends. But despite this, when asked to rate their job happiness on a scale of 1 to 10, the average came out at eight suggest most tradespeople are content with their way of life. And of course, if working weekends is going to be a problem, as a self-employed tradesperson you'll be able to choose your own hours!

So there you have it, the other side as to why joining a trade can be an amazing career path. This research just highlights how tradespeople can come from all manner of different backgrounds with different skillsets, but all get to enjoy the same rewards. The same applies to our trades training courses - we welcome students from all different backgrounds, gender, experience and skill levels. All you need with us is the determination to make your new career a reality. To find out more about the range of electrician, plumbing, gas and construction courses we have on offer, please just give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

Via HVP Mag

Why not start a new career?The steps to retrain and start a new career aren't quite as hard as many people think, but there's always one obstacle that makes the decision much harder than it needs to be - fear. The fear of it not quite working out, the fear of what other people might think of your new career path, the fear of struggling to find (and pass) the training you require...these and many other fears are preventing people from making their dreams come true. However, these fears will only stop you if you let them, and this can be avoided with three simple steps to helping that dream career become a reality.

Play to your strengths

The various construction/trade industries all rely on different skillsets that realistically may or may not be suitable. Trades such as bricklaying or plastering place greater emphasis on physical strength and stamina, while electrical and gas engineering training require more theory knowledge and calculating skills. Knowing what you excel at is the key to making your new career a success, but be sure to also do a good amount of research into your potential new career before starting down the path. What qualifications do you need? Where can you train? What will the course entail? These are the kind of questions you should be asking, and ones that our team of course advisors would also be happy to answer for you.

 

Take it one step at a time

Even if you're dead-set on what you want to do with your life, the thought of rushing into a new career can still be incredibly daunting. At the same time, procrastinating can also doom something to failure before it's even gotten properly off the ground. Don't just make a website or twitter and then leave it to die; instead, wait until you're good and ready to do things like that . Take it slowly - we've already mentioned research, so move on to writing your goals down on paper. Discuss your plans with friends and family - you never know, they might have work that needs doing that you can eventually take on or even have some handy contacts in the industry. Come to one of our training centres, have a look around, and discuss your needs with our course advisors. Then, when you feel ready, you can book the date for your training course and have plenty of time to prepare yourself.

 

Prepare a safety net

While we by no means think failure is a likely thing (in fact, we're confident it'll be quite the opposite), it would be wrong of you to not prepare for the worst just as a precautionary measure. Make sure you have an idea of where you could turn for a job should your new career not turn out the way you expect, and then once that's written down, keep it safe and you need never think about it again unless it comes up. It's also good to be sure you have ample finances to keep yourself afloat while you're training. If you're currently employed you might want to hold onto that job for as long as possible while you retrain. This is why we've made our courses flexible - so that you can train when you have the time.

 

That should get some of the fear out of the way! Now, here are some very real facts that demonstrate why now is the time to start a new career as a professional plumber, electrician, gas engineer or construction worker. The UK is always short of professional tradespeople to perform all kinds of domestic installations and fixings, and with new housebuilding on the rise that shortage is only going to increase. There simply aren't enough bricklayers, plasterers, carpenters and tilers around to help set the houses up, and even when there are, where are the electricians, plumbers and decorators who are able to turn that house into a home?

Construction/trade careers are cited among the happiest around, offering the right level of challenge to match the skills required. The hours and pay rate are enviable too, especially if you choose to go self-employed!

Still, there's no wrong time to start a new career. These trades aren't just a young man's game, nor are they something best suited only to older people; if you've got the drive and dedication to earn your qualifications and make the dream come true, then you're exactly what employers are looking for.

To find out more about what's on offer here at Access Training, give us a call on 0800 345 7492. Keep your end goal in sight, and then not even fear will be able to stop you.

Every so often its good for this blog to break away for the wealth of industry news going on in the world, and there's never a better reason for it than to share our own students' success stories. Today we've got some REALLY good news to share, as we congratulate last month's electrician students on completing their 2395 Electrical Inspection and Testing courses with a 100% pass rate!

The City & Guilds 2395 Periodic Inspection & Testing is renowned for being a notoriously difficult qualification to achieve. It is aimed at experienced electricians (and thus there are specific criteria candidates need to meet before they can even attempt the exam) who wish to gain further knowledge in the inspection, testing and certification of electrical installations. The assessment itself consists of the following three parts;

  • A multi-choice online exam
  • A closed book written exam
  • A practical exam

Upon successful completion, candidates will be able to complete the Electrical Condition Installation Report. However the difficulty of the course is reflected in the pass rate, with the last Chief Examiner's Report (dated December 2013) showing a national pass rate of 47%. Nevertheless, Access Training has remained confident in its ability to deliver the test, promising candidates that against the odds they too will be able to gain this highly sought after qualification. And our results for February prove that we weren't wrong.

100% of our entrants passed the exam last month, and our sister centre The Plumbing Academy wasn't far behind with four out of five of their candidates also achieving this prestigious qualification. Very few, if any, centres have achieved such pass rates in the past, collectively making Access Training Academies among the top training centres in the country for this qualification. But this isn't our success - a huge congratulations to all our successful students and all the best with your new qualification and career prospects.

Centre manager Tony Maus said, "When you compare the national pass rate with our own in both centres the results just speak for themselves. This is fantastic news and well done to all our successful candidates. They've earned it."

If you're an experienced electrician looking to further their career and skillset, have you thought about giving the 2395 qualification a go yourself? At Access we are determined to maintain this excellent pass rate well into the future and look forward to you being a part of it, so give us a call on 0800 345 7492 to find out more.

Trainee and existing tradespeople alike will know there's a lot to remember when it comes to current building regulations. Whether it's having to remember Part P when performing electrical installations or keeping energy efficiency in mind because of Part L, it's a lot to take in. However tradespeople's lives are about to get that little bit easier when it comes to house building, as Communities minister Stephen Williams announced that the current housing regulations were "complicated and confusing" and "ripe for reform".

The proposed changes are a very large scale, reducing the current 100 standards down to a mere 10, with the number of remaining pages of guidance from 1,000 down to less than a hundred. Among the abolished standards are requirements for rainwater harvesting in places that don't suffer from water shortages, requirements for more than one phone line to be installed and requirements for compost bins and secure sheds in gardens.

Another important change is that this new system technical requirements will be solely assessed by building control bodies. Currently work needs to be check by multiple organisations such as the planning authority, a Code for Sustainable Homes Assessor, Homes & Communities Agency as well as the aforementioned building control organisation and various other independent assessors.

Other changes being made to the regulations include:

  • Optional regulations such as water efficiency and wheelchair access that is up to councils whether to apply or not.
  • A single national space standard.
  • A new standard for security in new homes.
  • New energy standards which allow councils to impose locally-set targets for energy efficiency and renewables.

More detailed information is still yet to be revealed, however the news seems to have been received positively by housebuilders across the UK. Head of Residential at construction consultant EC Harris Mark Farmer said that they are "a further step toward improving housing standards and supporting house builders to reduce the national housing shortfall".

We'll provide more detailed news on these changes as they come, but for now it certainly seems like tradespeople will have a little less red tape to deal with when it comes to new house building. If you'd like to join the construction boom and become a professional tradesperson, give Access Training a call on 0800 345 7492 to find out more about our trades training courses.

Via Construction Enquirer

The apparent skills shortage and lack of young people joining the construction sector continues to be a burning issue for the industry, training centres, colleges and awarding bodies alike. Construction productivity has been steadily growing over the past few months and is expected to continue in the next few years, however a significant portion of the existing workforce is set to retire and meanwhile schools seem to be actively discouraging leaving students to take up vocational careers in the industry. These things mixed together sound like a recipe for disaster, so it's no wonder that the CITB have referred to the incoming scenario as a "ticking time bomb". Something needs to be done, and the first port of call is better promotion of apprenticeships and an eventual career in the construction industry to young adults - namely 16-25 year olds. And the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Construction Training Industry Board (CITB) and City & Guilds have all been doing research into how this can be achieved.

To begin, the CIOB and CITB joined forces last month to help produce a cross-party parliamentary enquiry entitled "No more lost generations: Creating construction jobs for young people". The cover of the 23-page report sums up the problem succinctly - Britain has one million NEETs (Not in education, employment or training) aged 16-24, and there are at least 182,000 construction jobs to be filled by 2018. However only 7,280 completed a construction apprenticeship last year - prompting the bodies' to firmly say "We have to do better."

Amongst the full report, which highlights the difficult economic recession the construction industry went through and how its recovery is progressing, a number of different strategies are suggested to solve this very real problem. These include:

  • Improving understanding in schools of the wide variety of careers the construction industry offers. This includes traditional crafts, management and even computer-based modelling.
  • Making it easier for young people to find an appropriate entry route into the industry - whether it be through apprenticeships or qualifications.
  • Ensuring training programmes are better linked to the nature of jobs likely to be available
  • Using the levers available through public-sector procurement and the planning system to require realistic and effective training and employment commitments from employers.
  • Securing greater commitment and buy-in from industry leaders.

The report also put forward a selection of proposed actions to help bring about these improvements, including a training summit between the CITB and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills with backing from the Construction Leadership Council. Additional measures suggested included a revitalised apprenticeship strategy, local authorities to leverage planning obligations, more leadership from social landlords and public bodies and finally a step change in the careers advice young people receive.

Meanwhile City & Guilds own research, titled "Building Futures on Shifting Foundations", looked at what skills, education and training was currently required by the construction industry. It took a sample of 344 respondents - made up of 168 senior managers from construction businesses and 176 education providers who deliver qualifications needed to break into the industry. The research was done in relation to Construction 2025, a joint strategy between the Government and Industry that sets out how Britain could be at the forefront of global construction in the future. 

The survey identified that employers do indeed recognise a skills gap when it comes to driving the construction industry forward, with the main skills they felt lacking being:

  • Trade skills - 42% recognising a gap
  • Maths and English - 39% recognising a gap
  • Problem solving - 35% recognising a gap
  • Technical skills - 31% recognising  a gap

Most importantly though the survey revealed although apprenticeships may be the key to fixing the industry's problems, employers aren't utilising this vital role. The survey found:

  • 42% of businesses said that they currently employ no apprentices
  • 40% said apprentices made up less than 1% of their workforce
  • Just over half (56%) said they don't plan to take on any apprentices in the next year
Problems cited by these employers included "funding issues" and "uncertainty around my firm's workload", however a significant proportion (70%) recognised the financial support they could receive by taking on an apprentice. They also questioned respondents on the Richard Review - an independent report issued to review the current apprenticeship system and identify how it can changed to meet the needs of the future economy. While half (49%) admitted that they had not heard of the report before, upon learning more about it 56% agreed it is important for the future of the construction industry. 

For more in-depth detail, read the full reports here:

CIOB/CITB: No More Lost Generations: Creating construction jobs for
young people (PDF)

City & Guilds: Building Futures on Shifting Foundations (PDF)

 

The outlook is currently very bright for the construction industry, however in order for things to work out successfully the path it must take is clear. Official bodies of all different origin agree that young people taking up a career in construction in the key to plugging this skills shortage and ensuring that the construction "boom" really is a boom. Careers in bricklaying, carpentry, plastering, tiling and painting/decorating are not the stereotypical jobs many media outlets portray them to be. As well as the crucial element of skill and technique required by them, these active careers are varied and exciting - with workers citing them as among the happiest of careers as well as enjoying an impressive salary. If academic education doesn't appeal to you or you want to enter a line of work where this is actually a place for you, then a construction career may be just what you're looking for and Access Training is right here to help. We offer intensive training courses in all construction trades, making us one of the most varied training centres in the UK. At our state-of-the-art training centre just on the outskirts of Cardiff city centre you'll be able to learn the vital skills from experienced professionals, earning the necessary qualifications in a fraction of the time you would with a college course - without skimping on any of the quality!

To find out more about what we can offer you here at Access to kickstart your new career in the fastest and most effective way possible, give our advice team a call on 0800 345 7492.

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