‘There’s an already-growing squeeze on unskilled workers; what we’ve seen is labour rates already creeping up, particular labourers, because we’re finding it harder to find eastern European workers’ – Darin Burrows, director of recruitment agency City Sites.

 

 

Industry experts are predicting 2021 to be a fruitful and financially rewarding year for construction workers, as demand for skilled tradespeople increases rapidly

If there was ever a good time to cash in on the lifeboat that is the construction industry, then this is the year to do so. Experts and industry leaders have predicted that a 10% rise in cost for labourers and skilled tradespeople is on the way for in 2021. 

That’s right. Tradespeople are effectively being awarded a 10% pay rise. And it’s highly deserved, of course; over the last year, construction workers have been among the often unsung heroes of our communities, keeping the economy and the country afloat, giving it a much-needed boost and providing essential services.

But how has this good fortune come about, and what will it mean for those working within the industry? 

 

The primary reason for this positive development for tradespeople, is that since the onset of Covid, demand for tradespeople has increased massively. But this higher demand has collided with a significant decrease in the number of workers from Europe. The Office for National Statistics has shown that, in the aftermath of Brexit, 25% of the UK’s EU-born construction workforce left the industry between September 2019 and September 2020. 

This has left a gaping hole in a workforce already struggling to cope with an enormous workload and project demand; EU nationals previously made up as much as 80% of the labour workforce for recruitment agencies such as Darin Burrows’s City Sites, and such a large decrease means that the UK is desperate for more construction workers

Major towns and cities in the UK have been hit particularly hard by this shortage; contractors in London and Birmingham, such as the London-based contractor Golden Houses, have had to bring in workers from out of town in a desperate scramble to meet labour demands, from areas further afield such as Leicester and Nottingham.

But this is, of course, very good news for construction workers and those looking to get into the trade industry. And why? Because the skills and services you can offer are now in far more limited supply, and so are valued much higher. That is, you’ll be getting paid more than you would have before – a whopping 10% more. 

This means that the UK’s construction workforce will have far more control, freedom, and success in their work; they have more power to set their rates, another reason why the construction industry is incredibly appealing for employment and working opportunities. 

 

The construction industry’s remarkable performance in the post-Covid world has been widely commented upon, as it has continued to employ thousands of people across the country, and in many respects carry on as normal. In fact, the construction industry was one of two UK industries to report a higher number of job vacancies compared to the same in 2019. 

And now, not only has the construction industry recovered from the initial blow of Covid’s initial months with more job vacancies, but it has provided its workers with this much needed financial boost. It has given thousands of people the rare security of well-paid, guaranteed work. And the importance of this cannot go unstressed: in times like these, the construction industry is completely invaluable to those who need the stability of a long-term career

We can make you that promise: that qualifying as a tradesperson will keep you busy and earning for years to come. Access Training can make sure that you benefit from this increase in rates; Access Training can give you a long-lasting and fulfilling career, with lifelong skills; Access Training can get you where you want to be in your career. All it takes is a call.

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen. 

 

The construction industry stands ready to start creating the thousands of new homes the country needs, and building the hundreds of modern schools and colleges in which our children can be equipped with the skills they’ll need to succeed in a post-pandemic economy’ – Steeve Beechy, Wates public sector director

 

We are entering an exciting, productive, and affluent time for the construction industry. It’s continually surprising, given the circumstances, that the construction sector is experiencing what many are already calling a ‘boom’ which is seeing levels of productivity reach and surpass pre-pandemic levels. 

In November, the value of all construction work put together reached an incredible £14.01 billion, only a hair’s breadth from last year’s peak of £14.05 billion in January 2020, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Growth in the industry, led by the infrastructure sector, jumped by a massive 10% in October.

 

Growth has extended to a seven-month streak and total construction output has powered back past its pre-pandemic level for the first time.’ – Gareth Belsham, Director of Property Consultancy Naismiths.

 

Also in November, we saw the infrastructure sector earn a whopping £2 billion worth of work, the highest amount on record for the infrastructure market. Despite the UK economy shrinking by 2.6% overall in November, the construction industry entered its sixth consecutive month of growth since April, and this continued into December. If anything will get the country out of an economic slump, it’s the construction industry, and construction workers – and that could mean you too. 

What’s most promising about these developments, is that the upward trend of growth is so consistent, so solid. December was a similarly positive month of growth for construction work, which is evidence of increasing long-term demand for construction workers. Predictions are being made that the construction industry could very well be a massive help in helping the country out of a dark economic hole. 

In accordance with the government’s announcement of massive long-term financial investment into the construction industry, it’s looking likely that, whatever happens, the next five years will be a prosperous one for those working within trade. Prepare for the construction industry to ‘level-up’, as the government plans to spend the following: 

 

  • £27.5 billion on English roads until 2025

  • £7.1 billion on a National Home Building Fund

  • £23 billion extra funding for HS2 until 2025

  • £4 billion for a ‘levelling-up’ fund, allowing areas to bid for up to £20 billion to directly fund local projects.

 

This adds up to an eye-watering £61.6 billion pounds of investment, at the very least. If that’s not a sign of how great a priority this industry is for our future development as a country, then I don’t know what is.

The construction industry has been able to perform incredibly well in relation to other sectors in the UK, thanks to an abundance of work, and sanctions from the government which allowed construction work to continue under lockdown. 

It has provided work for thousands, crucially important services for tens of thousands, and a solid future of employment and stability for even more. It is yours to join, to contribute to, to be a part of – all you have to do is become qualified and start looking in the right places. We can give you all of this – just give us a call.

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

This week, Robert Jenrick MP - the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government - announced planning reforms in a bid to get the UK building trade back on its feet.

Dubbed 'Rob the Builder', Jenrick promised to rip up red tape in order to help smaller construction firms and kickstart the British economy.

The government is planning to construct 300,000 new properties each year, and Jenrick wants a "substantial" portion of those buildings to be constructed by small and medium-sized businesses.

He said:

"We'll cut red tape, but not standards - placing a higher regard on quality, design and the environment than ever before.

"Planning decisions will be simple and transparent, with local democracy at the heart of the process. Today's reforms are going to give our brickies, builders and labourers the boost they need to get back to the business of building homes.

"Thousands of self-employed workers will be able to don their hard hats and help the country recover from the impact of coronavirus."

Many construction workers and other tradespeople have been outspoken in their appreciation of the news, welcoming moves to speed up the planning process.

One company spokesperson said: "Many building workers are paid weekly, so it's a quickfire way to put cash back into the economy."

With the UK building trade at the forefront of government plans for the nation's economic recovery, there has never been a better time to learn a trade and join the construction industry. Call Access Training on 0800 345 7492 to speak with a course advisor today.

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Construction worker carrying plans

Demand for construction and groundworkers has surpassed the pre-lockdown peak, suggesting that the rest of the UK construction industry is about to experience a significant upturn.

Analysis of payroll data by Hudson Contract, the industry's biggest payer of subcontractors, shows that the number of groundworks operatives paid in the week beginning 29th June reached 6,467. This exceeds the previous high of 6,261 - recorded in the week of 16th March, just before lockdown - and shows how far the construction industry has recovered since the low point of 1,735 in the week of 20th April.

Groundworkers typically prepare construction sites for the foundations of new homes. Ian Anfield, Hudson's managing director, said:

"Every trade follows the groundworkers, so they are the best indicator of what is happening.

"We are quite surprised at these findings because a number of our large clients have not yet returned to full capacity with their labour needs.

"But many smaller construction firms are very busy as a result of pent-up demand to complete smaller housing developments."

Overall, labour demand dropped to 30% of capacity during April but has now recovered to 74%, according to Hudson.

This development comes hot on the heels of positive news and government announcements from the last two months. Construction output rose by 8.2% in May after the record cliff-edge fall suffered in April at the height of the industry's lockdown. And with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announcing huge plans to provide career opportunities, it looks like the UK construction industry is going from strength to strength even in this difficult time.

Experts are now urging people to think about learning a trade and pursuing career in construction to help fill the demand that will arise in the coming months and 2021 as the UK gets back on its feet.

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