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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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Adult Electrician Courses

 

Here at Access Training, we are huge believers in the importance of learning - at any age! Our students enrol onto our electrical courses for adult learners for many reasons. This could be for a complete change of career, to learn a new trade, or to top up on existing trade skills. No matter what your goal is, we have a range of electrician courses for adult learners to help you get there. 

Access Training is a trusted UK course provider, and we have electrical training centres dotted all over the country! Gain your electrical qualification with us, and benefit from our industry expertise and ongoing career support.

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Am I too old to retrain as an electrician? 

You're never too old to learn a new trade or retrain as an electrician. There is no time limit on learning - that's why we do what we do! Our comprehensive electrician courses for adult learners are open to all ages and backgrounds. You don't need any experience either - our skilled trainers have that all in hand and are more than happy to spend 1-to-1 time with students.

We'll help you to learn the electrical trade, get qualified and start your new career as an electrician - and every goal in between!

The autonomy that comes from learning a trade can be relieving. Gaining electrical qualifications not only opens up career opportunities with established companies, but it also creates a clear route to self-employment. Being your own boss is always an option with Access Training. 

By 2023, the UK will need between 7,500-10,000 electricians. No matter your age, you could be one of them by enrolling onto our electrician courses for adult learners.

 

How long does it take to become a qualified electrician? 

Electrician apprenticeships generally take three years to complete. After completion, it is up to the student whether they decide to continue onto higher education courses or other electrical training.

At Access Training, we're a bit different - we speed the process up without sacrificing quality education.

Students at Access Training can achieve the very highest level in the electrical trade and earn industry-recognised qualifications in a matter of weeks. These include highly-recognised PAT Testing courses and 18th Edition qualifications!

 

What makes Access Training better than other electrical training centres? 

We understand that adult learning can seem daunting at first. That's why we provide fast-track training from trusted UK training course providers. We never put our students through more than they need to - with us, there's no need to spend three years doing an apprenticeship. We'll get you exactly where you need to be.

Our flexible electrician courses for adult learners enable you to learn your trade and start work, or self-employment, within a far shorter timeframe than traditional routes.

Not only that, but our unique course packages include unlimited online learning, intensive practical training, and ongoing career support for up to 3 years after enrolment. 

 

Are you ready to take the next step?

For more information on our electrician courses for adult learners, click the buttons below and kickstart your new career today. 

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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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If you’re looking for a career in trade, you may be feeling a bit lost about what job role to choose.

There’s no denying that the trade industry is a great to get your teeth stuck into - there are always jobs available and you also get the brilliant satisfaction of hands-on work. But how do you choose your pathway?

If you're finding yourself asking - what course is right for me? Here are the characteristics and qualities needed for each of our courses to help you decide…

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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.

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.

Despite a high rate of productivity over the course of the pandemic, the UK construction industry is not in the clear yet. 

Recent months have seen construction firms across the country struck by a shortage of materials, as well as a decline in the number of workers available. As prices for a wide range of building materials rise, firms are finding it increasingly difficult to make a profit – and things are set to prove even more challenging as the months tick by.

In their latest report, consultant firm EY warned that the number of profit warnings in construction and materials firms were at a five-year low during the first half of 2021. Although projects have continued thus far, the continued shortage of both materials and workforce, and general ill health of the supply line, could make things considerably worse for the second half of this year. 

A range of crucial building materials, particularly cement and timber, have become concerningly limited in supply due to the continued impacts of both Brexit and Covid-19. Orders of bulk cement have been constrained, despite the fact that kilns at UK cement suppliers are all fully operational – this is an issue whose source lies at the very heart of the construction industry and the wider global economy. Stock shortages, delivery delays, and steeply rising inflation, have all coincided with an increased demand for the materials themselves.

Inflation on materials has risen by 10-15% compared to 2020, but some individual products have been struck more sharply than others. The price of most timber products, for example, has risen by between 20-50%. Plastic products, roofing products, landscaping products, insulation and more, have all faced shortages, causing some suppliers to simply cease stocking certain products due to their lack of economic viability. Not only are fundamental materials harder to find and more expensive to buy – they aren’t affordable whatsoever.

This is a crisis hitting each and every element of the construction industry, and predictions are being made of project delays further down the line. Ian Marson, the construction leader of EY-Parthenon UK, warns that ‘cost inflation may put new projects at risk’, despite the fact that ‘existing projects are continuing’. The issue might be, he suggests, in funding and developing future projects, even though current ones are underway. He goes on to say:

 

‘Companies with inflation clauses in their contracts should be able to weather short-term price increases but if prices remain high and shortages continue, project delays may become inevitable’. 

 

So what might the solutions be? The initial answer would be to continue the drive for training and upskilling, to turn the tide against the falling labour force. Meg Wilson, the turnaround and restructuring strategist for EY-Parthenon, suggests that the way forward lies in the ability of firms to ‘strike a balance responding to current demand while defending themselves from potential problems’:

 

‘Businesses reopening or expanding trading are balancing the investment and costs needed to meet increased demand against the removal of government support and the potential for setbacks’. 

 

A cautionary approach, forward thinking, and sensible investment, then, is the way forward for an industry battling the trials and tribulations of a world still dominated by Covid-19 and the political developments of recent years. The industry is well-stocked with individuals who understand the challenges ahead. Whatever happens, we know only too well how the construction industry has weathered many storms over the last year. It is a resilient machine, and there is no doubt that, despite the difficulties ahead, it will emerge stronger than ever. 

Construction industry leaders have called upon the government to end self-isolation requirements as thousands of site workers are being wrongfully told to self isolate by the NHS app, in an issue being dubbed the ‘pingdemic’. 

Trading bodies including the CLC, the NBF, and the CBI, have lobbied the government to consider bringing forward the date at which double-jabbed workers no longer have to self-isolate, as the workforce dwindles at the hands of unnecessary technical errors. The current cut-off date is August 16th, but industry leaders argue that an earlier date is essential if the industry is to get back on its feet.

It goes without saying that the industry has been significantly affected by this. While Covid cases are indeed rising in number, and workers are having to legitimately self-isolate after having caught the illness itself, there are many others who are being incorrectly informed of their coming into contact with positive cases by the NHS app, and are having to needlessly remove themselves from their places of work.

This is causing great disruption to construction sites up and down the country, and some are even being forced to close resulting from a lack of available onsite workers. Richard Beresford, the chief executive of the National Federation of Builders, has commented on the extent to which sites have been impacted:

 

‘Every member we have spoken to has Covid-negative staff isolating. Some have had to shut sites due to a site manager’s or other key staff being pinged and no replacements available’. 

 

He warns that the very survival of some sites is at stake – a couple of weeks of closure could have severe repercussions in the current climate, and after a year of similar disruptions, there is a degree of vulnerability which could leave construction firms in danger of permanent closure.

Andy Mitchell, the co-chair of the CLC, also describes the heightened challenges faced by the recent difficulties, saying that ‘very significant pressure’ has been placed upon the construction sector as a result. He has heard ‘reports from across the industry of plants, sites and offices having to wind down activities as staff have been asked isolate’, factors which again could threaten ‘project delivery and even the viability of some firms’. It is ‘essential’, he warns, for the date to be brought forward from August 16th, to ensure ‘that the industry doesn’t grind to a halt’. 

There are other benefits to bringing the date forward, according to CLC. They argue that a nearer date would actually increase the number of people who are fully vaccinated across the population, as more people would want to reap the benefits of immunity and ensure that they are immune from the need to self-isolate. It would bring an overall advantage to both the workforce and the wider population. 

This development has arisen during the height of growing concerns about shortage in material supplies, which have been ongoing since the beginning of 2021. High demand, inflation and long lead times have led to a backlog in even the most fundamental of supplies, such as concrete and timber, and prices of materials have risen by 10-15% in the last year.

Even industry giants such as Morgan Sindall have borne the brunt of the hardship, and recently commented on the current shortages and isolation issues faced by the industry. But chief-executive John Morgan remains optimistic. ‘It’s there, but it’s manageable. I believe the shortages aren’t as much as they were a few weeks ago. We’ve had it worse in the past’. Although the company ‘are feeling’ the strain of the recent weeks, they expect the situation to improve in the month ahead when the number of fully vaccinated workers will have risen.

The construction industry has powered through admirably during the last year of lockdowns, obstacles, and disruptions of all kinds, to ensure that crucial work is able to continue. And no doubt it will power through again. Morgan Sindall themselves are a reflection of the surprising successes awarded to the construction industry in the face of such a challenging year; their half-year trading update predicts that they will ‘significantly’ surpass their 2019 results. Triumphs can be found in the most unexpected of places.

Another month to get through, another challenge to face. But industry leaders are forever inspired and hopeful that the sector will carry us through. There’s only one thing we can keep doing, and that’s inviting new workers into the field, helping them become qualified, and giving them the opportunity to jump on board. And that person could be you.

It only takes one call, one course, and one decision. Become a skilled tradesperson today – and never look back.

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

 

The moment we have all kept in the back of our minds has now arrived. As of July 1st, the shift has begun towards the end of the furlough scheme.

553,000 people have lost their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic, and the furlough scheme has undoubtedly been responsible for this number being as relatively low as it is. At its peak, 10 million people were benefiting from furlough, while the overall cost to the government has been a knee-shaking £66bn. 

As of April 2021, 3.4 million people were still on furlough, a fall from 5.1 million in January. This number is still declining – by the end of May it was at around 2.4 million, according to HMRC figures, and current estimates for June are between 1.3-1.9 million. 

This tapering of furlough means that, from July 1st onwards, employers must contribute 10% of their employees’ wages for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, while the government contributes 70% where it previously covered 80%.

Between August and September, employers will then have to raise their portion to 20% of employees’ wages, while the government’s input drops to 60%. As of September 30th, the scheme will end entirely, and employers will pay the full amount once again. 

This is causing anxiety to both employers and employees alike, for obvious reasons, and numerous questions are being raised. Will the economy be back on its feet enough to sustain paying full wages again? Is September 30th yet another arbitrary deadline which will inevitably be extended? Or is this the real deal? 

It seems pretty set in stone. PM Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are determined to make this the final chapter of furlough support, with Johnson commenting that, ‘on the basis of what we can see now in the data … we don’t think we’ll need to change’. After the previous four extensions, the government will be highly reluctant to venture for a fifth furlough. Unless something drastic happens, with a large rise in infections and further restrictions necessary, it seems that September 30th is the final full stop to furlough.

September 30th is, in the government’s eyes, sufficient time to give businesses a chance to reopen and get back on their feet, and to prevent the need for another extension. From then on, they’re by themselves – employers will have to decide whether to take full time employees, or to make them redundant, unless another extension is decided. But for how long can this game of cat and mouse continue? 

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng adds to this sense of furlough finality, though tries to offer reassurance: 

‘The furlough isn’t simply being switched off. All we’re saying is that the employer should contribute something to the payroll, and then over time, over the next three months, the furlough will be taken away. It’s a difficult balanced decision to make, the furlough wasn’t going to last forever’. 

 

We knew this all too well, but the shock is still going to be heavy for a large number of people. Many business leaders believe that September 30th is an insufficient amount of time to be able to take on employees full time, and so the likelihood is leaning towards redundancy. Redundancy is becoming an inevitability for potentially hundreds of thousands of people.

Terry George, who owns the Mission night club in Leeds, as well as other hospitality venues, is fully anticipating having to make many of his staff redundant by the time September 30th arrives. ‘We can’t afford to pay people out of a pot that has no money coming in. We’re going to have to lose some staff’. 

What’s worse, is that we may have less time than it seems. September 30th might be the cutoff, but it’s perfectly clear to employers where things are headed. Every month between now and September is going to cost employers more money in wages – money that they don’t have. 

Redundancies will likely begin sooner rather than later, though perhaps not immediately. Hargreaves Lansdown personal finance analyst Sarah Coles has suggested that, although ‘they might not make anyone redundant on day one, their jobs will be under increasing threat as time goes on and government help is withdrawn further’. 

It might not be an instant change, then, but that’s not necessarily cause for hope. The possibility of a later redundancy is strong. The Institute for Fiscal Studies backs this speculation in their recent statement: ‘With the cost of keeping employees on furlough rising, we therefore expect to see rising redundancies over the summer even before the final end of the scheme.’ 

Realistically, there is only one way out of this. It is to embrace a change of career, to invest in your future and protect yourself from a crumbling job market. If you are still on furlough after all this time, and have not been able to resume work, the chances of facing redundancies are not slim. The next few months could see you out of work, and bereft of crucial government support.

But one sector of security, as proved by the stability of the last year, is the construction industry. Swathes of people have left their old jobs to begin afresh as a tradesperson, or have balanced retraining with their old job to supplement their falling wages. People have taken this time to upskill, to add to their employability, so that when things are back to normal, there is a career there waiting for you. 

The construction industry has survived first, second, third waves of lockdown. Trade work has still been able to continue despite restrictions, thanks to the efficiency and professionalism of its workers. The flexibility and adaptability of the industry has meant that crucial work has been able to go ahead. 

But what is clear is that construction work simply cannot be put on pause for long. Whether it’s large scale infrastructural work or domestic projects, people need tradespeople to keep working, to keep pushing through. Demand has not dwindled for a second, and has in fact continued to rise. Wages have not fallen, they have risen. Job vacancies have not been swallowed up, they continue to offer opportunities to workers. 

We need skilled, qualified tradespeople more than ever. And in the next three months, a career in construction might be the thing that makes the nightmare of the past year go away. All it takes is that burst of self belief, to take your future into your own hands, and not fall victim to furlough’s end.


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

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