It has been reported that unemployment in the UK has been steadily decreasing over the last few years, but looking closely at the numbers, in the UK there is currently around 1.71 million people who are unemployed, get the skilled trades industry needs at least 35,000 entrants to stand still.

With enough unemployed people to help close the trade skills gap - why are people not considering a career as an electrician, plumber, or gas engineer? We believe that there is a distinct lack of information provided by schools about the qualifications needed and the career opportunities available for young people within skilled trade industries.

Mark Beard, chief executive of regional contractor Beard, believes that “only a few young people see construction as a viable, well paid or exciting industry to work in because careers information at school is generally inadequate and out-dated”

The industry must also build better relationships with careers advisor's and teachers, said Beard, as well as ensuring that they have high-quality information and materials that provide accurate and informed advice.

He added: “By stepping into the classroom and sharing insights about apprenticeships, work placements and our own career paths, we can help young people make informed choices. We can also advise them on the skill-sets and qualifications they’ll need to succeed in the digital construction world of the future.”

In general we agree with the point raised by Mark Beard. If construction companies and trade industry experts took the time to deliver career talks or engaging educational days to children, we could motivate more people to aspire to become a plumber or an electrician.

Firstly, It is important that we work to dispel the myths about trade jobs. Many people still see trades jobs and low paid, unimportant, and physically demanding jobs which are more suited to men than women, which is simply not the case. By dispelling these myths from a young age, we may find that more women aspire to become a trades-woman.   We need to start communicating to young people that learning a skilled trade is an important, exciting job, and there will always be plenty of well-paid, work available.

Secondly, we believe there is a lack of assistance for school leavers who wish to embark on a trade career instead of going to university. In many schools, the focus for many students is to carry on their education through 6th form or college and onto university. As we know, university doesn't appeal to everyone, and the pressure to go to university that some school apply on their students, may leave many people feeling alienated and questioning what careers paths they can embark on instead of going onto further education. To help educate students about careers in trade, industry experts should be working closely with schools and colleges. Helping to open the discussion about trade jobs and providing up to date information on the qualifications needed to become a skilled trades person will help educate and inspire people from a young age.

UK companies need to become more engaged with the younger generation, and need to inform children about the importance to skilled trades, and the need for individuals with a specialist skill set and the type of career they can have. For many students, not having an extortionate amount of debt over their heads upon completion of their education could be very appealing!


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