New data from Access Training UK has found that more Britons than ever are learning a trade skill with the goal of undertaking a career change.
- Demand for vocational training courses has increased by 29% since the pandemic began
- The most popular courses are for electricians, gas engineers, plumbing and carpentry
- Newly qualified tradespeople can expect to out-earn graduates by approximately £7,000 per year
The UK’s leading training provider has seen demand for courses explode in recent months and since June 2021, applications have increased by 29%. The most popular professions that people are hoping to transition into are electricians with a 38% increase, closely followed by increases in trainee gas engineer (29%), plumbers (24%) and carpenters (13%).
This surge could be linked to the pandemic, with people taking time to reflect on what they want from a career. Previous research has suggested that the pandemic has sparked a career switching revolution for mature workers. Microsoft revealed that over 45s employed in sales, media and marketing were the most likely to be embarking on a career change in the coming months.
However, it is likely that the interest cannot purely be attributed to just a lifestyle choice – the security of trade jobs is also another big factor in this decision making. The pandemic created a tumultuous job market for certain industries. However, demand for tradespeople actually increased during lockdown, to the point that homeowners faced lengthy delays in finding skilled workers to complete home improvement jobs. As such, possessing a trade skill provided workers with an added layer of job security.
Tradespeople out-earn graduates
Moreover, people are beginning to see that tradespeople have significant earning potential, even compared to those possessing advance academic qualifications.
University has long been seen as the route to financial success, however, graduate salaries have stalled in recent years. The High Fliers report has found that the median starting salary for graduates has been held at £30,000 for the past 5 years. However, this will be influenced by graduate salaries in elite industries, such as legal and banking, and other sources have indicated that a realistic starting salary is between £21-25,000.
In contrast, a newly qualified tradesperson can realistically expect to earn £31,500 in their first year on the job. This means young tradespeople will be earning approximately £7,000 more than their academic peers, without having to bear the £45,000 debt that typically comes with studying at university.
Jamie Jefferies, CEO of Access Training UK, comments:
“Lockdown highlighted the importance of tradespeople – it was one of the few sectors that could continue their work to help keep the lights on and the water running. This wasn’t lost on people, who recognised that learning a trade is a route to steady and well-paid work.
As well as offering a well-paid career, the day-to-day work of tradespeople can be incredibly rewarding. Whether it’s fitting a new boiler or lighting system, completing a day’s work leads to tangible results that change lives, and can be an incredible source of pride.
The pandemic was a time to take a step back and re-evaluate what was important to us, particularly in terms of our careers, and many are realising that a trade can tick a lot of boxes. As a result, we are seeing unprecedented demand for training places, allowing people to upskill and embark on an exciting new start.”