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Trade Education: Skills Shortage, Apprenticeships and Vocational Training

Rhino Trade Insurance 11 February 2023

Tradespeople are vital to our lives. Every day, thousands of builders, plumbers and electricians go about their work. Almost like they are seen but not heard. A quiet group of heroes! With that said, the news on the industry is bleak. Talk of inflation, lack of training and a skills shortage dominate the press. 

Today, Rhino Trade Insurance takes a closer look at these points and how we can, as an industry, resolve them. Tradesmen and women need our support; otherwise, life could get very difficult indeed - they do, after all, keep our power on and water running. 

Is there a skills shortage?

The short answer is yes. The long answer goes a little something like this…

If you ever needed a time to see how important tradespeople are, it has been the past three years. With worldwide issues like the pandemic and inflation rocking the economy, spotting a clear skills shortage in the trades was easy. For years, articles and industry experts have warned that a skills shortage is coming, with older generation tradesmen and women retiring and not enough trained youngsters coming through. It just so happens that when the world reopened for business, there was plenty of money for customers to spend on their homes, thus causing a shortage of skilled labour to get things done. 

Even the CITB have noted that the UK will need to hire at least 250,000 construction workers by 2026 to keep up with the demands of the industry. Joinery and Carpentry being the trades with the biggest gaps in employment. 

To add insult to injury, this shortage could be compounded by targets set by the government, such as those that aim to install 600,000 heat pumps in homes and premises in the UK. That means our already busy tradespeople may need to go through increased training to install, service and repair newer technologies targeted by the government whilst having to meet the demand of their already demanding customers. 

But don't let that put you off; it isn't all doom and gloom. As you may be away, Rhino believes in transparency, and there is plenty of help and guidance in this industry. We want to share as much as we can. 

Should you consider vocational training? 

The requirements for training and qualifications vary by industry. Obtaining certification or completing a particular degree program can demonstrate a person's dedication to their profession and depth of knowledge. With the skills shortage in mind, attitudes may slowly change regarding whether younger generations should consider vocational training

For many years, the UK has leaned towards a university education that often doesn't promise a solid career outcome. The perception that learning a trade will result in lower financial rewards first needs to become a myth. Prospective tradespeople typically earn as much as newly qualified graduates, and they usually do so without paying for degrees. In addition, learning a trade instils entrepreneurship and business management into you and encourages you to start your own business once you feel ready. 

Just like policies made going to university more financially acceptable for younger generations, we need to look at options for funding that are more specific and a change to apprenticeship programs so that they provide tangible support to help people through training to fill the skills shortage.

There are plenty of training schools and businesses offering free starter programs. It's up to us to take the chance and help rebuild the industry. 

Even as a fully qualified tradesperson, you are always able to learn. Take, for example, electricians and plumbers. The world is changing fast, and you have the ability to take your knowledge and supercharge it. Take certified training courses such as installing newer technologies like EV charges or heat pumps. There is an abundance of learning to be had in the trade sector. 

Should you consider an apprentice?

If you are reading this and wondering whether to get into the trade industry, there are several reasons why you should. Considering you will always have a job due to demand, not be burdened with student debts and can earn an excellent salary, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better alternative. We wrote a helpful blog that lists all the reasons to train as a tradesman or woman here

But what about apprentices, and should you take one on? Employing an apprentice as a tradesman has both advantages and disadvantages, as with any business decision; here are a few of them:

The Pros

  • They put in a lot of effort, work hard and learn.
  • They typically will stay with you for a long time. Because this employee has chosen this particular route, they will be less likely to leave. They are driven and dedicated to mastering their craft.
  • Employing apprentices can be a less risky and more cost-effective way of taking on staff.
  • Whilst you train them, the government will provide financial and non-financial support.
  • It means your business can build a specialist team with trade skills and qualifications at a lower cost.
  • You are passing on your industry knowledge and giving them a chance.

The Cons:

  • It can take a long time. They frequently require close mentorship throughout the entire process due to their lack of experience (however, once they crack it, you have a great teammate). 
  • You must commit to it for at least one year, but it could take up to five, depending on the trade and level offered.
  • Taking on an apprentice entails both a one-time investment and ongoing expenses. (tools, equipment, materials etc.). 
  • They might decide to give it up before the end.

To get a better understanding of why you should consider an apprentice, take a read of our helpful guide here

Why choose Rhino Trade Insurance?

As a tradesman or woman, there's only one place to go regarding insurance. At Rhino Trade Insurance, we focus 100% of our efforts on you. We have tailored specific policies for almost every trade imaginable and can create a custom policy depending on the needs of your business. 

We take pride in offering insurance for Public Liability, Employers' Liability, Tools, Personal Accidents and more that can often be up to 40% cheaper than industry competitors. 

Can we walk the walk as well as talk the talk? Take a look at what everyday tradespeople say about our service here

Give our team a ring today to get a quick and easy quote. They will answer your questions and give you a price in a few minutes. Or, visit our website, where we built a fantastic quote engine that takes 60 seconds to provide you with a price. 

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