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The UK Skills Gap - Problem or Opportunity?

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 21st September 2017

UK skills gap

You may well have heard about the skills gap here in the UK - it’s an issue that’s been around for a little while now and to be honest it doesn’t look like it’s going to get much better any time soon!

For those who aren’t that aware of what the skills gap is - there’s a real need in this country for skilled workers in specific industries. You can see the list of industries here. However, there simply aren’t enough people to fill those roles, and therefore a gap has formed.

The good news is that jobs in the trades are becoming more and more popular again, which is fantastic news for anyone wanting to train as an electrician or for those that are already in the trade.

One of the most affected industries is the trades and construction

Why has this happened? Well there are a number of reasons - young people preferring to go to uni, a wider number of courses available for people to choose from, the list could go on and on.

The worry is that the gap could get even wider in the coming years, especially with Brexit on the horizon. It’s unclear the exact effect leaving the EU will have, but if tougher immigration laws come into play, which is likely, then it will make it harder for skilled workers to come into the country and fill the gap. Some might even choose to leave.

Add the housing crisis into the mix, and the government’s pledge to build millions of new homes, and it’s unclear how we’ll close that gap.

But is this really a problem, or should we see it as an opportunity for workers?

There’s no denying that many businesses see it as a problem. According to the Federation of Master Builders’ State of Trade Survey 2017, 40% of construction SMEs are finding skills shortages at their highest rate since 2013. Further research has shown that the skills shortage is costing UK businesses around £2bn a year due to recruitment costs, having to hire temporary workers, and paying over market rates for skilled workers.

However, if we take a look at the other side of the coin, this skills gap represents an unprecedented opportunity for those in this country who want to learn a trade, and of course we’d suggest electrical training as a fantastic choice!

If you can learn a trade, put the work in and prove your worth, then you’re going to be absolutely invaluable at the moment, and in the coming years. It’s an exciting time!

So, what to do if you want to become an electrician?

Well there’s never been more information out there for those unsure about what they want to do for a living, which can be useful but also incredibly overwhelming.

If you think a career as an electrician is the right choice for you, you’ll be glad to learn that it’s the highest paid of all the trades with the average salary being £30,000. It’s also an extremely rewarding career with skills that will always be in demand. Plus, don’t think that this is just a job for the boys there are plenty of very successful women electricians out there, read our blog to find out more!

We have plenty of information right here on our website in the form of our blog which has lots of fascinating articles and case studies, and then if you want to learn more about the training we provide, check out our electrician courses, and of course if you prefer to talk to an experienced course adviser they are here to help too.

Our electrical wholesaler friends at QVS Direct have produced a very handy guide listing all the steps you need to go through and consider if you want to get into the electrical industry, and it features plenty of info from Trade Skills 4U, so we know it’s good! For those with a little more experience or who like to dream big, this fantastic interactive guide from Thomson Local explains how to go about starting your own electrician business.

So every time you hear the doom and gloom about the UK skills gap, think of it as an opportunity for you to learn some highly in-demand skills, earn a decent living and make your mark in the industry.

Why choose us

We help thousands of people gain the knowledge, expertise and qualifications to develop successful careers in the electrical and renewable energy industry, and look forward to having the opportunity to help you too. If you are interested in an electrical training course, please visit our course-finder page, alternatively please call a course advisor on 01293 529777 who will be happy to help.


Categories: training, electrician courses, uk skills gap

Sergeant Sean McDowell - Case Study

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 13th September 2017

RAF image


Name: Sergeant Sean Williams McDowell (RAF)

Course: 20 day Bronze course plus PAT Testing.

After coming to the end of a 30 year career in the RAF, having served in many different countries and taken part on several operations, Sergeant Sean McDowell decided to find out what he needed to do to retrain in a trade to prepare himself for when he leaves the RAF next year.

Sean contacted Trade Skills 4U and following a discussion with one our Course Advisors decided to take our Bronze Domestic Installer Course and PAT Testing Course. As part of his resettlement package Sean was able to fund his courses in part with the MOD’s Enhanced Learning Credits (ELC).

I spoke to Sean to ask if he would be kind enough to share his training experience with us and to let us know what his plans are for the future.

Why did you decided to retrain as an electrician?

After 30 years of being in the RAF, I wanted to move into something I enjoy doing and as I’ve always had an interest in DIY I thought I’d take the plunge and get properly qualified in a trade.

Why did you decide to take the Domestic Installer Course and how has this helped you?

I chose this course as it fitted not only with what I could use my Enhanced Learning Credits (ELC) for, but also what I wanted from a course.

What are your plans now you have completed your course?

I’m due to leave the RAF in December 2018, and now that I’ve completed my course I can start to ‘cut my teeth’ on doing domestic work. Coupled with a bathroom installation course next year I should have a good extensive skillset to take me forward in future ventures.

Please tell us about your training with Trade Skills 4U. What were your best bits, difficult bits, interesting bits?

The course was full of interesting content; made all the better by the course tutor who has such an extensive knowledge of the trade and all its intricacies. The mix of students was good also, with many varied backgrounds and different aspects they all brought to the course.

How would you describe the facilities and training at Trade Skills 4U?

In a word – excellent!

What would you say to someone thinking about training with Trade Skills 4U?

I would say don’t even hesitate! Get online or ring Trade Skills 4U and get enrolled…do it now!!

What are you planning on doing in the future?

In the future I would like to set up my own property maintenance business serving my local villages and towns, and enjoy every challenging job that comes my way!

I also intend to use my ELC’s coupled with my resettlement entitlement next year to do further courses and am interested in taking the Solar PV course with Trade Skills 4U.

Finally, do you have any advice for others wanting to train as an electrician?

Have lots of Post-its! Be willing to listen and apply what you’re shown but don’t ever be afraid to ask.


We would like to thank Sean for sharing his training experience with us and wish him the very best of luck in his future ventures.

If you are interested in an electrical training course, please visit our Course Finder page.

Categories: case study, retraining, raf, enhanced learning credits, elc

Funny tradesman number plates

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 6th September 2017

Electrician funny number plates

Whilst driving to work this morning one of our work colleagues spotted a Plasterer's van with a number plate that made him giggle, so we thought we would see how many funny tradesman number plates we could find on-line! 

I actually struggled to find funny ‘sparky’ related plates, so have thrown in a few from other professions that I found amusing. 

So here they are, I hope they make you laugh too! There were quite a few naughty ones that I didn’t feel were appropriate to share, so I will leave it up to you to find these, if you’re interested!


I was surprised that I could only find two electrical trade related number plates, but as you can see from the header image above there are plenty out there to buy!

Electrical funny number plates

Drain Services

The drain guys seem to have the funniest and most creative!

funny number plates drains


Plumbers seem to have a greater variety of words to work with!

funny number plates plumber

Pimlico Plumbers have really taken this seriously!

funny number plates - plumbers

Pest Control

I wonder if this guy has bulging eyes!

funny number plate pest control

A few random ones!

random funny number platesfunny number plates 1

If you are interested in buying a personalised number plate, there are lots of websites to choose from. Here are a couple to get you started Nationalnumbers,  and Plates4less

Also, if you see any more on your travels please send them in and we will publish them online. Happy hunting and I look forward to seeing a few more ‘sparky’ plates out there soon!

Categories: personalised number plates, funny tradesman number plates