Is the skills shortage over as 18% of Brits seek a trade career?

Since the start of the pandemic, almost one-in-five British people (18%) have sought a new career in the trades, according to Powered Now.

The demand for tradespeople has been boosted by the ongoing boom in the home-improvement market. Research by Powered Now, a field service management software company that specialises in the trades, found that 15% of tradespeople saw client demand increase post-Covid to its highest level ever.

That 18% of Brits have either started to work within in the trades as a whole new career path or as way to pick up additional work – and 15% of them are female.

Fears over the future has been a motivating factor for many people within the trades. Powered Now found that 16% of tradespeople agree that sequential waves of Covid had made them more motivated to work.

The KBB and construction industries have been hit by a skills shortage for many years, from kitchen fitters, to plumbers and bathroom installers.

Damian Walters, chief executive of The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI), has expressed concern that, if there is an influx in tradespeople looking to make a quick quid out of the pandemic, it may affect the quality of tradespeople.

He said: “What is clear is that people are valuing their homes more now than ever and, as such, perhaps the perceived value in those undertaking work is increasing too. This all sounds great, doesn’t it? More people interested in our industry, more people attracted to it, that decreases the skills gap, right? Maybe, but let’s not forget the risk.

“The double-glazing industry of the Eighties, and the renewable energy industry more recently, are two examples of a sudden spike of interest in an industry. The fact is opportunists will be attracted like moths to a flame.

“Yes, there are some great opportunities for attracting genuine talent, but the inevitable influx of opportunists could be as damaging to the KBB industry, as it was to double glazing and indeed solar PV. Interest in the sector is good, but only if it’s managed, underpinned by education and covered by compliance.”

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