Helping you find a career in trades
After everything you've studied your love might still be for hands-on, practical activities - and that's where a trade job can come in.
People working in ‘trades' are skilled, qualified people who provide highly sought after practical services. Some of the jobs that fall under trades include plumbers, electricians, builders, mechanics and carpenters.
All of these roles are essential to society - plumbers, for example, are always in demand. Currently there is an estimated skills shortage of 30,000 people within the sector, so plumbing can be extremely lucrative. There is also a deficit of qualified electricians and carpenters in the UK.
Plumbers are involved in repairing, implementing and improving our plumbing systems, whether at home, in business or as part of the country's general infrastructure. You'll be repairing broken water mains, adding toilets, sinks and showers to new houses and even be involved in making sure water supplies flow regularly to us all. If you think you'd enjoy a hands-on, physical job and want to spend your days helping people, a career in the plumbing industry could be for you.
Electricians and electrical workers are skilled, in-demand members of the construction industry. You might work on complex developments such as shopping malls, sports stadiums and hospitals, wiring them for electricity and making sure everything is safe. You're also likely to be involved in installing data cabling, fibre-optic systems and internet lines.
Mechanics are involved in the repair, construction and maintenance of motor vehicles. This is a physical and at times dirty job, which will require you to analyse and problem solve issues with cars, order spare parts and fit them, and carry out safety testing and basic repairs such as changing tyres and oil.
Mechanics can specialise on a particular make or model of vehicle, work for a particular supplier or even across many different areas. It's not unusual for mechanics to set up as self-employed after gaining experience in the industry.
Carpenters and joiners work with wood to build beautiful pieces of furniture, vital fittings on building sites and joists and components of all sorts of structures. This is the perfect industry for someone with creative design skills who can also consider functionality.
Finally, builders construct everything from spare rooms in your parents' house to record breaking skyscrapers. This is an industry that requires you to learn technical skills on the job. You can gain a trade in a particular specialist area - bricklaying, pointing - or as a general building contractor involved in moving heavy goods. The construction and building industry is a major source of employment in the UK, providing a wide range of career opportunities. With a degree, you can come into this industry at a senior level.
If you are a practical person and looking for a useful career that uses your hands, a career within the trades sector could be for you. You'll need to be good at planning and be accurate, have a natural affinity for problem solving and want to work out in the world rather than in an office.
Where you opt to work depends on your specific skills. Those in trades jobs work both inside and outdoors, with hours flexible depending on the project and the deadlines they are working towards.
Many of those in trades roles work freelance or on one-off jobs or short-term contracts, working on particular projects to completion. As your skills will be in demand from both industry and individuals, you should never be short of work.