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What are the 5 best trades to learn and upskill yourself?

No matter if you’re a sole trader, business owner, or apprentice, upskilling is always a good idea. Not only does it expand your trade knowledge, but it’ll provide even more avenues of work. Here’s what you need to know about learning a trade in a new area.

Upskilling as a tradesperson

While you might be satisfied with your current skillset, there’s a lot to be said for upskilling. For one thing, it reduces subcontracting costs, while also helping to protect your reputation and improve your services.

Of course, upskilling isn’t an instantaneous thing. It requires time and effort, typically involving you utilising your spare time to grow your expertise.

But if you’re serious about becoming a better tradesperson, then this investment is certainly worth the effort.

What are the benefits of learning a new trade?

Besides a new set of skills, there are plenty of benefits that come with learning a trade new to you. Below are just some of the main positive additions you can expect to get when you upskill:

  • Additional trade skills that let you offer a wider service to your customers
  • A higher earning potential thanks to your newly acquired expertise
  • Better customer service by being able to answer more complex and unusual questions
  • Lower outsourcing costs by not having to bring in additional subcontractors
  • The potential to corner local markets by investing in learning a niche area of your chosen trade space

The five best trades to learn when upskilling

Now that you know how learning new skills can help your business, what are the best trades to learn? Here are our top five options to consider if you want to upskill in wider aspects of the trade industry:

1. Retrofitting and net-zero NVQs

Ok, while not technically a trade, learning how to retrofit old technology and install net-zero equipment is essential. Times are changing. Soon net-zero tech will be commonplace, so learning to fit it now will put you comfortably ahead of the competition.

This new tech can range from EV home chargers and Solar Thermal Installation to Green Home NVQs. Thus, becoming an insulation expert, and advising businesses on becoming PAS 2030/35 compliant will be highly valued.

Why not get familiar with the green training options that exist to help tradespeople?

2. Bricklaying

It might not seem like it at first glance, but bricklaying can be one of the most profitable trades. Bricklayers can earn as much as £200 – £300 a day and the work is easy enough to pick up. This makes it ideal for those who want to learn a trade skill outside their comfort zone.

However, that’s not to say bricklaying is one of the easy trade skills to learn. It will take time to perfect the art. But it’s an investment well worth making so you can offer a more complete service to customers.

3. Joinery

When it comes to learning trades, adding joiner or carpenter skills to your repertoire is a solid business move. Day rates can be upwards of £250 and there’s a great variety of pathways to head down for specialisation.

From framing and structural works to roofing, trim carpentry and even cabinet making, there’s a lot to do. The point here is that once you get qualified you can specialise in an area and become known for it.

Then you can drive new business, get great customer reviews, and increase income.

North West Skills Academy training

4. Drylining (Fixer / Finisher)

Of all the trades we’ve listed, becoming a dry liner or fixer/finisher presents possibly the most opportunity for new work. There’s always fixing and finishing needed. Whether it’s a domestic redecorating job or helping to dry line a new high-rise building.

This is particularly true if you’re in an urban area, though you can find plenty of work throughout the country. And as an added bonus, you can make plenty of industry contacts for additional work in the future.

5. Painting and Decorating

Perfecting your painting and decorating skills enables you to offer more services per project. This in turn will increase your revenue per job. It also gives you the opportunity to pick up work off the back of your main trade.

For example, if a customer is renovating as part of the core job. Then it’s likely they’ll need a painter and decorator as well.

On top of this, the painting and decorating market is constantly growing. People have less free time than in the past, meaning there are far more opportunities for work in this area. As a result repeat work as a painter-decorator is booming.

Where can I learn a trade skill new to me?

There are many ways to learn new skills. So, it’s important to find a solution that suits your preferred learning method, your desired trade, and flexibility of lifestyle. Here are just five commonplace people got to learn a trade skill:

1. College

Local colleges usually offer a good range of skill-based learning. Check in your local area about what is on offer. You’ll likely be able to find evening classes, intensive courses, apprenticeships, and classroom-based learning.

Some cities also have a university technical college that could provide a good way to learn a new trade.

2. Online

As we live in a digital age, many people now choose to learn a new trade online. Online courses and industry experts are available through a range of methods, so be sure to do your research.

If your chosen profession requires accreditation for work purposes, then remember to check the online course is vetted.

3. At home

People can also now choose to learn a new career at home, reflecting a change in trade training methods. This could either be online or through distance learning schemes, completing reading and writing assignments to gain your qualifications.

4. Through an apprenticeship

One of the best ways to learn a trade skill, apprenticeships teach you the skills you need on the job. There are many apprenticeship schemes running across the country to help people learn new skills.

And many trades will already rely on some sort of apprenticeship or part-time college course along with a work placement.

North West Skills Academy training to upskill yourself as a trade

5. Through our Checkatrade partners

While you can learn a new trade through the above methods, you could also learn through a Checkatrade partner. Our partnership with North West Skills Academy gives you access to numerous courses, including:

Check out these funded courses today to see which might suit you.

What can you do with a Checkatrade profile?

Here is how Checkatrade tradespeople are boosting their online reputation

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Upskilling with Checkatrade

You should now have a good idea of how you can go about upskilling for future work. But did you know that Checkatrade offers more than just discounts on training?

With Checkatrade, we can provide your business with its own page for customers to find you. They can leave reviews and you get to choose which jobs you cover. Not only that, but we can even help you market yourself to find a wider customer base.

Get in touch today to find out more about our sign-on process. And don’t forget to browse more of our blogs if you’re interested.

Upskilling FAQs

Does learning a new trade involve much writing?

It will depend on the course. A trade job requires a special skillset and typically tends to be more hands-on and technical than some other professions. Unlike academic subjects, trade skills tend to require less paper-based learning and rely on more manual training methods.

Can I get paid to upskill?

Tradespeople often gain knowledge through on-the-job experience. That means if you’re learning a new trade, there is the potential to earn money as you learn.

However, this is not always the case. Though many trades take on apprentices for various professions. Through these, you’ll be able to research what a trainee will make on average.

Will I need to pay tuition fees?

Unlike university, learning a new skill on the job for a trade will give you no student debt. As well as being able to start straight away, as soon as you qualify, all wages will be yours.

That means you won’t have to factor in student loan repayments on a month-by-month basis.

Will upskilling help me find a new job?

Any new skill or trade that you train in will help increase job prospects. Employers like to see progress and the ability to adapt, so training or re-training will go in your favour.

However, learning a new skill and trade will not automatically guarantee you employment. Like any job, previous experience and employment history will also play a role, but upskilling will definitely improve your chances.

What is the best age to learn a new trade?

Learning a new trade does tend to be more common among younger people, as they’re already in education. However, there is no time limit on the many opportunities that exist to retrain.

Many tradespeople start their career in their 40s, with some training as late into their career as their 50s. After working in one profession for many years, it is perfectly understandable that you may want to switch. Learning a new trade is a great way to do this.

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