How Can I Learn A New Trade? | Checkatrade
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How can I learn a new trade?

There are lots of benefits to learning a trade. No matter how young or old you may be, a new skill is definitely a path to explore.

What are the advantages of learning a new trade?

Trade jobs are highly skilled and always in demand by customers. That means that there is less likely to be a shortage of jobs than perhaps in other areas of work. Getting on board with a new trade is something to consider regardless of where you are in your career path.

Some frequently asked questions are:

Can you just learn a new skill?

Simply put, yes. No matter how young (or old) you may feel, there is a definite need for skilled tradespeople across the whole of the UK. There are a number of places you can learn, at different speeds, and even while still in employment or education.

Is there much writing involved?

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.

Will you get paid?

Tradespeople often gain knowledge through on-the-job experience. That means if you’re learning a new trade, you will earn money as you learn. On top of college courses, many trades take on apprentices, and for your chosen profession, you will be able to research what a trainee will make on average. Understanding more about the trade can give you a good idea of what to expect.

What about tuition fees?

Unlike pursuing university or higher education, 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.

Apprenticeship schemes often don’t have tuition fees, and help you earn a wage even before completion of course, or any form of accreditation. Trade-specific apprenticeship programmes such as those available through About Apprenticeships are a good place to look for these.

Will a new job help me find a 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.

Learning a new skill such as plumbing, building, carpentry, etc will not guarantee you employment, based on your previous experience or history, but it will definitely improve your chances.

Will a new trade help you start your own business?

One of the main reasons that we see people learning a new trade and skillset is so that they can become self-employed. Working for yourself can help you have a much better balance between your work and your personal life.

We have lots of handy guides to help you when it comes to starting your own trade business. Make sure that you are equipped with all of the information you need to help your new business thrive.

Apprentice risk assessment at your business

Where can I learn the required new skills?

There are many ways to learn new skills. So it is important to find a solution that suits your preferred learning method, your desired trade and flexibility of lifestyle.

Trade-Up is a trusted not-for-profit that champions easy, accessible and affordable training pathways and can support you through every stage. Trade-Up is specifically aiming to reduce the skills gap in the UK and help around 10,000 adult learners get a new trade every ear.


Local colleges usually offer a good range of skill-based learning. Check in your local area about what is on offer, as these can consist of evening classes, intensive courses, apprenticeships and classroom-based learning. Some cities also have a university technical college that also provides a good way to learn a new trade.


As we live in a digital age, many people can also choose to learn a new trade online. Online courses and industry experts are available to access 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.


People can also 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.


Through campaigns such as Get In and Try a Trade, there are many apprenticeship schemes running across the country to help people learn new skills.

Many trades will already rely on some sort of apprenticeship or part-time college course along with a work placement. About Apprenticeships have a number of opportunities across the UK that cater to people studying on trade-specific courses. If you are looking to learn a new trade, they are one of the best places to start that journey.

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What are the best trades to learn in 2024?

Jobs and businesses in specific trades are increasingly in demand, with more people in the country, more homes and an increasing number of older properties.

What trades need workers? In 2024, as with any other, the trades that are always looking for more people are the core ones for homes. Electricians, plumbers, carpenters and builders are in demand throughout the year. With some other trades appearing to be more seasonal. Although this is not the case.

Boiler engineers and gas technicians are always needed, not just in winter, when there does tend to be a spike in workload. Landscape gardeners and pest control operatives may find themselves more in demand in summer, for example, when people switch their priorities from inside to outside their homes.

Which trade jobs pay well? Future earnings is definitely an important factor to consider. All trades operate within different parameters, and so it is worth thinking about the amount of work in your local area you’ll be able to achieve.

Work/life balance is an important thing to consider when it comes to picking a trade. Jobs will alternate between larger projects and emergency callouts, which is where being self-employed can really come into its own.

Engineer Teaching Apprentice To Use Milling Machine
Engineer Teaching Apprentice To Use Milling Machine

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.

With such a large demand for trades in the UK, there really is no barrier to learning a new trade at 40. At that age, half of your working life is still to go. Remember, it is never too late to try something new!

With a constantly changing world, as people choose to retire later and later, you can still learn a new trade at 50! 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 that, challenging yourself and making a real change in your life.

Key takeaways

  • There are many advantages to learning a new trade
  • There are many paths to learn a new trade
  • You can earn as you learn
  • There is a large need for skilled tradespeople in the UK
  • You’re never too old (or young) to develop the skills of a trade

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Content disclaimer: This content has been created for general information purposes and should not be taken as formal advice. Read our full disclaimer here.

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