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18th January 2019
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British homeowners call for action to address the nation's lack of builders and plumbers
British homeowners have called on the government to encourage more young people to enter the manual trades after a survey showed nine out of 10 agreed with the idea. The survey, commissioned by trade vetting firm Checkatrade.com, quizzed 1,000 homeowners across the UK - and left no-one in doubt about how they feel about the nation's manual skills shortage.
More than four-fifths agreed that Britain doesn't have enough skilled workmen and women such as builders, plumbers and electricians. And 89% - rising to an incredible 95% for the over 55s - think more should be done to encourage young people to take up a trade.
Kevin Byrne, founder of Checkatrade.com, says: "It's an unequivocal message from British homeowners and I hope they are listened to.
"There's no doubt in my mind that a profession in the manual trades is not really encouraged in schools. These days everyone wants to go into IT, and that's fine - we need people to do computer programming. But we also need someone to fix our sinks when they are blocked or help improve our home. It's just as important.
"Working in the manual trades is a great profession and if you develop a trade you can do really well from it. I would guess the average tradesperson is earning £70,000 or £80,000 a year. There aren't many people doing nine to five desk jobs who earn that much."
The survey comes at a time when the government is already looking into the issue.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced new legislation in January which will require schools to collaborate with training providers and colleges to make sure students are aware of all the career paths open to them - not just academic routes.
"It's a step in the right direction," notes Kevin Byrne. "It's clear we have a shortage of skills in the manual trades and it's about time it was addressed because Britain needs them."
Key results from the Checkatrade.com survey:
A huge 89% think more should be done to encourage young people to enter the manual trades - rising to 95% for the over 55s
More than 84% believe Britain is suffering from a manual trades skills shortage
Two-thirds would like to see more apprenticeships on offer - rising to 78% for the over 55s
Half want to see more government support and funding
Almost 60% want to see incentives for young people to learn a trade
22nd April 2016