THE cost of living crisis is fuelling a surge in the number of older people switching to future-proof trades careers.
That’s according to industry experts who say they are seeing more people in their 50s opting to pursue roles as plumbers and gas engineers.
Mark Ingram, technical gas and plumbing tutor at Engineering Real Results (ERR), spent years training people in their 20s and 30s but says there has been a real shift in people looking to pursue new careers.
He said: “Our students are now aged 20 to 50, which is quite a new development for us. We hear older people saying they have had enough of what they are doing and want a change of employment.
“I’ve had chefs, lorry drivers, and we are definitely seeing more women, which is great for the industry.
“I think it is the cost of living crisis. People are in jobs where there might be a chance of redundancy, not necessarily immediately but at some point down the road, and they want something else. They have got families to support and mortgages to pay.”
According to the Office for National Statistics, there were around 988,000 job vacancies across all industries in the period July to September this year.
This included 35,000 unfilled roles in construction.
Mr Ingram says the labour gap is a real opportunity for people to step into careers they may have never previously considered.
He said: “There will always be a demand for careers in things like plumbing and renewable energy, and at the moment we can’t keep up with filling the gaps that are out there.
“Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty it’s a really good time to ask yourself if you enjoy what you do, and if you can see a long term future in it.”
According to jobs site Indeed, the average salary for a gas engineer in England is £39,728.
For a plumber it’s around £33,500.
Mr Ingram continued: “People are looking at working for longer and are probably considering if they will still have their jobs in 20 years’ time.
“They are also probably realising their salaries don’t go as far as they once did, as a result of the cost of living crisis, so are looking at careers where they are stable and rising.”
Engineering Real Results (ERR) specialises in providing trades skills and training. It places students at development sites where they can work on live projects to further their experience and gain NVQ qualifications.
It has training centres up and down the country including Yorkshire, Southampton, Wolverhampton, Hertfordshire and Essex.
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