Independent, private training providers and colleges have recently reported a huge surge in the number of vocational courses being subscribed for in the past few months – with the traditional trades proving the most Locksmith Manchester popular. Applications for plumbing courses, electrician training and decorating have been steadily rising in recent months – suggesting young people are following the old advice of ‘getting a trade’ in the wake of mass unemployment and rising University tuition fees.

The main factor in these rising numbers of vocational course students seems to be the increase in women training or trade qualification – with many course providers now offering specific courses for women in order to accommodate the rise in numbers of women keen to learn a trade and take control of their own careers.

Harlow College’s Colin Hindmarsh said recently that there seems to be a trend amongst young people to take control of their careers now that the safety net of a University degree is no longer an option for many:

“We’re finding that our students are becoming more entrepreneurial, they want to be in charge of their own destiny and these sorts of vocational courses allow them to set up their own businesses… We’ve had a significant increase in the number of women on this kind of course, most noticeably in painting and decorating. At level 2, two thirds of our students are female.”

Vocational courses like electrician training have been seeing a steady growth in popularity over the past few years – tracing back to the start of the current economic downturn in 2007/8. Vocational courses have become an attractive option as they can provide industry-recognised qualifications and a lot of practical experience – meaning a job in the trade is much easier to get once you have qualified. However, it is still not clear why there are more courses for women in courses like electrician train and other ‘male’ trades.

One of the reasons could be the ever-growing influence and impact of green technologies used in these industries – making an electrician training course much more attractive to women who see solar power installation as a worthwhile career. Another reason could be that women looking for a career have realised the niche they can offer as fully qualified tradespeople. Studies have shown that pensioners and other women feel a lot more comfortable and safe letting a woman into their homes than a strange man. This kind of market advantage could be what is currently driving women to take electrician training and plumbing courses, as these courses offer women a new chance to become qualified and begin a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Also, for women currently struggling in the current job market, a profession with a standard starting salary of about £30,000 is also very appealing – so taking electrician training courses, for example, is becoming much more of a viable option.