Billy’s Blog

Online Learning Could Help Contractors Recycle their Skills in New Areas

25 August 2020

Online Learning Could Help Contractors Recycle their Skills in New Areas

With the official onset of recession, research by the CIPD shows a 50% jump in the number of employers expecting to make job cuts by autumn. The latest IPSE figures also indicate that the contracting sector has hit a slump following two consecutive quarters of decline. As firms look to cut costs by shelving projects, contractors could be faced with more time on the bench between assignments. The IPSE figures show that the average contractor suffered a downtime of almost 50% this quarter, leading to an average 25% drop in day rates. While the downturn is temporary, significant changes to the market mean that not all contracts will pick up across every sector.

Our article on recycling your skills in a different sector shows just how practical and effective this can be. However, the transition into new areas of work can often be made smoother by building on your existing skills in order to fill in any ‘knowledge gaps’. Unlike permanent employees, contractors aren’t being paid to learn on the job, and their skill-set needs to be immediately relevant to the project at hand.

Recent online learning figures suggest that people are using any free time to upskill in areas of high demand. A surplus of opportunities in social care and specific IT skills are reflected in spikes on one online learning platform. ‘COVID-19: Psychological Impact, Wellbeing, and Mental Health’ had the greatest spike in sales rising to 4310 in July. Meanwhile, ‘Data Analytics for Decision Making: An Introduction to Using Excel’ rose by 346. Overall, their most popular courses this summer include ‘Essential IT Skills Level 2’ and ‘Teaching Young Learners Online’.

While time spent without work can be stressful, contractors can use any gaps between assignments productively. By researching the market and identifying where your skills align with opportunities, you can increase your chances of winning future contracts. No client wants the impression that a contractor is applying for any available assignment out of panic. By taking the time to focus on what you want to achieve and how to get there, you’ll identify an area that’s a natural fit for you.

One of the most significant advantages of online learning is that you can fit it around your schedule so that you utilise your down time without missing out on any work opportunities that arise. Online educational platforms have a massive amount of user data that enables them to provide a more personalised experience, which is shown to decrease learning time. With increasing amounts of course providers, cost is also kept down.

It’s easy to get stuck in certain work patterns out of habit rather than design. Often, contractors don’t have the time to figure out which skills will help them remain competitive in the long term. Online learning presents a huge opportunity for contractors to use any work-free periods productively while future proofing their contracting career.

For more insights on how to bag the best contracts post-Covid read our article here. If you’re starting a new contracting role then Umbrella Exchange have access to a wide range of hassle-free services that can help you with setting up a limited company or finding the right umbrella company for you. To talk to a member of our team, call: 0203 393 3881

Topics: News, skill, Coronavirus, contractor jobs