During an initiative to help and understand our customers more, Cashfloat examined which professions most need our services. During the study, we noticed that we provide many instant cash payday loans for telecoms engineers each month. To try to and understand why, this report will consider the position of telecoms engineers: the history of their profession, their training, qualifications, salaries, perks and the future of their profession.
Telecoms engineers work on all types of satellite/ digital TV networks as well as installing and maintaining broadband, mobile, and landline phone networks. The statistics from Ofcom (the independent regulatory authority for the UK’s communications industry) illustrate the importance of this profession; 81% of adults have broadband access, there are 33.2 million fixed landlines in the UK while 95% of homes have a working television. Regarding revenue, the communications sector in the UK is the second largest in Europe. Also, telecoms engineers should be receiving financial benefits to reflect the growing demand for their expertise. If so, why are so many applying with direct lenders in the UK providing payday loans for telecoms engineers?
The History of Telecommunications
The NTC (National Telephone Company) was created in 1881 and existed until 1912 when it was taken over by the GPO (General Post Office) under the Telephone Transfer Act of 1911. Until 1982, the telecommunications system was a state monopoly and, as British Telecom, was privatised two years later. British Rail created the largest telecommunications network; 17,000 kilometres of fibre optic and copper cable, which connect the whole country and even connect the UK with Europe. British Telecom remains the main provider of landlines with a market share of 37% while Virgin Media are in second place with 13%. Telecommunications is a large industry employing an estimated 270,000 people in 8,000 companies.
There are some routes into the field of telecommunications and entrants to the profession can start as young as school leavers at the age of 16. The only prerequisites are proof of basic literacy and numeracy, and as applicants will be working with electricity, they should have normal colour vision. It is a profession that also requires a level of general fitness as it involves climbing heights as well as going underground to install and/or repair faults. The most common way that people enter the profession is through an apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships for Telecom Engineers
Many of the telecommunications companies offer apprenticeships, and this is possibly the easiest way into the profession as the trainee can earn a salary while working. Trainees work alongside experienced colleagues to gain job-specific skills while their attendance at a course is organised on a day release basis (one day a week at college) or a block release basis (one week per month for courses). They work towards a nationally-recognised qualification and their period of training can last anything from 2 to 4 years.
Qualifications for Telecoms Engineers
Qualifications in Telecommunications are offered by some vocationally-orientated examination boards, and these include City & Guilds, Edexcel, and Pearson BTEC. Qualifications at Intermediate (Level 2) are the equivalent of GCSEs and are ideal as a general introduction to the subject. For registration with certain institutes, Level 3 is required and is considered to be the equivalent of A levels. For anyone who wishes to progress up the career ladder, Level 4 is possible and is the same as a foundation degree.
All fees for the training provider are paid by the employer when someone is an apprentice, so they finish their training without any student loans, unlike students on academic courses.
Future Careers for Telecoms Engineers
With the necessary training, experience, and preferably a Level 4 qualification, telecom engineers can go into supervisory positions, network design or specialise further and become an electrical or electronic engineer.
Although the UK produces 46,000 engineering graduates every year and applications to study engineering at university have increased by 7% over the past few years, it is said that the UK is facing an imminent shortage of skilled engineers. In the IET’s 2014 Annual Skills Study, 40% of employers interviewed said they had trouble recruiting while over 50% stated that they were planning to employ more apprentices in technical roles. In 2015, it was estimated by the Royal Academy of Engineering that the UK would need over 1 million new engineers and technicians by the year 2020.
Part of the reason given for this shortage is that 50% of its workforce are due to be retiring soon and the other reason is that school children are not encouraged to do apprenticeships or study engineering. The education system did not do enough to promote STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) while teachers pushed students into studying academic subjects at university which have fewer career prospects. Finally, in the IET’s Engineer A Better World Study, it was concluded that engineering has a reputation for being ‘dirty’ and there is an unconscious bias to steer girls away from engineering as a career. This probably helps to explain why only 10% of engineers are women despite the skills shortage.
Solving the Engineering Skills Shortage
There have been some state and privately-funded initiatives to encourage the young into engineering. Some include the IET’s Faraday Project, which is an outreach project to schools. A similar campaign has been the Tomorrow’s Engineers Programme, which gives school children between the ages of 11-14 first-hand engineering experience with local firms. Finally, some campaigns like the Your Life Campaign specifically target young girls while June 2015 saw the first National Women in Engineering Day to attract girls to study engineering by presenting female engineers as role models.
Self-employed Telecoms Engineers
The growing demand for telecoms engineers means it is relatively easy for them to become self-employed once they have the necessary training and experience. Unlike car mechanics, they would not need to rent commercial premises or lease equipment so they could start a business comparatively cheaply. They would probably need a vehicle to enable them to travel to the customers, where they would be working but they would probably possess most of their tools from their training.
Like any new start-up business, the first year is when they would probably struggle the most since they would have to advertise for customers until they had built up a good enough reputation to get referrals by word of mouth. The main hurdle with being self-employed is that there is not always a guaranteed regular income every month, which is when some small firms get into financial difficulties.
Cashfloat has noticed a trend in applications for payday loans for telecoms engineers through its online website. The question is; Why? An experienced telecoms engineer on a salary of £30,000 basic pay (before overtime and any shift allowances) would probably not require the services of a lender that offers payday loans for telecoms engineers. Instead, apprentices and newly-qualified engineers on the lower end of the pay scale might find that their money is insufficient for them to survive. Like other people, they face difficulties because their salary can barely be stretched to cover all their monthly expenses. These would include their accommodation, grocery shopping as well as their transport costs. Other charges could be clothing, their pension, entertainment and the tools of their trade. It is no wonder, then, that they will sometimes use payday loans for telecoms engineers to get them through the month.The self-employed might also need the help of lenders offering payday loans for telecoms engineers in the initial years of their business until they have a regular customer base. A payday loan might also be used to tide them over if they have a cash flow problem because business has temporarily slackened off or late payments.
The statistics at the beginning of this report illustrate the importance and sheer size of the telecommunications industry and how important it promises to be in the future. Telecoms engineers are guaranteed a steady income and job security. Young apprentices and the self-employed might need the helping hand of a company that lends payday loans for telecoms engineers on occasions, but once they move up the career ladder or increase their custom, their earnings will be adequate for them to get by. Cashfloat is happy to provide payday loans for telecoms engineers experiencing a short term money problem.