Research carried out by AXA Business Insurance reveals that a formal education as well as professional qualifications are common place among today’s tradesmen, such as drylining and plastering contractors, while the proportion of females working in trades looks to be growing.

The poll, carried out among hundreds of the UK’s tradesmen showed that more than eight in ten (83 per cent) had a formal professional qualification in their trade and that over seventy per cent had taken an apprenticeship. In turn, nearly half have themselves offered opportunities to others by providing a formal apprenticeship within their business.

Meanwhile, although women represented only one in ten of those interviewed, two thirds of these were under the age of 35 suggesting that a profession in the trades is becoming more attractive to females starting out in their careers.  Across both male and female tradespeople, 43 per cent made a “career choice” to enter the profession they are in and over half have set up their own business. Twenty-eight per cent went into the family business and nearly half had worked in another industry before settling on their trade

Last year, AXA Business Insurance carried out research that showed a website was more important to consumers than a phone number when looking up a tradesman, which is good news for the 47 per cent of tradesmen in the new research who do have a website. And social media is becoming part of working life for many professional tradesmen with over twenty per cent using facebook and twitter for business purposes and over thirty per cent using linked in.

When it comes to some of the old clichés about tradesmen a quarter of those polled do read the Sun.  But the same number read The Times. Also less than half (41 per cent) would opt for a cup of tea while on the job – coffee and water being popular second and third choices. Four per cent would drink herbal or green tea!

Darrell Sansom, managing director at AXA Business Insurance says: “It’s really important to us as an insurer of tens of thousands of the UK’s tradesmen to understand who they are.  There are too many stereo-typical images and it is important to understand that actually today’s tradesmen is often well-educated, extremely professional about his work and savvy about using modern technology to help his business grow.”