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Ten of the Greatest Engineering Feats

Engineering Feats

This one’s for all the engineers out there. Sometimes we tend to take the amazing things around us for granted. We often forget that people are capable of momentous achievements, whether individually or together. To pay tribute to those men and women who put some of the greatest construction feats ever into action, we’ve designed an infographic showcasing what it took to build each one. Did you know, for example, that the Panama Canal took 34 years to construct, or that the Trans-Siberian Rail Road runs though 8 different time zones? You do now! There’s plenty more to find out about the world’s greatest engineering feats too – check out the infographic by clicking on the image above or by clicking right here.

 

Compliance a vital factor as the number of contractors continues to rise

Compliance

New figures released have indicated that the number of individuals entering the contractor and freelancer community has dramatically increased over the last 7 years.

Research published towards the end of April 2015 illustrates that there are now 1.88 million independent professionals in the UK. The study, which was carried out by Kingston University and commissioned by IPSE concludes that there has been over a 35% increase in highly skilled contractors since 2008.

Moreover, recent numbers from Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance, a specialist insurance broker for contractors and freelancers, support the fact that there is a strong growth in the importance of compliance and meeting obligations in the contracting market.

Dedicated to assisting contractors with their insurance needs, Kingsbridge have seen a strong increase in the number of contractors taking out an insurance policy with the company during 2015, clearing indicating that compliance is a significant factor.

Thomas Wynne, Head of Business Development at Kingsbridge comments: “the last few months have been phenomenal, particularly with our team reaching record policy numbers. This is a clear indication that not only is the freelancer market increasing, but, with Kingsbridge offering a comprehensive insurance cover package, our policy is meeting all of the necessary compliant requirements for contractors.”

It is highly recommended that all contractors have adequate insurance in place before undertaking any role to cover their main exposures and meet contractual obligations, and based on these recent results in the contracting market this could be an exciting and important time for Kingsbridge.

For further information about Kingsbridge and their insurance solution please visit www.kingsbridge.co.uk

Bridging the gap: the role of freelancers and contractors in solving the UK’s skills shortage

Skills Shortage

It has been well reported that the UK is the midst of a significant, and potentially disastrous, skills shortage. News reports crop up every couple of months informing us that the skills shortage list is increasing beyond what the country’s current workforce can cope with, as well as the anticipation of what negative effects this will have on the UK’s economy on a national and international scale.

A government report conducted in 2013 found that in the period 2011-2013 there were around 146,000 skills shortage vacancies in the UK, in comparison to just over 91,000 in 2011. With the number of skilled, qualified and experienced candidates for jobs in key sectors such as engineering, IT and construction seemingly on the decline, the problem is not difficult to see. But what about a solution?

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General Election 2015 – Surprise Tory gains lead Cameron to second term

General Election 2015

David Cameron remains the UK’s Prime Minister, with his Conservative party having made unprecedented gains across the country in last night’s General Election and securing a majority that nobody expected.

7th May was a night of victory for Cameron, as well as Scottish Nationalist Party leader Nicola Sturgeon, who saw her party secure an impressive 56 of the 59 Scottish seats in Westminster, effectively ending Labour’s dominance in the region and serving a huge blow to Labour’s ambitions nationally.

It was an overwhelmingly disappointing night for Labour leader Ed Miliband. Lead-up polls suggested a much better performance by Labour than actually transpired. From the announcement of those damning exit poll numbers, the evening grew worse for the younger Miliband. He resigned as leader on 8th May, congratulating Cameron and thanking his team, activists and the newly emerging “Milifandom”.

Miliband’s was not the only resignation of this most extraordinary election. Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, stood down as leader of the party after they suffered one of the most crushing defeats in recent British political history, describing it as a “cruel and punishing night for the Liberal Democrats”. They will send only 8 MPs to Westminster now, a significant drop from the 57 they secured in 2010.

Despite amassing millions of votes, the UK Independence Party failed to secure more seats. They held their seat in Clacton but leader Nigel Farage failed to win the South Thanet seat from the Tories and resigned soon after, before ‘unresigning’ a few days later.

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The insurance products no engineer can afford to forget

Engineering Insurance

We understand that when you’re freelancing, you want to focus on the job at hand and creating the best work possible. Sometimes, insurance products don’t come at the top of your to-do list and can seem like an unnecessary expense.

However, if you’re a freelance engineer, you occupy a unique and interesting position when it comes to insuring yourself. Your work is based on problem solving and solution finding, and more often than not, your work product will affect the public, not just your end client. It is for that reason that gaining access to adequate insurance cover should be at the very top of your to-do list!

What’s more, many (if not all) freelance contracts stipulate that a freelancer must be covered by a minimum amount of insurance, so your future contract jobs could depend on having access to quality insurance.

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A look ahead – what will the general election mean for freelancers and contractors?

General Election 2015

It pays for freelancers, contractors and the self-employed to pay attention to what is happening politically in the country.  Regardless of the outcome of any election, the independent professional community will be affected by policy making and the winning party’s stance on the self-employed and small businesses in general.

In research published last year, IPSE found that up to 90% of their freelance membership was likely to vote in the upcoming general election. Now, with just over a week to go until the day of reckoning, interest within the freelance community is at its highest.

With election fever well and truly in full swing we wanted to take a brief look at how each of the main parties proposes to support the UK’s freelance community and how independent professionals will fare depending on which party, or which coalition, assumes power on 7th May.

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Exploring the boom in self employment

Self Employment

There has been a healthy increase in total employment figures over the last 5 years, giving us all hope in the long, hard slog toward the UK’s emergence from the recession. What is particularly interesting to note is that much of this healthy rise in employment has been attributed to a boom in self employment, freelancing and contracting.

In August 2014 The Office of National Statistics published a report that found that total unemployment in the UK peaked at 8.4% in 2011, but has since fallen to 6.4% by 2014. The figures find that this drop in unemployment has been driven by as many as 4.6 million people deciding to make the move into self employment.

This figure presents a total of 15% of the workforce now identifying as freelance, compared with 13% in 2008 and 8.7% as far back as 1975. However, what is important in this case is establishing what these figures actually tell us about the state of freelancing in the UK in the 21st Century.

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‘Significant’ oil discovery near Gatwick airport announced

UK Oil and Gas

Oil and gas exploration, development and production group, UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG), has today announced that it has discovered somewhere in the region of 100 billion barrels of oil at Horse Hill near Gatwick airport in West Sussex.

The group, which undertook drilling in the oil-rich Weald basin region in South East England last year, claimed in a statement released today that the region could hold a potential 158million barrels per square mile. However, when compared with areas with similar geology in the US and Siberia, UKOG estimates that only 3% to 15% of that amount could actually be recovered.

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Five resolutions every contractor should make for the new financial year

New Financial Year 2015

We all made our diet, fitness, productivity and anything-else-you-can-think-of resolutions in January, as the new calendar year rolled in. However, April brings us a new kind of New Year: the new financial year.

As we covered last month, the Chancellor has revealed his final Budget before the general election and the calendar has officially restarted on the fiscal year. So, what better time to look at some practices every contractor can assume for the benefit of their finances. Here are our five financial resolutions that every freelancer should think about implementing this financial year.

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A Contractor’s Guide to Public Liability Insurance

Public Liability Insurance

Whether you’re a career contractor or you’ve just dipped your toe in the world of professional freelancing, you’ll have likely heard about Public Liability insurance. And there’s a reason for this; it’s one of the most important types of business cover and it’s an absolute essential for any contractor.

Why is it so essential? Well, as we all know, accidents and mishaps can happen, but that doesn’t mean that you, or your business, need to be out of pocket as a result. Public Liability insurance protects you and your business in the event of an accident or damage being caused where you could be held liable.

If you don’t invest in Public Liability insurance, and someone is injured or property is damaged as a result of your actions, then you could become legally bound to pay them compensation. Simple mistakes can become expensive, fast!

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