The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) will offer discounts on training courses for contractors to help flexible workers to acquire new skills and take advantage of increasing vacancies in the job market.

Research shows that contractors engage in less training than those in permanent employment due to the costs involved and time constraints; however, IPSE is hoping to make it easier for the flexible workforce to get ahead by providing discounts on a range of industry-specific courses.

This is particularly important as the number of self-employed workers rises, as contractors and freelancers will need additional skills to prosper in an increasingly competitive market. It will also help workers to develop niche skill sets and ease the talent shortage in many sectors.

IPSE education and training manager Lydia Wakefield said: “Skill shortages are making contracting increasingly competitive and business is getting more regulated all the time. We are always looking for ways to provide the best support and opportunities for the professional development of our members.”

Ms Wakefield also revealed that more must be done to educate young people about the benefits of flexible employment, as just 1% of children learn about less-traditional types of work when at school.

She added: “IPSE is already reaching out to government with a view to increasing awareness of enterprise options for young people generally. Ideally, our new training initiatives will complement the careers support offered in schools, as well as those that are outside of the curriculum.”

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