Do you have second skills to pay the bills?

A survey suggests more than 60% of people have 'second' skills they don't employ in their day jobs. Time be begin taking advantage of them...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 14 Oct 2011
Most people have a hidden talent, but have they ever tried to make any cash from it? A new survey by ‘skills showcase’ WorldSkills London has found that more than 61% of adults in the UK have skills they don’t use in their day jobs, like teaching, childcare or plumbing, they could be employing to make extra money. Apparently, those who are already using their ‘second skills’ for financial gain are making £7.6bn for the economy. Not bad…

According to the figures, more than 300,000 people are making more than £5,000 a year, while more than 28% of people earn more than £1,000 a year. Of those who say they’ve got an extra skill, 12% say it’s painting and decorating, 10% say it’s childcare, and 9% reckon they’re budding web designers. Almost a quarter say they’ve mastered the art of cooking – although prospective customers might not all be in agreement that bunging on a can on Heinz Spaghetti and Sausages constitutes professional chef-ing.

Because all good press releases need a celebrity slant, WorldSkills has even been good enough to dig out the names of slebs with spare skills. Thus, David Jason apparently trained as a mechanic, while Frankie Boyle trained as a teacher (his pupils dodged a bullet there) and Ozzy Osbourne was a plumber. Although clearly, celebrities with skills other than posing for simpering Hello magazine shots are few and far between: we can’t help but feel they were scraping the bottom of the barrel slightly when they came up with the name of Maggie Philbin, the ex-Tomorrow’s World presenter who apparently trained in confectionary and baking. Presumably, though, the likelihood of Philbin et al having to revert to their former lives are very slim indeed.

Nevertheless: apparently, 20% of those who say they’ve got second skills earn money from them, while 40% prefer to employ them on a strictly hobby-only basis, and almost a third say they use them to help out friends and family. A fifth cite them on their CV because they reckon it’ll improve their job prospects, while 16% say they’d like a job where they could use their skills. And apparently, 1.5m are actually planning to use their extra skills to change career, while more than 1m want to start a business with them. And judging by the state of the jobs market, that might have to be sooner, rather than later…

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