18. Final considerations
One of the dangers of contracting is that your skills may become outdated, especially if you are working on a long contract. While the same could be said for permanent staff, they often have access to free training, and have more of a say in the development of new skills on-site.
It is worth investing in 'weekender' training courses to keep up-to-date with changes in technology, or using the increasing number of free internet and CBT based training.
Some employers seem willing to send contractors on training courses alongside their permanent colleagues, so don't be afraid to push for training if you can justify yourself to your employer.
It is worth bearing in mind that in December 1999, the Paymaster General announced that 'training expenses' would have to form part of the '5% allowance' for those caught by IR35. Clearly, this proportion of a contractor's income is not sufficient to cover any meaningful training courses, so if you are caught by the new rules, we'd recommend looking at the vast range of free (or low cost) online technology courses. Check out our Training Section for companies advertising relevant courses.
What happens if I can't work through illness
As a permanent employee, you would probably have had private healthcare , sickness and life insurances as part of your salary package. As a contractor you will not be given any of these, therefore you ought to provide for them yourself. This is a complicated area which is why we have teamed up with Contractor Money. For a free review and to discuss your personal requirements click here.