Figures released by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) show construction apprenticeship starts are at a record high in Great Britain.
This is extremely good news for the industry, with the skills shortages documented and concerns that construction will lose access to skilled EU workers once Brexit has been finalised.
CITB published figures on the annual National Apprenticeship Week, which is where employers and apprentices throughout the country come together to celebrate the success of apprenticeship schemes and encourage people to choose this as a career route.
The success of an apprenticeship as a career route was outlined by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), whose own research showed apprentices can earn a better living than people with university degrees.
Research by CITB shows this thinking is becoming more widespread and last year, the number of construction apprenticeship starts was recorded at 26,195. This is 49% higher than just five years previously and significantly, is the highest figure since the present way of recording apprenticeships started back in 2003.
Figures suggest that construction is bucking an overall trend of apprenticeships that was identified between August to November 2017; starts across the whole economy dropped from 155,600 to 114,380.
Although construction apprenticeship starts fell as well, the decline was marginal in that time (150) and the figures for the whole of 2017 are certainly encouraging.
Any employer who hires an apprentice could gain up to £10,250 thanks to CITB grant funding and it is hoped this encourages people to get into the industry, as well as push employers and the wider sector to encourage this as a method of employment which will alleviate the demand for people.
Mark Noonan is the Industry Relations Director at CITB. He said the construction sector must not be complacent in the hunt for apprentices.
“Construction has faced a challenging time with Carillion’s unfortunate liquidation, but the industry response has shown how committed employers are to helping to develop young talent.
“While the overall picture for apprenticeship starts looks good at the moment, there is no room for complacency. We now need more employers to step forward to offer apprentices places so that they can start a rewarding career in construction and help build a better Britain.”