There is a time honoured tradition to train the future workforce in certain key sectors using apprenticeship schemes. This is particularly true of trades involved in construction, such as brick laying, plastering, plumbing and electrical work.
However, the modern day version of an apprenticeship is far from being simply a legacy of the past. In fact, apprenticeships are now pivotal in shaping the development and prosperity of the construction industry.
As far back as 2014, the former CITB Chief Executive Adrian Belton described apprentices as the “lifeblood” of the industry. He said: “The construction industry in the UK needs to recruit 120,000 new apprentices in the next five years in order to continue to drive the economy forward.” He called it a real ‘race for talent’.
That imperative remains. In fact, apprentices are more important than ever.
Mind the gap
One of the most vital roles for apprenticeships in construction, is still their potential to attract more recruits to construction careers. Demand for skilled staff can’t be allowed to substantially outstrip supply.
Providing “pay while you learn” incentives to young people can be a significant way to address the skills gap. Modelling and pitching apprenticeships effectively has a good track record for increasing recruitment of women too.
It helps that evidence is emerging that suggests apprentices stand to enjoy higher earnings than those young people who opt for relevant university studies instead. According to research by the Federation of Master Builders, construction apprentice salaries can amount to thousands of pounds more than those who are university educated.
However, it is not all about the money. There has also been a big push to show that qualifications gained from an apprenticeship are highly credible and portable. Perfecting skills with “on the job” experience can be valuable.
Showing construction apprenticeships in a positive light also robustly addresses lingering concerns (especially among parents) that apprenticeships are simply “cheap labour” or a road to nowhere.
Quality as well as quantity
Structuring construction apprenticeships around high quality training and meaningful employment at the end also attracts the right calibre of recruit, as well as boosting numbers.
Modern apprenticeships in the construction sector are about meeting the demands of the future – as well as current building industry requirements.
A lot of work is underway to ensure that construction industries help to formulate training targets for apprentices. This includes building in excellent technical training programmes, to prepare construction recruits for what lies ahead.
Embracing modern technology
One of the most pressing needs for construction related companies is exploring rapidly advancing technology. It is bringing with it far more sophisticated project planning and management tools for example, as well as more real time collaboration and such things as 3D imagery and predictive analytics.
Modern day construction apprenticeships can ensure that workforces are upskilled in technology related areas.
Apprentices learning on the job can also put their new found knowledge into play quickly, finding practical applications for technology while they learn their trade.
Other commercial advantages of apprenticeships
One of the longest standing benefits of apprenticeships, is that employers can mould and shape the skill sets and insights of recruits. They are learning from the ground up, within the company’s own operating procedures and focused on specific business objectives.
This means apprentices can rise through the ranks more effectively. In effect, construction apprentices are fledgling site supervisors, managers and master tradespeople, who can take up those roles with in-depth understanding of their own company, as well as the future needs of the sector as a whole.
Lydon Contracting Ltd
Your Total Construction Solution
Tel: 01327 811533