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Five applicants chasing every construction apprenticeship vacancy

There is only one employer vacancy for every five ConstructionSkills applicants in England, according to figures released by ConstructionSkills on 28 May.

Despite the increased focus on apprenticeships by industry bodies and the Government young people are still prevented from entering the construction industry by the lack of willing employers to take them on.

This has prompted ConstructionSkills, the one stop shop for skills and training in the construction industry, to launch a drive to get more employers to commit to skills and training. ConstructionSkills is appealing to employers to take on more apprentices with the aim of placing 7,500 apprentices across England in construction firms by the end of the year.

In England so far this year, over 12,000 candidates have applied to ConstructionSkills and thousands more are expected but to date only 2,400 vacancies have been offered by employers. With the housing market subdued and the increased difficulty of securing credit likely to affect construction, apprentices have an increasingly vital role to play in helping a business diversify their services and win new business. Now it’s down to industry to see that these thousands of willing and able candidates get the start they crave.

According to Max Hamps, Director of Apprentices for ConstructionSkills:
“There are hundreds of thousands of construction firms in England but only a fraction of these are taking on apprentices. The small businesses that thrive from generation to generation are those that appreciate the value of training and bringing young people into the business from day one.

Max continues: “unfortunately many firms still think that taking on an apprentice is costly or time consuming, or that drop out rates are high. In fact with over 75% completion rates ConstructionSkills apprentices are among the best in the industry and we are committed to finding the right apprentice to suit each construction business.“

With 600 young people in England already placed through ConstructionSkills, more than at the same time in previous years, there is some cause for optimism, but thousands more places are required. To support this, last year ConstructionSkills introduced Programme Led Apprenticeships (PLAs), a new complementary route to Traditional Apprenticeships. PLAs take young people who are already on a full-time college based construction course and help them complete the practical aspects required to attain NVQ Level 2 through a continuous placement of up to 12 months with an employer. This represents a much shorter time commitment on-site for businesses than Traditional Apprenticeships which, combined with no further time off-site, suits a lot of firms.

Companies that have previously employed apprentices are backing up the call to action, as they have seen the benefits first hand. As Steve Rodden, Managing Director of Rodden & Cooper Ltd in Lincolnshire, says:
“Although we are a small firm, we aim to take on apprentices whenever possible. Apprentices are a great way of strengthening your workforce, and adding value to the business. We are also a firm who believes very strongly in investing in the future careers of young people. We are proud to be one of the companies doing something really positive within the local community and at the same time making a good contribution to the construction industry generally.”

Last year ConstructionSkills placed approximately 6, 000 apprentices in England through its Apprenticeship Division – all of whom have been pre-screened to establish that they are of a good standard. To help the employer and the apprentice through the apprenticeship, ConstructionSkills offers ongoing mentoring and support from an Apprenticeship Officer as well as ConstructionSkills Grant of up to £9,400 over three years for traditional apprenticeships, to support training.

ConstructionSkills is the leading supplier for training within the construction industry. Through the launch of the new ConstructionSkills campaign, Building Britain, it is encouraging more employers to commit to training and skills development by offering apprenticeships, management training and health & safety courses. ConstructionSkills has a dedicated Company Development Team to give tailored advice to companies, helping them to identify their training needs through a Training and Development Plan.

ConstructionSkills is also leading the way in committing to the Government’s Skills Pledge and has helped more than 1,000 construction companies, with over 60,000 employees, to sign the Pledge. By signing the Pledge, companies commit to develop their employees’ basic skills set – helping them to improve their literacy and numeracy and work towards relevant qualifications to at least GCSE standard.

For more information, on how ConstructionSkills can help your company develop please visit www.cskills.org

To keep up to date with all the latest news on what ConstructionSkills is doing and find out more about how your company can get involved in helping secure the future of the UK construction industry register for the Skills Update

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