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National Apprenticeship Week: construction’s popularity rises

National Apprenticeship Week
Photo: Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.com

Apprenticeship starts in construction, planning and the built environment increased sharply last year, demonstrating the popularity of the sector as a route for career progression. 

New data from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) shows that 33,610 apprentices started their training in construction during 2022/23 – rising significantly from 26,100 in 2021/22.  

Previously, apprenticeship starts in construction fell to 20,000 in 2020/21, which was the most significant dip in the last five years. 

The figures climbed to 22,500 in 2018/19 and 21,900 in 2019/20.

Behind business and administration (62,712), the construction sector was one of the most popular career route for apprentices last year.

IfATE also explored which regions in England have seen the most significant number of people starting apprenticeships. The South East and North West ranked highest, with 51,630 and 48,690 apprenticeship starts respectively. 

While Yorkshire and Humber was in third place (38,344), the neighbouring North East region had the lowest number of apprenticeship starts across the country (18,454). 

Employer engagement

To mark National Apprenticeship Week, IfATE is calling for more large and small employers to recruit apprentices and help shape future programmes. 

Jennifer Coupland, chief executive of IfATE, said: “It’s brilliant to see that so many people are reaping the benefits of world class apprenticeships, designed by employers. They are popular across the country and with a really good variety of occupations. 

“Demand is in fact outstripping supply for apprenticeship places. What we now need is for many more large and small businesses to invest in training up their workforce by offering apprenticeships.”

According to IfATE figures, 92% of companies that have taken on apprentices believe this leads to a more motivated and satisfied workforce. The majority (80%) have also seen a significant increase in employee retention.

The estimated yearly gain for employers during an apprenticeship training period is between £2,500 and £18,000 per apprentice during their training period, according to IfATE.

Raising standards

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) is working with IfATE to help shape apprenticeship standards, ensuring they are high quality and meet the needs of those undertaking apprenticeships as well as employers.

Steve Conopo, head of apprenticeships at CIOB, said: “We are immensely proud to be part of a positive shift in the way apprenticeships in construction are being perceived by employers.

“It’s common knowledge the sector is facing a significant labour shortage now but with more than 30,000 apprentices stepping into built environment apprentice roles in 2022/23, we are continuing to bridge that gap by identifying and training the next generation of construction leaders."

Conopo added: “Apprentices who become CIOB members, through our various pathways, have the chance to shape the future of the industry with fresh new ideas and innovation and CIOB will continue to prioritise the value of progression routes through the construction sector.”

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