The importance of apprenticeships in the construction industry

apprenticeships are boosting the construction industry

Apprenticeships are more crucial than ever before as construction experiences a shortage of skilled workers, with employers finding recruitment tough. The construction industry is experiencing a huge shortage of skilled workers, with 87% of employers finding it difficult to recruit the right type of employee that they need, according to City & Guilds. According to Construction News, official figures show that 12.6% of UK construction workers come from overseas, with 5.7% originating from the EU. This rises to a staggering 60% in London. Furthermore, 30% of British-born construction workers are now over the age of 50, meaning businesses will feel the pinch of those departing over the coming years through retirement when Brexit comes into play. However, some experts believe that apprentices could be the key. National Apprenticeship Week last March saw an influx of publicity circulating, which encouraged employers to think about the future of their workforces — could apprentices fill the employee shortage? Niftylift, retailers of work platforms, investigates apprenticeships further. Within the top 5 sectors for apprenticeship starts are engineering & manufacturing, planning and construction. In the 2016/17 academic year, the engineering & manufacturing sector witnessed 74,000 starts, while the construction sector had 21,000. Leading UK housebuilder Redrow released its second annual research report which revealed that, thanks to a positive shift in attitudes and the perception of construction, the apprenticeship pathway has improved – with a 14% increase in young people considering a career in the sector. Speaking on the report, Karen Jones, Group HR Director at Redrow, said: “This year’s results illustrate that apprenticeships and careers in construction are being viewed in a more positive light.  “Apprenticeships are a way of futureproofing the UK workforce, particularly in sectors where there is a skills shortage, such as construction, so it is pleasing to see that progress is being made.” Success is set to continue, thanks to the new apprenticeship levy that was introduced recently to help fund apprenticeship programmes. Whilst some employers have snubbed the new levy as just being ‘another tax’, both large and small employers can benefit from the fund, meaning that 90% of apprenticeship training costs are funded by the government. Furthermore, employers within the construction sector can use up to 10% of the funding to train employees across the full supply chain — something not to be snubbed with the current shortage of skilled workers. A whopping 86% of employers state that apprenticeships are helping them develop skills relevant to their business, with 78% saying that apprenticeships also help boost productivity, according to UK Construction Media. Furthermore, Chris Wood, CEO of Develop Training, is confident that apprenticeship programmes are working: “Working with some of the UK’s largest utility firms, our success rates have been very high. We and our customers have no doubt that, managed well, apprenticeships do work.” He added: “New initiatives such as Trailblazer Apprenticeships and the Apprenticeship Levy have raised awareness across the UK. Even so, and despite huge skills shortages, many employers are still only scratching the surface of what they could be doing to use apprenticeships to attract new people to join the industry and improve the skills of existing employees.” In the future, fulfilling the demand in the construction industry could purely hinge on the success of the apprenticeship schemes being run up and down the country. Downing Street has committed itself to creating three million new apprenticeships by 2020. The construction industry could be on the receiving end of a large chunk of those programmes, which will be an opportunity to deliver a new generation of highly skilled workers — something that the industry is experiencing a lack of right now. In fact, the Director of the National Apprentice Service, Sue Husband, predicts that 2018 will be crucial for programmes. As more opportunities become available, now could be the time to cut yourself a slice of the apprenticeship programme success — and secure your future workforce now. Sources:    

North-West Apprentice Scoops National Title

North-West Apprentice Natalie with her award

A NORTH-WEST Apprentice took top honours last night in a prestigious National Competition to celebrate Apprentices in the UK. Natalie White, an Early Careers Advisor at the National Nuclear Laboratory in Warrington, won the Royal Air Force Award for Apprenticeship Champion of the Year 2018 which was announced at a ceremony in London last night.  Natalie, from Leyland, said: “I am over the moon to have won this award: I am passionate about promoting apprenticeships because they offer young people a route through to a rewarding and valuable career and I hope my winning this award inspires more people to consider Apprenticeships as a career option.” This year, the ‘Excellence in Apprenticeships’ themed Awards ceremony showcased individual and employer success stories, recognising apprenticeships as a fast-track to a great career and enabler of business growth. Now in its fifteenth year, the awards are the largest and most prestigious celebration of apprentices and apprentice employers across the country with previous winners experiencing a variety of benefits following their success. Paul Howarth, NNL’s CEO, said: “Natalie is a true ambassador for Apprenticeships and she epitomises everything they represent: in her work for NNL she is a passionate supporter of their development and we are grateful for everything that she does for us. Everyone at NNL sends her their congratulations – very well deserved.”     Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said: “A huge well done to all the winners, finalists and rising starts! I have met so many apprentices up and down the country and all of them stars in their own right. Their passion for what they do, their determination to get things done and their drive to get on is so impressive. The winners tonight will have stepped out of their comfort zone to learn new skills and many will have changed the direction of their life. Congratulations to them all and they should be very proud of all they have achieved.” The 2018 National Apprenticeship Awards included over 1100 apprentices, employers and individuals from across England, from over 200 English towns and cities.  Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “Apprenticeships are an excellent way for anyone to gain new skills and forge a career in anything from aerospace engineering to nursing. The National Apprenticeship Awards is a fantastic event to celebrate the achievements of apprentices, employers and training providers, and I want to wish all the winners and nominees congratulations on their incredible efforts.”  

Rexel Invests In Future

Will Doleman - Rexel Invests In Future

Investing in the future of the electrical trade is a focus for many within the industry – and an issue that has only garnered more attention since the announcement of Brexit.  Only earlier this year research undertaken by the Federation of Master Builders revealed in its quarterly report that the demand for skilled electricians outweighed supply.  Combined with a similar shortage in other skilled professions, such as plumbers, carpenters and bricklayers, this poses a problem for the Government as it tries to reach its target of constructing hundreds of thousands of houses annually.   Electrical distributor Rexel has been keen to invest in supporting and developing new talent eager to be part of the industry.  One particular example comes from Greater Manchester, where Rexel have committed to supporting 11 apprentices, including the sponsorship of three budding electricians who have not had the easiest path into work.  This scheme has been made possible by working in partnership with the Re:allies Merchant Framework – a not for profit national partnership that provides smart procurement and asset management solutions for social housing landlords – and sees Rexel provide funding for the three young men through electrical apprenticeships.  The three apprentices, Wayne Lango, Alex Tyrie and Will Doleman, were all recruited by the charity Re:vision – a subsidiary charity of Procure Plus Holdings, part of the Re:allies Merchant Framework – through its partnership with local employment groups, YES Manchester, the Broughton Trust and Salford Search.  These local employment groups have worked with the three candidates to remove barriers that were preventing them from getting into work. They have supported them in preparing for interview and to sustain employment. Today all three apprentices are working for construction companies on the Procure Plus Framework.  Wayne Bridgehouse, Head of Facilities Management, at Rexel said: “The shortage of talent coming into our industry is not a new concern for us, but one that has definitely been highlighted during the conversations around increased need for new homes in the UK and concerning Brexit and potential limitations being placed on free movement from the EU across our borders. At Rexel we have always supported those with a keen interest in the electrical world, both within our own wholesaling sphere or the wider electrical industry. This latest investment demonstrates an ongoing commitment to the development and progression of our industry.” Here is Wayne Lango’s story: Today Wayne is an Electrical Apprentice with Mears working to improve properties for Northwards Housing through the Procure Plus Framework, a job he always wanted after watching his father work as an electrician. But his journey to success has not been straightforward.  After struggling to obtain sustainable employment Wayne signed up to YES Manchester for help. With financial support from Re:vision, YES Manchester were able to help Wayne by giving him 1-2-1 coaching, which boosted his confidence. After supporting him Wayne impressed at an interview with Mears and started his Electrical Apprenticeship in September 2017.  When Wayne stared his apprenticeship, he was delighted to receive a tool kit from Re:vision made possible through the Rexel sponsorship. He said: “Getting the apprenticeship was amazing. I am determined to work hard and be worthy of the faith that everyone at YES, Re:vison, Rexel and Mears have shown in me. The tool kit is fantastic, it is just what I needed. I know I would never have had this opportunity without all this support.”  Here is Alex Tyrie’s story: On leaving school Alex was keen to undertake an apprenticeship, but after a rocky start to his career he felt let down and the his confidence was very low. He sought support form Salford Search and the Broughton Trust, where they worked hard to rebuild Alex’s confidence and put him forward to Re:vision for an Electrical Apprenticeship opportunity with A B Electrical.  Alex started his apprenticeship on January 3rdthis year. Re:vision liaised with Salford College and arranged for him to be signed up to complete his apprenticeship. Alex is now working as part of the team that are improving the housing stock of Salix Homes in Salford.  As with all Rexel sponsored apprentices Alex has received a tool kit and will continue to receive mentoring support for Re:vision.  Simon Crewe, the Commercial Manager at A.B.Electrical, said: “The work undertaken by Re:vision with its local employment group partners is key to sourcing candidates from the local communities where we work. We are delighted with how Alex has fitted into the team and confident he will have a great career with us in the future.” Alex added: “This opportunity is great for me as I have always wanted to be an electrician. I live in a Salix Homes property and I’m proud to be improving other tenant’s homes in Salford and putting some good back into the community.” Fiona Sharp – Operations Director, Re:vision said: “Alex is not unusual, we come across many young people who have completed a diploma and still been unable to secure employment. As a result of the funding we have received from Rexel we are able to make a difference and support employers and their apprentices, putting a stop to wasted talent.”  Here is Will Doleman’s story: When Will started to work with YES Manchester he had struggled to decide on a career. They gave him advice and guidance and Will’s confidence grew. He decided he was interested in an electrical apprenticeship; so YES helped Will with his maths and English and he passed the test required. Due to his lack of experience they also suggested that he complete a work experience. After impressing Mears he was asked to apply for an electrical apprenticeship and is now an Electrical Apprentice with Mears.  Paula Law, Recruitment Manager at Mears, said: “We are delighted with Will, we know that candidates put forward by YES and Re:vision have had a lot of support and are always well prepared for work when they come to us.” Will really appreciates all the support he has received form from YES, Re:vison and the