Why apprentices are imprortant for the future of the trade

Apprentices are the future

City and Guilds reported that there has been a major concern in the construction industry around the topic of the availability of apprentices to support the necessary increase in property expansion. As populations, economies and businesses grow, the need for the infrastructure, maintenance, development and design, will need to be sustained and supported. This is why apprentices are important, as all professional trades of all sizes, not just construction, but plumbing, plastering, building, carpenting, electricains and every trade that you can think of, needs a route to continually provide learning, knowledge and skills transfer, so that next generations have the opportunities, but also to keep the economy alive. If we take one example (and the results may vary) construction is the largest industry, and there is a concerning trend that indicated In 2018, 87% of employers in the construction arena, were struggling to resource, secure and retain, the right type and level of skilled worker for construction based roles. According to trends, this worrying trend has continued cycle to cycle i.e. a year on year reduction in apprenticeships.

Stats on apprentices 2020/21 from UK government education statistics website

stats table from UK govenment 2020 and 21 apprentices

1. Why the concern for the construction industry

When Construction News looked into how construction workers were secured, and if it through apprentices or something else, what they found from their research and analysis, was 12.6% of skilled workers, were not British born, within this relevant subset of skilled labour, 5.7% within this sub-group originated from other EU countries.

this may suggest that as a career option being a skilled trader, may not be something that appeals to certain demographics, or genrations. One reason could be that (pooyrntial) apprentices today in the OK, have developed a whole new skill set over years, in digital engagement, social media and creative managment od content.

Subsequently, younger (potential) apprentices are levetahing their experience and network building, on-line to create relevant educational content, and within 3 years with commitment can start to earn substantial amounts of money based on followings, content creation and distribution, influence, user acquiitions, followings, impressions etc.

Digital and online engement, create significant returns on investment, and growth, compared to working on-site, long hours, for many years, before realising earning potential, skilled labour whislt important is no longer a first option for the majority of the young who are digitally capable, and see success realised by those they follow online, and so focus on replicating that success.

In the trade skilled traders from outside the UK and within Europe, see this as an opportunity, demand for apprentices and skilled tradespeople to learn and work alongside experience UK trade professionals, on project, continues to be encouraged by councils and government, and when we did the same analysis, we found the number of european apprentices, in London rose significantly to 60%, suggesting that skilled construction workers are drawn to the city, but even thou with longer hours, for lower earnings, EU workers, whislt still delivering the same value, are happy to backfill the short fall, and learn and grow nased on UK training standards. This will ensure they make a valuable contribution to the economy, inftastructue and homes in the UK for UK residents in the long term, whilst learing from the UK eeperts.

In construction, When they looked at the age profile 3 out of 10 workers were over 50. This signals that apprenticeship roles are more crucial than ever moving forward both in light of the ambitious targets for property construction and development set by government, increase in the number and before, the type of private and domestic construction projects, which exist in the UK are complex and demanding, and require an apprentice trained appraoch. What creates new challenges, it he UK’s exit from the EU with regulations and laws expected to be introduced to limit freedom of movement and EU workers rights and requirements when working in the UK.

This means that the earlier volume of expertise recruited to support projects in cities, pre Brexit, may no longer be allowed to operate legally in the UK. Which means we need to support our young apprentices to be successful and capable as well as ensure the trades can survive in the future. With an ageing technically skilled population who are looking to a well earned retirement, as well as with fewer middle aged skilled workers the lack of young trained skilled workers is a real problem that impacts the long term future of the trades. Apprentice scheme expansion, adoption and publicity as a 3 point solution needs to be implented urgently, This is to ensure all trades continue to thrive and survive sustainably, whilst preventing serious under supply to the trade sector.

2. How can the challenge of recruitment be overcome

UK construction media claims employers say that 86% of apprentices have been able to develop the right skills and 78% see the schemes as positively improving productivity and quality of work. One industry sponsor of the scheme, Chris Wood, CEO of Develop Training, voiced his confidence in apprenticeship programmes by saying: “Working with some of the UK’s largest utility firms, has seen high levels of success rates, our customers have no doubt that the programmes are managed well, as they see the results in th competent and professional approach by aprentices, and the quality of the work they deliver.

3. Final comments

We hope the idea of apprentices in industry is usefull, you can check out our other blogs Find a builder and 14 Essential tips to help homeowners and builders with projects both these bogs capture the valuable service that apprentices can go on to contribute to in the industry.

About the Author

Sarah Tring
Hi, I'm Sarah, I'm a blogger who enjoys eveything related to home improvement, I'm passionate about sustainable homes, home improvement, home developments and technology used in the home. When not blogging, I enjoy spending time with my husband, two children and our dog 'Leto'.