Construction apprentice numbers up but many more needed

The number of construction firms taking on apprentices has risen by a third in the past year, according to new research released as part of this week’s National Apprenticeship Week. The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) survey of 1,500 construction employers found the percentage of firms taking on apprentices is up 30%, with 26% taking on apprentices in 2014 compared with 20% in 2013.

The survey also found:

  • 25% of companies say they are likely to take on apprentices in 2015
  • 75% of firms reported that they are either satisfied or very satisfied with their apprentices, while 20% were dissatisfied and 5% neutral
  • 40% of employers said the hunt for skilled workers was their key business challenge. 23% of these employers say they are having to turn work down, and 20% are seeing projects over-run because of skills shortages.

Gillian Econopouly, head of research at CITB, said: “These figures reveal that as our industry returns to growth, more apprentices are being recruited and are making a real difference to businesses.

“However, with our recent forecast showing over 200,000 jobs to be created in construction over the next five years, many more firms need to take on apprentices so that our industry can deliver all of the exciting projects in the pipeline.”

National Apprenticeship Week also coincides with the Building Futures one-day construction skills summit in London. The summit sees the launch of the Commission on Apprenticeships report on how to boost quality apprenticeships across construction and other sectors.

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