BSRIA says that it is encouraged by the news that construction apprenticeships are up to pre-recession levels, according to figures from the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board), released last week, to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week (NAW 2016).
The number of new apprentices has reached a six-year high and a level not seen since before the financial crisis in 2008, increasing by 12 per cent compared to last year. Overall, 22,496 young people started construction apprenticeships in 2014/2015, up from 19,973 in 2013/14.
Chief executive of BSRIA, Julia Evans, said: “The fact that construction apprenticeships are rising demonstrates industry’s commitment to train the next generation. But with CITB research predicting 230,000 new construction jobs by 2020, we need even more young people to start apprenticeships, and to ensure companies take them on.”
She continued: “We need to change the image of our industry and make it a more attractive career proposition. Government can help industry to communicate better to make engineering more interesting. Maybe we need to move the focus away from one of being a ‘construction industry’ to one focussed on ‘the built environment’.”
One of the biggest threats to the government’s infrastructure plans is the skills shortage in construction. And the need to stem the skills gap and attract more people into construction careers is more crucial than ever in light of a potential ‘Brexit’, as many of BSRIA’s members – and the wider industry – rely on skilled workers from Europe.”