Due to a rapidly growing population, the UK has faced a rising demand for new buildings and infrastructure in recent years. In order to support the growth of new homes and businesses, skilled construction workers are needed – but the sector is struggling to recruit new talent. According to studies, 30% of UK construction workers are aged 50+, meaning that younger workers are needed in order for the industry to thrive. So, how do you go about pursuing a career in construction and what options are available?
Apprenticeships in construction
Many believe that apprenticeships are the best way to tackle the issue of skill shortages in construction. So much so that Engineering and Manufacturing, Construction, and Planning and Built Environment are thought to be among the top five sectors for apprenticeship starts.
The number of apprenticeships that fall under the Construction bracket and the Planning and the Built Environment bracket in England have shown a positive increase over the last five years:
Many businesses are offering advanced apprenticeships ranging from Level 3 qualifications to degree level. Speaking on the matter, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB): “Apprenticeships are longer in duration and cover a broader range of knowledge and hand-skills. This not only benefits the employers but also the apprentices who will be arming themselves with a wider range of skills for their future careers.”
Apprenticeships in construction are just like any other job but includes at least a years’ worth of training that earns a learner a qualification that is recognised by industry leaders. However, for those seeking an apprenticeship in this industry, it’s important that you find the area that you’re most interested in as there are over 100 apprenticeships offered in this field.
This form of learning is not just for school leavers and only requires you to be over the age of 16 — there is no upper-age limit. However, if you’re aged 24 or above, you could be eligible for adult skills funding if you carry out an advanced-level apprenticeship of Higher Apprenticeship. Undeniably, apprenticeships are a great choice for those looking for their first job after school or university, or those in later life who are looking to change careers.
The Go Constuct website can help you find out which jobs are available in the sector and give you valuable insight into what working in construction is really like. This considers your preferred place of work, interests, qualifications, and skills. In terms of apprenticeships, you’ve probably heard the phrase ‘earn as you learn’, and it’s completely true. You’ll be entitled to the National Minimum Wage while you’re working, but the minimum wage rate for an apprentice is currently £3.70 per hour. This rate applies to apprentices who are under 19 and those who are over 19 but are in their first year. If you have completed your first year and are over 19, you’re required to be paid what the minimum wage rate is for your age.
Graduate Schemes in construction
Graduate schemes in construction are becoming increasingly popular. When looking at WhatUni’s database, we found that there were 76 universities offering 231 different degrees in relation to Architecture, Building and Planning. However, one study found that 44% of university students didn’t know what they want to do once they left. A graduate programme could be the answer. Many construction firms are beginning to understand the advantages of hiring someone straight out of university, as this can be a quick solution to the employment and skills crisis the sector is facing.
Construction graduate schemes offer intensive employer-led training programmes. In terms of length, these usually last between one and two years, although they can be longer depending on the area of learning. Within most programmes, graduates will take on immense responsibility within a business and develop their understanding of the task requirements at hand.
Environmental consultants, Patrick Parsons, is just one company that provides a graduate scheme that has become the starting point for many people’s careers: “We actively develop pioneering, passionate, creative and motivated engineers to become integral members of our high-performing team. Our graduate scheme has proven to be successful for both our business and anyone who is coming out of university looking for the right experience in the field. More businesses should definitely be looking to offer these type of initiatives as it is one way to proactively solve the skill shortage problem the industry is facing.”