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Why should my business be offering construction apprenticeships? - Apprenticeships

Working in construction is certainly not an easy graft. Long hours, extreme levels of manual labour and a necessity to maintain constant vigilance in order to ensure safety, are traits that your average office employee won’t have to tackle.

As such, some employers are hesitant to take on apprentices in the construction sphere, with the belief being that this isn’t an area of work where training of an individual pays off in the long-term, ahead of bringing in an experienced worker.

Those very same employers may be shocked to hear that in the majority of cases the opposite is in fact true, with evidence out there backing up the growing notion that the taking on of an apprentice helps boost revenue. 

"75% of businesses say an apprentice improved their company”

CITB – the Construction Industry Training Board – report that in a poll of 1,000 construction employers conducted by Power Tools World a whopping 75% of those asked said that the introduction of an apprenticeship scheme in their workplace directly helped to propel their business in the right direction.

By offering a construction apprenticeship scheme that taught young workers the ropes while immersing them in the industry, businesses were able to mould the perfect worker and add a valuable member to the team for a much-reduced cost.

An overwhelming benefit of an apprenticeship is that it brings in someone who will eventually develop into a skilled worker, on a wage that would be significantly lower than that of a fully pre-trained employee. 

Grants make costs of apprenticeships manageable for employers

Most employers would counter that statistic with the accurate argument that the money it would take to train an unskilled employee would in and of itself effectively equate to that difference in salary expenses.

However, the poll also seemed to pinpoint a common misconception held by most employers – with it highlighting the fact that a whopping third of the 1,000 people questioned were unaware that they would be given grants by the government to fund any apprenticeship schemes they set up.

These grants compensate for the money lost in the initial months of training and ultimately make the overall decision to bring in an apprentice a financially beneficial one for your company.

An industry collapsing and in need of a new generation of skilled workers

On the grander scale, an increasing dip in the number of qualified skilled workers is resulting in something of a collapse for the construction industry as a whole – that despite a further 232,000 jobs estimated to be created in the sector across the next five years.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation has gone as far as to describe the situation as “critical’”, with the construction industry itself growing at a rate which will soon see the need for workers outweighing the number of trained professionals.

Interestingly, and perhaps somewhat worryingly, the REC actually puts some of this dip down to the lack of apprentices themselves.

  • In 2014 it was reported that there were just 8,000 apprentices in construction.
  • That represented a 25% dip from pre-recession stats charted in 2008.
  • The same study estimates that a whopping 36,000 apprentices are currently needed to stall this dip.
  • Apprenticeship schemes are therefore important for both an individual business and the sector as a whole.

Companies with an apprentice in their ranks look better to investors

Aside from the statistical benefits, companies might also be pleased to hear that their corporate image will receive a significant boost with an apprentice working in their ranks.

The inclusion of an apprentice heavily implies that you’re a business looking to the future and able to train and develop employees.  Lots of groups prefer to see a business hiring an apprentice:

  • Shareholders
  • Investors
  • Clients
  • Potential future employees

Perhaps most imperatively of all to your actual workplace, construction apprentices have the major benefit that when they do eventually start working as full-time employees they will already be accustomed to your specific workplace, colleagues and most importantly, your way of doing things.

An apprentice that transfers from the scheme into full-time employment knows the ins and outs of your business, and as such can seamlessly blend into the framework without any need for an induction period.

These are just some of the many benefits to bringing in an apprentice in construction, but there are countless others. In an age where the construction industry needs to ensure it continues pumping out the quality of worker required to keep it thriving, introducing an apprenticeship scheme will keep both your business and the sector as a whole above water. 

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